A pair of Eagles, a Beach Boy, a Godfather, an Impression and a sweet baby James have all been singled out for induction into the Songwriter’s Hall of Fame this year. It was announced on Wednesday that Eagles Don Henley and Glen Frey, Brian Wilson, James Brown, the late Curtis Mayfield and James Taylor will be inducted into the Hall of Fame at the 31st annual awards dinner on June 15 at the Sheraton New York Hotel and Towers.
Curtis Mayfield, who died in December of complications from diabetes, was a monumentally influential force in soul, R&B and funk music throughout the Sixties and Seventies. Among his many credits as writer, singer and producer — both solo and as a member of the Impressions — are such enduring Chicago-style soul classics as “Keep on Pushing” and “People Get Ready,” as well as funk standards like “Superfly.” Equally influential to the genre — as well as to rock & roll — is James Brown, dubbed “The Godfather of Soul” for his incomparable booty-shaking grooves (“I Got You [I Feel Good]” and “Papa’s Got a Brand New Bag”) and wailing, pleading ballads (“Please, Please, Please”).
As the leader of the Beach Boys, Brian Wilson has long been regarded as one of the true geniuses of pop music. His creations Pet Sounds and “Good Vibrations” are widely regarded as among the finest albums and singles, respectively, of the rock & roll era — in no small part due to his masterful ear for production. James Taylor was the archetypal Seventies singer/songwriter, crafting affecting anthems like “Fire and Rain” and “Carolina in My Mind.”
Don Henley and Glenn Frey both made their biggest impression in the songwriting field as the leaders of the Eagles, penning hits like “Desperado,” “Hotel California” and “Lying Eyes,” which have made the Seventies country rockers one of the best selling groups of all time. Both have also enjoyed success as solo artists — Henley perhaps most notably with the songs “Boys of Summer” and “Heart of the Matter” and Frey with the soundtrack hits like “The Heat Is On” and “You Belong to the City.”
Mayfield, Brown, Wilson and the Eagles are all already members of the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. Taylor is set to be inducted on March 6.