The Songwriters Hall of Fame is dedicated to recognizing the work and lives of those composers and lyricists who create music around the world. Eligible voting members will have until December 11, 2015 to turn in ballots with their choices of three nominees from a non-performing category, two from a performing category and one from a deceased category.
And the nominees are [African Americans in bold]:
Kenneth Edmonds p/k/a “Babyface”
Kenneth “Babyface” Edmonds (the name “Babyface” was given to him by Bootsy Collins) teamed up with Antonio “L.A.” Reid when he was keyboardist in The Deele (Reid was drummer). After an early songwriting success in 1983 with “Slow-Jam” for Midnight Star, Edmonds helped pioneer the new jack swing style of R&B with his writing and production work for the likes of Bobby Brown, Karyn White and Sheena Easton; he also co-founded LaFace Records with Reid, and it became the home of TLC and Toni Braxton. Later clients included Whitney Houston, Boyz II Men, Madonna, Eric Clapton and Mary J. Blige, and in 2006 he was named a BMI Icon–having won the BMI Pop Songwriter of the Year award seven times.
Key songs in the Edmonds catalog include: * Another Sad Love Song * Breathe Again * End Of The Road * Exhale (Shoop Shoop) * I’ll Make Love To
Justly famous as the founder of Motown Records, Berry Gordy first found fame as a songwriter. Jackie Wilson recorded seven songs co-written by Gordy including the classics “Reet Petite” and “Lonely Teardrops,” and he also co-wrote “All I Could Do Was Cry” for Etta James and “You Got What It Takes” for Marv Johnson and later the Dave Clark Five. The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee and first living person to receive the Songwriters Hall of Fame Pioneer Award has written or co-written 240 songs for Motown’s Jobete music catalog, including the Jackson 5’s “I’ll Be There,” “ABC,” “I Want You Back” and “The Love You Save”; Barrett Strong’s “Money (That’s What I Want),” The Miracles’ “Shop Around,” The Contours’ “Do You Love Me” and Diana Ross and the Supremes’ “I’m Livin’ in Shame.”
Key songs in the Gordy catalog include: * Do You Love me * Money * Lonely Teardrops * I Want You Back * You’ve Got What It Takes
Jimmy Jam & Terry Lewis
The songwriter/producer team of Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis have won over 100 ASCAP songwriting and publishing awards, including a record-shattering eight Songwriter of the Year awards. Most successful with Janet Jackson, their Grammy-nominated songs for her include “What Have You Done for Me Lately,” “Miss You Much,” Alright” and “That’s the Way Love Goes” (which won) with “Again” earning all three an Academy Award nomination for Best Original Song from the movie Poetic Justice. Other important songs in the Jam/Lewis catalog are Human League’s “Human,” Karyn White’s “Romantic,” Boyz II Men’s “On Bended Knee” and “4 Seasons of Loneliness,” Mariah Carey’s “Thank God I Found You” and Yolanda Adams’ Grammy-winning “Be Blessed.”
Key songs in the Jam/Lewis catalog include: * Control * Escapade * Fake * I Didn’t Mean to Turn You On * On Bended Knee
John D. Loudermilk
As a member of Guy, singer-songwriter/producer Teddy Riley was a major player in the late 1980s new jack swing R&B genre, his songwriting credits then including Keith Sweat’s “I Want Her” and Johnny Kemp’s “Just Got Paid.” With early ‘90s group Blackstreet he co-wrote the No. 1 hit “No Diggity.” Among Riley’s other notable compositions are Lady Gaga’s “Teeth,” and with his recent excursion into Korean pop, “Demon,” for Korean-American singer/rapper Jay Park (a song originally intended for Michael Jackson), and “The Boys,” for Korean girl group Girls’ Generation.
Key songs in the Riley catalog include: * My Prerogative * No Diggity * Just Got Paid * Remember The Time * I Wanna
Oscar-nominated (for The Color Purple’s “Miss Celie’s Blues”), English songwriter/producer Rod Temperton is best known for the songs he wrote for Michael Jackson, including “Rock With You” and “Thriller.” But he was also a member of the funk/disco band Heatwave, for which he supplied the million-selling U.S. hits “Boogie Nights” and “Always and Forever.” Among the numerous artists who have also recorded Temperton tunes are James Ingram, Michael McDonald, Rufus, Donna Summer, Quincy Jones, Herbie Hancock, Aretha Franklin, Anita Baker, Patti Austin and Karen Carpenter.
