The Songwriters Hall of Fame has announced its slate of nominees to be voted upon for induction at its 51st Annual Induction & Awards Gala on June 11, 2020, in New York City.
The Songwriters Hall of Fame is dedicated to recognizing the work and lives of those composers and lyricists who create music around the world. A songwriter with a notable catalog of songs qualifies for induction 20 years after the first significant commercial release of a song. Eligible voting members will have until midnight on December 16, 2019 to turn in ballots with their choices of three nominees from a songwriter and three from a performing songwriter category.
Bios and photos of the 2020 nominees can be found below:
(*Note that the five songs listed after each nominee are merely a representative sample of their extensive catalogs)
Lynn Ahrens / Stephen Flaherty
Lyricist Lynn Ahrens and composer Stephen Flaherty have been collaborators in musical theater since 1983. Selected credits include the hit Broadway musical Ragtime, for which they received Tony, Drama Desk, Outer Critics Circle Awards and two Grammy nominations. They were nominated for two Academy Awards, two Golden Globes and earned a Gold Record for their score of Twentieth Century Fox’s animated feature Anastasia, which they also adapted for its recent long run on Broadway. Seussical earned their third Grammy nomination and is one of the most performed shows in America. And Once On This Island won the 2018 Tony Award for Best Musical Revival, garnering their fourth Grammy nomination. Ahrens is an Emmy winner and mainstay songwriter for ABC-TV’s Schoolhouse Rock. Flaherty’s work has been performed in Carnegie Hall, the Guggenheim, and he scored the dance musical In Your Arms. Together, they received the Oscar Hammerstein Award for Lifetime Achievement, and in 2015, were inducted into the Theater Hall of Fame.
Key songs in the Ahrens / Flaherty catalog include: Scores for: * Ragtime * Once On This Island * Anastasia * Seussical * Rocky
Tommy Boyce (d) / Bobby Hart
The songwriting team of Tommy Boyce and Bobby Hart were responsible for such classic hits by the Monkees as their TV theme song “Hey, Hey We’re the Monkees,” “Last Train to Clarksville” and “(I’m Not Your) Steppin’ Stone,” which was also a hit for Paul Revere and the Raiders and covered by the likes of the Sex Pistols and Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers. The duo’s first hit came in 1964 when Jay and the Americans reached No. 3 with “Come a Little Bit Closer.” Boyce & Hart eventually signed with A&M Records, where they recorded such hits as “I Wonder What She’s Doing Tonight” and “Alice Long (You’re Still My Favorite Girlfriend)” and toured with the Monkees.
Key songs in the Boyce / Hart catalog include: * Come A Little Bit Closer * I’m Not Your Steppin’ Stone * I Wonder What’s She’s Doing Tonight? * Last Train To Clarksville * Valleri
L. Russell Brown / Irwin Levine
The team of the late Irwin Levine and L. Russell Brown wrote some 40 songs, including “Tie a Yellow Ribbon,” a 1973 chart-topper for Tony Orlando and Dawn that was covered by Frank Sinatra and Bing Crosby. It took a life of its own following the American hostage crisis in Iran and has now been recorded over 2,000 times. Levine and Brown also wrote other big hits for Orlando and Dawn, including “Knock Three Times” and “Candida,” while Brown also co-wrote hits for others like Mitch Ryder and the Detroit Wheels’ “Sock it to Me, Baby!” and the Four Seasons’ “C,mon Marianne.”
Key songs in the Brown / Levine catalog include: * Tie A Yellow Ribbon * Knock Three Times * I’m Gonna Boogie Tonight * Say Has Anybody Seen My Sweet Gypsy Rose * I Woke Up In Love This Morning
Inducted into The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as a member of his friend Buddy Holly’s band The Crickets, Sonny Curtis played on some of Holly’s early recordings and co-wrote his single “Rock Around With Ollie Vee.” Taking over Holly’s lead vocal and guitar role in the Crickets after his death, he and the band recorded what would become two of his best-known compositions: “I Fought the Law,” which would be a big hit for the Bobby Fully Four in 1966 and was also covered by scores of other artists, and “More Than I Can Say,” a future hit for both Bobby Vee and Leo Sayer. With other hit compositions like Andy Williams’ “A Fool Never Learns,” The Mary Tyler Moore Show’s theme song “Love Is All Around,” “Walk Right Back” (a hit for the Everly Brothers, and later Anne Murray), and Keith Whitley’s 1989 hit “I’m No Stranger to the Rain,” Curtis was inducted into the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame, and in 2012, The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
Key songs in the Curtis catalog include: * Theme from The Mary Tyler Moore Show; Love Is all Around * I Fought The Law * Walk Right Back * More Than I Can Say * I’m No Stranger To The Rain