NEW YORK – After a brilliant career full of No. 1 hits, not to mention a two-year pandemic delay, Mariah Carey was finally inducted into the Composers Hall of Fame on Thursday, but not before challenging her new classmates to do better for women. .
“I read that out of a total of 439 members of the Composers Hall of Fame, only 32 have been women, so far,” she said Thursday at the end of a four-hour celebration at the Marriott Marquis of New York. The line received a huge round of applause.
Carey was the headliner, following the introductions of the strangely cool producers Neptunes, the British electro-pop band Eurythmics, the psychedelic bluesman Steve Miller and the iconic Isley Brothers. Special guests included Smokey Robinson, Leslie Odom Jr. Questlove, Jon Batiste and Usher.
Composers are eligible for induction after writing hit songs for at least 20 years and the room includes such iconic composers as Burt Bacharach, Missy Elliott, Paul McCartney, Bruce Springsteen, Paul Simon, Billy Joel and Carly Simon. New annual lists are voted on by partners.
St. Vincent started the night with a stunning version of “Sweet Dreams (Are Made of This)” by Eurythmics. He later took to the podium to recount the time he first saw it on MTV when a “beautiful orange-haired androgynous creature dressed in a suit and tie appeared.”
That was Annie Lennox, who with Dave Stewart ran the New Wave charge in the 1980s. “They were scary, they were sexy, they were smart, and they were incredibly great,” St. Vincent said. The Eurythmics then reunited for a rendition of “Here Comes the Rain Again.” Lennox, looking at the audience, said everyone has been through a lot over the last few years. “I feel like it’s a miracle we’re here tonight,” he said.
Bryan Cranston introduced his friend Miller, who perfected a psychedelic blues sound with hits such as “Take the Money and Run”, “Abracadabra”, “The Joker”, “Jet Airliner” and “Jungle Love”. Miller took to the stage for a spacious, heavy-duty version of his hit “Fly Like an Eagle.” Cranston jokingly called Miller “the space cowboy himself.”
Lil Nas X has been awarded the Hal David Starlight Award, which recognizes “talented young composers who are making a significant impact in the music industry through their original songs.” She took home the award wearing a white tuxedo and a bunch of curly blond hair, tweaking the usual acceptance speech: “Thank you to my husband and my imaginary children,” she said.
Representing the Isley Brothers were Elaine Isley Goodstone, Ernie Isley and Ronald Isley. Ernie Isley reminded guests that his first hit “Shout” was recorded 63 years ago and that his music would last for decades, causing the Beatles to cover them. The two men teamed up for a mix of hits that included “That Lady”, “It’s Your Thing” and “Between the Sheets”. Lil Nas X was one of the audience members standing.
Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis introduced another duo of composers: Pharrell Williams and Chad Hugo who, like Neptunes, formed pop and urban radio from the 1990s until well into the 2000s thanks to the creation of hits for Britney Spears, Jay-Z, Justin Timberlake, Usher and Beyoncé. .
Williams tried to give advice to promising composers, warning them that the music industry was often a dangerous place. “Life is like the Legos. Songs, like life, come together piece by piece,” he said. “If you build a very solid foundation, you won’t fall.”
Questlove introduced Carey and regretted that her composition work was too often overlooked. With 19 No. 1 hits on the Billboard Hot 100, she is only behind the Beatles, and Questlove reminded the crowd that she did it as a black woman. “Success at this level, especially for black artists, is a real obstacle course,” he said.
Carey said a dysfunctional background caused a dark view of the world when he was 6, so music, melodies and lyrics were his escape. She said she always has to remind people that she’s a songwriter first, but the diva’s stamp seems to hold up longer. He left the crowd excited for a performance, but other artists took to the stage to sing a potpourri of his songs, including “Fantasy,” “Hero,” “Make It Happen” and “We Belong Together.”
This year’s non-performing solo nominees were William “Mickey” Stevenson, producer during the Golden Age of Motown, who received Robinson’s serenade, calling Stevenson “my brother-in-law”, and Rick Nowels, who co-wrote more than 60 singles from the Top 20 in the world. including Belinda Carlisle’s global hit “Heaven is a Place on Earth.”
Master composer Paul Williams received the Johnny Mercer Award and Universal Executive Jody Gerson received the Abe Olman Publisher Award.
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Mariah Carey, Neptunes, Lennox at the Composers Hall of Fame
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