While the rest of the show-biz crowd gets its annual ya-ya's out at over-the-top affairs like the Grammys and the Oscars, songwriters celebrate themselves in a comparatively understated (but equally impressive) manner at the yearly Songwriters Hall of Fame inductions. For the 39th songsmiths' shindig, honorees ran the gamut from country queens to pop princes: Desmond Child, Albert Hammond, Loretta Lynn, Alan Menken, John Sebastian were inducted, while Paul Anka, Anne Murray, John Rzeznik and Milt Okun were honored.
Joan Jett presented hitmeister Desmond Child with his award after he opened the show with a medley of blockbusters he penned for others, from Aerosmith's "Dude Looks Like a Lady" to Bon Jovi's "Livin' on a Prayer." When pressed, Child admitted his favorite child is "a song I wrote with Hanson called 'Weird,' because it's about being different, and I grew up poor, I grew up being Latin, I grew up being gay, and now I'm fat!" Lovin' Spoonful leader John Sebastian backed the Naked Brothers Band on his own "Do You Believe in Magic," and offered a light-hearted perspective on the writing process, musing, "The best part about songwriting is that it's something you can do that requires no raw material and creates no waste."
Danny Aiello and former New York Yankee Bernie Williams turned up for Towering Song Award winner "Take Me Out to the Ballgame," John Legend crooned an estrogen-stirring version of Paul Anka's "Put Your Head on My Shoulder" and Natasha Bedingfield performed Menken's "Colors of the Wind." But it was Loretta Lynn who wound up stealing the show with her classic "Coal Miner's Daughter," returning at the crowd's insistence for an unplanned encore of "Don't Come Home A-Drinkin' (With Lovin' on Your Mind)."