Songwriter Tim Rice can feel the love right about now: He’s been inducted in the New York City-based Songwriters’ Hall of Fame.
The theatre and animated movie lyricist best known for his collaboration with Elton John for the score of The Lion King and for his work with Andrew Lloyd Webber, is among four writers announced this week as 1999 Hall of Fame inductees.
Stephen Sondheim will accept the Johnny Mercer Award this year, after passing on it twice because he was not able to attend previous ceremonies, according to a National Academy of Popular Music Songwriters’ Hall of Fame spokesperson. The late Mercer, a lyricist, is founding past president of the nonprofit group that promotes craft and professionalism in songwriting.
Rice’s work includes “Can You Feel the Love Tonight” and “Hakuna Matata” (from The Lion King); “Don’t Cry for Me, Argentina” (from Evita), “I Don’t Know How to Love Him” (from Jesus Christ, Superstar) and lyrics for Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat (all with Lloyd Webber); the concert musical King David (with Alan Menken); Elaborate Lives: The Legend of Aida (with Elton John); lyrics for Chess; and songs for the animated Walt Disney films “Aladdin” and “The Lion King.”
His colleagues include Peggy Lee (“The Heart is a Lonely Hunter”), Bruce Springsteen (“Born to Run,” “Born in the U.S.A.”) and, posthumously, Bobby Darin (“Splish Splash”). Concert, cabaret and recording artist Lee may be best known as a sizzling interpreter of other people’s songs, having sung hot versions of not only “Fever,” but show tunes such as “Steam Heat” and “I Enjoy Being a Girl.”
The Songwriters’ Hall of Fame, celebrating its 30th year, is run by the National Academy of Popular Music. An induction ceremony will be held June 9 in Manhattan.
-- By Kenneth Jones