Elton John, Bernie Taupin and Berry Gordy Honored at Songwriters Hall of Fame Awards June 13

By Adam Hetrick
June 13, 2013

The Songwriters Hall of Fame honors music mogul Berry Gordy and musical collaborators Elton John and Bernie Taupin during a June 13 gala ceremony at the Marriott Marquis Hotel.



Gordy, whose life story is currently dramatized in the Broadway musical Motown, will be presented with the Songwriters Hall of Fame's Pioneer Award. Gordy is the first living individual to receive the honor.

The honor was established in 2012 to recognize "the career of a historic creator of an extensive body of musical work that has been a major influence on generations of songwriters."

"Berry Gordy is an innovator and a visionary. Yes, he created a label but more than that, he created a genre," said Songwriters Hall of Fame chairman Jimmy Webb in a statement. "Think about it, he pioneered a marketplace for African American artistry and then he invited the world in to enjoy it. Berry was way ahead of his time; his young and immaculately groomed and dressed artists were among the first to receive media training. Berry Gordy and the Motown sound are essential to the American music story."

Gordy also penned the book to Motown, which is studded with songs made famous by Smokey Robinson and The Miracles, Diana Ross and The Supremes, Marvin Gaye, Stevie Wonder, The Temptations, Michael Jackson and The Jackson Five.

John and Taupin are the 2013 recipients of the Johnny Mercer Award. The Mercer Award is presented to "a songwriter or songwriting team who has already been inducted in a prior year, and whose body of work is of such high quality and impact, that it upholds the gold standard set by the legendary Johnny Mercer," according to the Songwriters Hall of Fame.

John and Taupin collaborated on such songs as "Candle in the Wind," "You're Song," "I Guess That's Why They Call It The Blues" and "I'm Still Standing." Their albums together include "Elton John," "Tumbleweed Connection," "Madman Across The Water," "Honky Chateau," "Don't Shoot Me I'm Only The Piano Player," "Goodbye Yellow Brick Road," "Caribou" and "Captain Fantastic And The Brown Dirt Cowboy."

"Some catalogs are more 'deep' and significant than others not only because of their pertinence to the times in which they were written, but because their sheer mass is overpowering," said Songwriters Hall of Fame chairman Jimmy Webb in a statement. "It's just not that easy to write 40 Top 10 records. It's kind of like swimming the English Channel with your hands tied behind your back. Elton's readily identifiable melodic piano style has proven to be a perfect accompaniment to Bernie's razor sharp lyrics about relationships and living on the edge of life both in good and bad times."

Tony Award winner John has also penned the stage musicals Aida, Billy Elliot and The Lion King. He was among the producers of the Tony-nominated play Next Fall. John and Taupin collaborated on the short-lived 2006 musical Lestat based on the Anne Rice novel.