Nile Rodgers and the late Bernard Edwards of Chic, as well as the late Marvin Gaye were among the inductees of the 2016 Songwriters Hall of Fame. The 47th annual induction ceremony was held on Thursday night (June 10) in New York.
Veteran tunesmith Lionel Richie, who’s already in the Songwriters HOF, was honored with the Hall’s highest honor, the Johnny Mercer Award. Other inductees included rockers Tom Petty and Elvis Costello.
The event also featured live performances from Jennifer Hudson, Empire’s Jussie Smollett and Rodgers himself, along with Sister Sledge who performed “We Are Family” and Chic’s “Le Freak.”
Gaye’s widow, Jan Gaye, accepted the late singer’s award and at the podium recalled how her husband took his songwriting very seriously.
“I was able to watch him write his songs, and everyone can’t say that,” she said. “There are a few people in the room that can, but to watch him create and to watch his process was something truly unique, sometimes irritating, honestly,” she added with a laugh.
Smollett would later performing a soaring rendition of Gaye’s classic song, “What’s Going On.”
As for Lionel Richie, receiving the Johnny Mercer honor was the highlight of his career. “This is the best night of my entire career as a songwriter,” he told the attendees.
At the ceremony, Songwriters Hall of Fame co-chairmen Kenny Gamble and Leon Huff also told the media they would make sure that Prince, who died in April, would be inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame sooner rather than later. So here’s hoping that organizers will honor the Purple One at next year’s induction ceremony.
Check out some of the pictures below.