Key songs in the Temperton catalog include: * Always And Forever * Boogie Nights * Give Me The Night * Thriller * Rock With You
Tom T. Hall
Deborah Harry & Chris Stein p/k/a “Blondie”
Ernie, Marvin, O’Kelly, Ronald & Rudolph Isley & Chris Jasper p/k/a “The Isley Brothers”
Initially a vocal trio made up of brothers O’Kelly Isley Jr., Rudolph Isley and Ronald Isley, the Isley Brothers broke in 1959 with their first composition “Shout,” also a big UK hit for Lulu. The first single for their own T-Neck label, 1964’s “Testify,” also stands out for being one of Jimi Hendrix’s first recordings, as Hendrix recorded and toured with the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame vocal group. Following the Grammy-winning “It’s Your Thing” (1969), younger brothers Ernie and Marvin Isley and brother-in-law Chris Jasper joined in 1971, and the Isley Brothers, in varying configurations and incorporating different styles, wrote and recorded such hits as “Pop That Thang,” “That Lady,” “Fight the Power,” “For the Love of You” and “Caravan of Love,” with Ice Cube sampling their song “Footsteps in the Dark” for his hit “It Was a Good Day” and Notorious B.I.G. likewise sampling “Between the Sheets” for his hit “Big Poppa.”
Key songs in the Isley catalog include: * Fight The Power * It’s Your Thing *Nobody But Me * Shout * That Lady
Nile Rodgers & Bernard Edwards (d)
With the late Bernard Edwards, fellow producer Nile Rodgers formed Chic–one of the most important bands of the disco era. Both “Le Freak” and Good Times” went to No. 1 on the pop charts, prompting Rodgers and Edwards to produce and write for other artists on their Atlantic Records roster, including Sister Sledge, whose “We Are Family” was a huge hit–and remade by Rodgers as a benefit recording for his “We Are Family Foundation” after 9-11. But Rodgers and Edwards also wrote and produced for other artists including Diana Ross (her hits “Upside Down” and “I’m Coming Out”). Rodgers went on to compose soundtracks while continuing his songwriting and production efforts, scoring a hit in 2014 with the song “Get Lucky” on the Daft Punk album Random Access Memories.
Key songs on the Rodgers/Edwards catalog include: * Good Times * I’m Coming Out * Le Freak * Upside Down * We Are Family
Sylvester Stewart p/k/a “Sly Stone”
Sylvester “Sly Stone” Stewart is up there with James Brown and Parliament-Funkadelic as a pioneer of funk. A former disc jockey and producer of Bay Area bands including The Beau Brummels and the Great Society, he formed the boundary-breaking multi-racial, -gender and -genre group Sly & the Family Stone in San Francisco in 1967. The group’s classic pop hits included “Dance to The Music,” “Everyday People” and “Family Affair,” and their hugely influential recordings have been sampled time and again.
Key songs in the Stone catalog include: * Dance To The Music * Everyday People * Family Affair * Hot Fun In The Summertime * Thank You (Falettin’ Me Be Mice Elf Again)
Marvin Gaye first found songwriting success in 1962 as a co-writer of the Marvelettes hit “Beechwood 4-5789.” He then cut classic songs by Motown songwriting legends including himself, having had a hand in writing his hits “Hitch Hike,” “Pride and Joy,” “Let’s Get It On” and “Sexual Healing.” With his 1971 concept album What’s Going On, the Rock and Roll Hall of Famer broke new ground, both at Motown and in his songwriting, as he delivered topical fare like the antiwar title track, “Mercy Mercy Me (The Ecology)” and “Inner City Blues”—all this winning him Rolling Stone’s “Album of the Year” designation.
Key songs in the Gaye catalog include: *Let’s Get It On * Dancing In The Street * Inner City Blues (Make Me Wanna Holler) * Mercy, Mercy Me (The Ecology) * Pride And Joy
Jimi Hendrix’s songs provided the context for his pioneering guitar work. He wrote such landmark rock hits “Purple Haze,” “Foxy Lady,” “Stone Free,” “The Wind Cries Mary,” “Crosstown Traffic,” “Gypsy Eyes” and “If 6 was 9”—songs that were as inventive compositionally as his musicianship. Indeed, six of his songs are among Rolling Stone’s “500 Greatest Songs of All Time,” while three are in its “100 Greatest Guitar Songs of All Time,” with “Purple Haze” additionally ensconced in the Grammy Hall of Fame.
Key songs in the Hendrix catalog include: * Foxy Lady * Manic Depression * Little Wing * Purple Haze * The Wind Cries Mary