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Songwriters Gamble and Huff to receive SongHall's coveted Johnny Mercer Award

The legendary songwriting team of Kenneth Gamble and Leon Huff, a.k.a. Gamble and Huff, will receive the Songwriters Hall of Fame’s (SHOF) prestigious Johnny Mercer Award at the 45th Annual Induction and Awards Dinner slated for June 12 at New York’s Marriott Marquis Hotel.

Kenneth Gamble, left, and Leon Huff.
Songwriters Hall of Fame

The award, named for the legendary songwriter and SHOF co-founder, is the highest honor bestowed by the hall, and is reserved for a songwriter or songwriting team who has already been inducted in a prior year, and whose body of work is of such high quality and impact that it upholds the standard set by Mercer.

Gamble and Huff were inducted into the SongHall in 1995. They have been writing music together for almost 50 years, composing over 3,500 songs including 50 pop and R&B chart hit singles and 75 RIAA gold, platinum and multi-platinum certifications.

Their much-recorded catalog includes such classic hits as The Supremes' "I'm Gonna Make You Love Me," Jerry Butler's "Only The Strong Survive," Harold Melvin & the Blue Notes’ "If You Don't Know Me By Now" and Billy Paul’s "Me and Mrs. Jones," as well as the theme song for Soul Train, "TSOP (The Sound of Philadelphia)."

The duo has won five Grammy Awards for songwriting and amassed 86 BMI Pop and R&B Awards. They also operate their own record label, Philadelphia International Records, which they formed in 1971.

"It will be our pleasure to welcome Gamble and Huff into the circle of superwriters who have received the Johnny Mercer Award," said SHOF chairman and fellow Mercer honoree Jimmy Webb. "They have met the standard with a series of indelible melodies and lyrics, and an enviable string of number one records and gold and platinum discs."

Gamble and Huff, who continue to write songs together and will celebrate their 50th anniversary starting this fall, join past Mercer Award recipients including Elton John and Bernie Taupin, Barry Mann and Cynthia Weil, Holland-Dozier-Holland, Paul Anka, Kris Kristofferson, Smokey Robinson, Hal David and Burt Bacharach, and Cy Coleman.

This year’s SHOF inductees are Ray Davies, Donovan, Graham Gouldman, Mark James and Jim Weatherly.

The SHOF is dedicated to recognizing the work and lives of composers and lyricists who create popular music around the world. Besides celebrating songwriters, it educates the public with regard to their achievements, and produces professional programs devoted to the development of new songwriting talent through workshops, showcases and scholarships.

[The Examiner contributes to the Songwriters Hall of Fame newsletter.]

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