Motown founder Berry Gordy will receive the Songwriters Hall of Fame’s [SHOF] prestigious Pioneer Award, to be presented at the 44th Annual Induction and Awards Dinner June 13 at New York’s Marriott Marquis Hotel.
"Berry Gordy is an innovator and a visionary,” said SHOF chairman Jimmy Webb today in announcing the award. “Yes, he created a label but more than that, he created a genre. 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,” added Webb. “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’s legendary Motown Records nurtured the careers of The Supremes, Stevie Wonder, The Temptations and the Jackson 5 among many other classic soul artists who created Detroit’s “Motown sound” of the 1960s.
As a songwriter, he wrote or co-wrote 240 songs for his Jobete Music publishing company’s Motown catalog. Motown: The Musical, which is based on Gordy’s life, features music and lyrics from the Motown catalog and a book by Gordy, and is set to open on Broadway April 14 at The Lunt-Fontanne Theatre.
The SHOF Pioneer Award was established last year to honor the career of a historic creator of an extensive body of musical work that has been a major influence on generations of songwriters. The initial Pioneer Award was presented posthumously to Woody Guthrie at last year’s SHOF awards dinner.
Previously announced inductees at this year’s SHOF event include Tony Hatch, the songwriting team of Mick Jones and Lou Gramm, Holly Knight, J.D. Souther, and Aerosmith’s Steven Tyler and Joe Perry.
The Songwriters Hall of Fame celebrates songwriters, educates the public with regard to their achievements, and produces a spectrum of professional programs devoted to the development of new songwriting talent through workshops, showcases and scholarships.
Additional 2013 SHOF special award honorees will be announced soon.
[The Examiner contributes to the SHOF newsletter.]
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