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Mariah Carey, Neptunes, Lennox in Songwriters Hall of Fame

NEWYORK –

After a glittering career of topping hits – not to mention a two-year pandemic delay – Mariah Carey was finally inducted into the Composers Hall of Fame on Thursday, but not before the challenge. Her new members are made better by women.

“I read that out of a total of 439 people inducted into the Composers Hall of Fame, only 32 are women, so far,” she said Thursday at the end of a four-hour celebration at Marriott Marquis hotel in New York. The line of people was given a big round of applause.

Carey is at the helm, following the introduction of the quaintly wonderful producers the Neptunes, the British electronic band Eurythmics, the psychedelic blues musician Steve Miller and the iconic Isley Brothers. Special guests included Smokey Robinson, Leslie Odom Jr. Questlove, Jon Batiste and Usher.

Musicians are eligible to be inducted after writing popular songs for at least 20 years, and the hall includes famous musicians such as Burt Bacharach, Missy Elliott, Paul McCartney, Bruce Springsteen, Paul Simon, Billy Joel and Carly Simon. New vehicles every year are voted on by members.

St. Vincent kicked off the night with a blistering cover of the book “Sweet Dreams (Are Made of This)” by Eurythmics. She then took to the podium to recount her first encounter on MTV when a “beautiful androgynous creature with orange hair appeared, wearing a suit and tie”.

It was Annie Lennox, who with Dave Stewart led the new wave in the 1980s. “They were scary, they were charming, they were smart and they couldn’t be better,” St. Vincent said. Later, the Eurythmics reunited to perform “Here Comes the Rain Again.” Lennox, looking out into the audience, says people have been through a lot over the past few years. “I feel like a miracle that we are here tonight,” she said.

Bryan Cranston introduces his friend Miller, who perfected the psychedelic blues sound with hits like “Take the Money and Run,” “Abracadabra,” “The Joker,” “Jet Airliner,” and “Jungle Love.” . Miller took to the stage to perform a light effects version of the hit “Fly Like an Eagle.” Cranston jokingly calls Miller a “space cowboy”.

Lil Nas X was honored with the Hal David Starlight Award, which recognizes “talented young musicians who are making a significant impact in the music industry through their original songs”. He accepted the award wearing a white tuxedo and messy blond hair, editing his usual acceptance speech: “Thanks to my imaginary husband and kids,” he said. .

Representing the Isley Brothers are Elaine Isley Goodstone, Ernie Isley and Ronald Isley. Ernie Isley reminded the guests that their first hit “Shout” was recorded 63 years ago and that their music would last for decades, prompting The Beatles to cover them. The two men then collaborated on a series of hits including “That Lady,” “That’s Your Thing,” and “Between the Sheets.” Lil Nas X was one of the members of the audience supporting him.

Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis introduced another songwriting duo – Pharrell Williams and Chad Hugo, who shaped Neptunes for pop and urban radio from the 90s to the 2000s by creating hits for Britney Spears, Jay-Z, Justin Timberlake, Usher and Beyoncé.

Williams tried to give advice to up-and-coming musicians, warning them that the music industry is a frequently dangerous place. “Life is like Legos. Songs, like life, are put together,” he said. “If you build a really strong foundation, you won’t fall.”

Questlove introduces Carey and regrets that all of her work is often overlooked. With 19 number-one hits on the Billboard Hot 100, she’s second only to the Beatles, and Questlove reminded the crowd that she did it as a Black woman. “Success at this level, especially for Black artists, is a real stumbling block,” he said.

Carey said the dysfunctional setting prompted a dark vision of the world when she was 6 years old, so music, tunes and lyrics were her outlet. She says she always has to remind people that she’s a musician first, but the diva tag seems to stick more. She left the crowd to see a performance, but other artists took to the stage to sing a remix of her songs, including “Fantasy,” “Hero,” “Make It Happen,” and “We Belong Together.”

This year’s non-performing solo nominees are William “Mickey” Stevenson, a producer in the golden era of Motown who was voted for by Robinson, calling Stevenson “my brother,” and Rick Nowels, who co-wrote the show. He has written more than 60 top singles worldwide, including Belinda Carlisle’s worldwide hit “Heaven is a Place on Earth.”

Master musician Paul Williams received the Johnny Mercer Award and Universal executive Jody Gerson received the Abe Olman Publisher Award.

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