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Lionel Richie, Tom Petty, Elvis Costello & More Enter Songwriters Hall of Fame


Lionel Richie at the Songwriters Hall of Fame; Larry Busacca/Getty Images for Songwriters Hall of Fame(NEW YORK) — Lionel Richie, Tom Petty, Elvis Costello, Nile Rodgers and the late Bernard Edwards of Chic, and the late Marvin Gaye were among the honorees Thursday night in New York City, as the Songwriters Hall of Fame held its annual induction gala. “Ooh, I feel good!” Richie told reporters.

He received the Hall’s highest honor, the Johnny Mercer Award, and told reporters, “Songwriters honoring songwriters is the best it could ever be.” 

He also recalled that once, legendary songwriters Sammy Cahn and Henry Mancini admitted to him, “When we first saw you walk down the aisle at the Grammys with your Afro and your platform shoes, [we] said, ‘There goes the music business!'”

“So to go from there to now, I think we’ve done alright!” he laughed.

Chip Taylor, best known for writing “Wild Thing” and “Angel of the Morning,” was inducted, and his brother, Oscar-winning actor Jon Voight, was on hand to cheer him on.  “I’m very proud…this is a big deal,” said Voight, who’s also Angelina Jolie’s dad.

While Chic’s been nominated for the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame several times, they’re not in yet, but Nile Rodgers told reporters that he prefers the Songwriters Hall of Fame. 

“This means a hell of a lot more to me,” he said. “I didn’t start out trying to win awards…[but] when people started to approach me and say, ‘Oh, you’re nominated for this and nominated for that,’ the things that’s the most precious to me is either playing or creating it. [Well], they don’t give you too many awards for playing, but for creating, this is the one.”

Elvis Costello walked the carpet with his wife, jazz singer Diana Krall.  While his songwriting has encompassed punk, soul, country, classical and rock, he told reporters he never set out to conquer every musical genre.  “I just liked a lot of different music,” he said. “I didn’t really know the word genre. I don’t speak French!”

Sister Sledge, Roger McGuinn and the B-52’s were among the evening’s other performers and presenters, and Songwriters Hall co-chairmen Kenny Gamble and Leon Huff said they’d work to get Prince, who died in April, in sooner rather than later.

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