The Songwriters Hall of Fame was founded in 1969 by songwriter Johnny Mercer and music publishers Abe Olman and Howie Richmond. One of the goals of the organization was to create a museum, but because of a lack of funds, the museum is an on-line virtual museum. The headquarters of the organization is in New York City. The SHOF holds workshops and provides scholarships to young artists and showcases their songwriting talent.
Each year, the SHOF puts on an Awards show where new inductees are voted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame. To date there have been 345 individuals inducted into the SHOF. The only bands to ever be inducted into the hall of fame are the British rock band Queen and the American bands, Crosby, Stills & Nash and Bob Jovi.
On July 18, 2004, Neil Sedaka was the recipient of the prestigious Sammy Cahn Lifetime Achievement Award. At the time of the award program, Sedaka’s song, “Solitaire,” recorded by Clay Aiken, was the #1 selling single in the U.S. for the seventh consecutive week. According to the Songwriter Hall of Fame website,
“The Sammy Cahn Lifetime Achievement Award honors an industry veteran who is acknowledged as a pioneer in his/her craft, whose body of work over time has been substantial, enduring and influential, and whose success and contributions over a lifetime have inspired the music community. Past awardees include Patti LaBelle, Dick Clark, Gloria and Emilio Estefan, Neil Diamond, Berry Gordy, Tony Bennett, Steve Lawrence and Eydie Gorme, Nat King Cole and Quincy Jones.”
The awards ceremony was televised on Bravo in 2004 and Clay Aiken made a short, taped appearance on the show. He spoke of meeting Neil and how excited he was. Clay also said that his mother had a “schoolgirl crush” on Neil and could name most of his hits. Clay spoke with respect and congratulated Neil on receiving such a prestigious award.
This year, the Songwriters Hall of Fame (SHOF) celebrated 40 years of recognizing the work and lives of enduring composers and lyricists who create popular music around the world. The 2009 Songwriters Hall of Fame Awards inductees were Jon Bon Jovi and Richie Sambora; Felix Cavaliere and Eddie Brigati (The Young Rascals ); Roger Cook and Roger Greenaway; Crosby, Stills & Nash; Galt MacDermot, James Rado and Gerome Ragni (deceased); and Stephen Schwartz. The induction and awards dinner was held on June 18 at the Marriott Marquis Hotel in New York City.
Clay’s part of the broadcast was rather short, but we have a clip of his spoken tribute to Neil Sedaka.
Check out clayaikenourney for a wonderful mention of Clay and Solitaire, plus another great video.