Lyricist Tim Rice will feel the love tonight: He gets inducted into the New York City-based Songwriters’ Hall of Fame June 9.
Rice is 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 year as 1999 Hall of Fame inductees.
Sondheim passed on accepting the Mercer Award in previous years because he was unable to attend the ceremonies due to a conflicting schedule. The presentation was “stalled” to allow Sondheim to get it in person, said a spokesman for the award-sponsor, the National Academy of Popular Music.
The late Mercer, a lyricist, is founding past president of the nonprofit group that promotes craft and professionalism in songwriting. Other inductees June 9 include Peggy Lee (“The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter”), rocker Bruce Springsteen (“Born to Run,” “Born in the U.S.A.”) and, posthumously, Bobby Darin (“Splish Splash”).
Lee will not attend, but her daughter will.
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.”
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.
-- By Kenneth Jones