The Songwriters Hall of Fame have announced the diverse group of artists that will be enshrined as their Class of 2015: The Grateful Dead duo of Jerry Garcia and lyricist Robert Hunter, blues legend Willie Dixon, Cyndi Lauper, Linda Perry, Toby Keith and Country Music Hall of Famer Bobby Braddock. The Hall of Fame ceremony will take place June 18th at New York’s Marriott Marquis. Additional special award honorees will be revealed soon.
“Our 2015 lineup of inductees represents the rich diversity of American musical styles – rock, country, blues and pop – that have captivated the world over the past six decades,” Songwriters Hall of Fame president Linda Moran said in a statement. “Each one of these brilliant music creators have written instantly recognizable classics, songs that are both of their time and timeless. Our Annual Awards Gala is sure to be unforgettable.”
Hunter and Garcia began collaborating early in the Grateful Dead’s history, co-writing staples like “China Cat Sunflower,” “Dark Star,” “Uncle John’s Band” and “Casey Jones” as well as their surprise 1987 hit “Touch of Grey.” Hunter would also work with Bob Dylan, most notably co-writing all but one song on Dylan’s 2009 album Together Through Life.
Dixon was the Chicago blues great behind oft-covered songs like “Hoochie Coochie Man,” “Spoonful,” “Little Red Rooster” and “Back Door Man.” Both Dixon and Garcia will be inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame posthumously. Perry was the lead singer of 4 Non Blondes, who had their own hit with 1993’s “What’s Up?,” before starting her own career as an in-demand songwriter, crafting tracks like Christina Aguilera’s “Beautiful” and Pink’s “Get the Party Started.”
While Lauper didn’t pen her biggest hit “Girls Just Want to Have Fun,” she did have a co-writing hand in follow-up singles like “Time After Time” and “She Bop.” “I had to fight to write my whole life,” Lauper told New York Times after being informed of her induction. “Usually women with big voices sang other people’s songs. That was always a struggle.”
In a country career dating back over two decades, Keith has penned hits like “Beer for My Horses,” “Should’ve Been a Cowboy” and “As Good as I Once Was.” Braddock’s country roots dates back even further, having penned chart-topping tracks like Tammy Wynette 1968 smash “D-I-V-O-R-C-E,” George Jones’ “He Stopped Loving Her Today” and, most recently, Billy Currington’s 2009 Number One “People Are Crazy.”
“I write songs every day,” Keith tells Rolling Stone. “When someone writes their own things, to me they release their character in their music and that character shines through in all their songs. It is what I take the most pride in. I am honored to be inducted into the Songwriters Hall Of Fame. It means the world to me and it is the only award that I will display on my desk. P.S. And it was mostly hard rhymes.”