Bob Seger, Gordon Lightfoot, Bette Midler Honored at Songwriters Hall of Fame Gala; Presenter Stevie Nicks Says Fleetwood Mac's Back in 2013
Bob Seger, Gordon Lightfoot, Bette Midler and Ben E. King were among the honorees Thursday night at the annual Songwriters Hall of Fame gala, held at New York City's Marriott Marquis hotel. Seger and Lightfoot were inducted into the Hall of Fame, while Midler and King won special awards.
Seger, who arrived with his family but didn't do a lot of interviews beforehand, happily greeted his fellow inductees and famous guests on the red carpet and posed for pictures. Dave Grohl of Foo Fighters was supposed to perform Seger's song "We've Got Tonight" in tribute, but he couldn't make it, so Valerie Simpson of Ashford & Simpson stepped in. On the red carpet, she called the song "beautiful" and "sexy," adding that the appeal of Seger's music is "the simpleness of the lyric that just really touches the heart."
Legendary Canadian songwriter Gordon Lightfoot, known for his hits "Sundown," "The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald" and what he said is his signature song, "If You Could Read My Mind," said on the red carpet that at first, he wasn't sure what the significance of his induction was.
"I found out very quickly that there's a lot of importance to it and I'm very honored," he told reporters. "And all I can do is say the same things everybody else says: 'I don't know why I'm here, but I'm here.' And I'm gonna get a chance to meet all these wonderful people here." Among those wonderful people was Steve Miller, who performed a song in honor of Lightfoot.
Jim Steinman, the man who wrote every Meat Loaf hit, as well as smashes like "Total Eclipse of the Heart" and "It's All Coming Back to Me Now," was also inducted into the Hall of Fame Thursday night, and Meat Loaf showed up to pay tribute to the man with whom he created the landmark album Bat Out of Hell.
Speaking about why he and Steinman made such a great team, Meat Loaf told reporters, "We're both hams. We both have a very strange sense of humor. It worked well. I mean, it worked well enough to be the third best-selling record of all time!" American Idol alumnus and current Broadway star Constantine Maroulis was also on hand to perform a mash-up of Steinman's hits.
Bette Midler received the Sammy Cahn Lifetime Achievement Award for her skill as a song interpreter, and her friend Stevie Nicks was on hand to perform in her honor. "It's fantastic, 'cause Bette and I have been friends for a long time," Stevie told reporters on the red carpet, "And she chose me to sing one of her songs, and I chose 'The Rose.'"
Stevie added that she chose that song because of Midler's movie of the same name. "I thought that [she] did such an amazing job when she did that movie," said Stevie. Stevie also told reporters that Fleetwood Mac will tour in 2013 and will begin rehearsals in January.
"Stand By Me," which became a hit 50 years ago for Ben E. King, received the Towering Song Award, along with his co-writers, the legendary songwriting team of Mike Stoller and the late Jerry Leiber. King himself received the Towering Performance Award for singing it.
Other inductees included the legendary country songwriter Don Schlitz, whose compositions include "The Gambler." The Gambler himself, Kenny Rogers, was on hand to pay tribute. Also inducted were the team of Harvey Schmidt & Tom Jones, who wrote the Broadway musical The Fantasticks. Broadway star and 30 Rock actor Cheyenne Jackson was there to perform a number from that work.
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