Aerosmith, Foreigner, And Elton John Honored At Songwriters Hall Of Fame
Last night (June 13th), Aerosmith's Steven Tyler and Joe Perry along with long-estranged Foreigner co-founders Mick Jones and Lou Gramm, were inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame at Manhattan's Marriott Marquis Hotel. Both Jones and Gramm, who parted ways in 2003 when Gramm quit the band, have suffered from health problems over recent years, with Gramm surviving a brain tumor and Jones recently undergoing open-heart surgery. Gramm, who still performs and is a born again Christian, was replaced by current lead singer Kelly Hansen in 2005. Foreigner was inducted by Billy Joel, and Jones and Gramm reunited to perform "Juke Box Hero" and "I Want To Know What Love Is" to a massive standing ovation.
Steven Tyler and Joe Perry were inducted by Nickleback's Chad Kroeger and Ryan Peake, who performed "Sweet Emotion" before doing the honors. Afterwards, the "Toxic Twins" took the stage for an event stealing rendition of "Walk This Way."
Other inductees last night included Don Henley and Glenn Frey's frequent Eagles collaborator, J.D. Souther -- inducted by Peter Asher, '60s British songsmith Tony Hatch -- inducted by Petula Clark, and '80s songwriter Holly Knight -- inducted by Patty Smyth. The 2013 Pioneer Award was presented to Motown founder, Berry Gordy, Jr. by Smokey Robinson with a slightly self-serving and at times rambling speech. Elton John and longtime lyricist Bernie Taupin were honored with the prestigious Johnny Mercer Award by an extremely horse Sting, who opened the show with a performance of "Saturday Night's Alright For Fighting." Sam Cooke's "A Change Is Gonna Come" was saluted as this year's Towering Song.
Lou Gramm told us that he was pleasantly surprised that there even was a Songwriters Hall of Fame: "I had no I. . . Y'know, there's the Grammys, there's the American Music Awards. . . The Songwriters Hall of Fame awards is a little bit underplayed -- you don't hear about it very much. I don't know if it's even televised. When my management told me that Mick and I were nominated, I said, 'What is it? What is that award, y'know?' So, when it was explained to me, I obviously realized it was a great honor."
Mick Jones told us that the Hall of Fame honor has brought him and Lou Gramm back into a good place again: "Y'know, just having talked to Lou a few times in the last weeks; what I'm glad about is that we're talking. And there is a basis for more understanding. Y'know, we were talking the other day about our kids, kids that -- I haven't seen two of Lou's kids, because they were born pretty much the year that we broke up. (Laughs) And I'm looking forward to that. And he was asking about all of my children -- y'know, they all grew up, they were on the road, the kids, y'know, we used to have. . . it was a family thing. And just hearing his voice again, it was very emotional, y'know?"
We asked Steven Tyler how a band like Aerosmith -- which has lasted 40 years in the spotlight -- can hope to revitalize itself every time out: "Maybe in the new songs. In writing new songs, you always come up with a new you. I think you should. You can always do another 'Dude Looks Like A Lady,' another 'Dream On' -- we always tap into something new."
Joe Perry told us that no matter what goes on with Aerosmith, there's a bond between him and Steven Tyler that is almost unbreakable: "We've been together for so long that in my heart, it's never more than six inches away from Steven's, ever. Even though we may not talk for a short amount of time or a long amount of time, we've been partners, friends for so long, I always have a feeling deep inside that we're always gonna be together. And that's what makes Aerosmith as strong as it is."
Elton John told us that in his 45-year partnership with Bernie Taupin, one member has never outranked the other: "It's never been major/minor, it's always been 50/50, it's never been. . . we've never even thought of it like that, from my point of view, anyway. It's a relationship that's never, ever been questioned. It's always as a one -- it's never split. It's a complete 'one' relationship."
Berry Gordy tells us how he remembers the beginning of Motown: "We did it so fast and so good. And we did it with love and competition and a lot of philosophies that I got from my father and it happened so fast. And being a black kid from Detroit, you know. It happened so fast. And so people had to figure out reasons why it happened. And they came up with all this stuff. And therefore, we had all kinds of rumors all over the country and the world about our successes."
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