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Petition to have Rush inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame

So here’s a link to a petition that was started by your’s truly after years of Rush being ignored for induction into the Performers category in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum.  Please pass it on and let’s get the quintessential Canadian prog rock band into the RnR HoF – where they deserve to be… It’s 2012 and too late for this year, but let’s put some pressure on for next year’s induction ceremony… Rush shouldn’t have to wait until 2112 when "the meek shall inherit the earth", modest rockers that they are. Let’s make it happen in 2013!…  May the Muse be with Geddy, Alex and Neil… and no opinions should be divided on Rush getting this recognition!

ECHO Songwriting Prize

Vote now for SOCAN’s fifth annual ECHO Songwriting Prize

ECHO Logo - English

SOCAN has launched the fifth annual ECHO Songwriting Prize, designed to identify what’s next and what’s best in current Canadian independent music. This prize will honour some of the most innovative and artistic songs created in the past year by emerging songwriters in Canada. The writer(s) of the winning song will receive a $5,000 CDN cash prize.

The five nominated Canadian songs, as selected through a rigorous process by an independent panel of 10 music community tastemakers, are:

“Albatross” written by Olga Goreas, Kevin Laing, Jace Lasek and Richard White, performed by The Besnard Lakes
“Celestica” written by Ethan Kath and Alice Glass, performed by Crystal Castles
“Destroyer” written by Catherine McCandless and Stephen Ramsay, performed by Young Galaxy
“Hearts Trompet” written by Edo Van Breeman, Bryan Davies, Richard Saul and John Walsh, performed by Brasstronaut
“Odessa” written by Dan Snaith, performed by Caribou

SOCAN invites you to listen and vote for your favourite song, up until the deadline of September 30, 2010. One lucky voter will win an Epiphone Ultra II Les Paul electric guitar.

May the Muse be with you…

Recent Songwriters Hall of Fame Gala

_48108056_009572690-1[1] Last weekend, singer Phil Collins received the prestigious Johnny Mercer Award at the Songwriters Hall of Fame gala.  The singer, who has sold over 100 million records as a solo artist and with the band Genesis, said writing a popular track is "a complete accident".

This year’s inducted songwriters included Leonard Cohen, Jackie DeShannon, David Foster, and R&B band Earth Wind and Fire.  Singer Taylor Swift received the Hal David starlight award.  The link above has all the awards and inductees for 2010.

Speaking on the red carpet, Collins said: "For a songwriter, it’s a huge honour. I was very surprised when I got the news."  The musician revealed that when organizers contacted him about the award, he had originally assumed he would have been presenting it, instead of receiving it. "That’s something that I never thought I’d be qualified to get, I still don’t think I’m qualified to get," he said.  The award is the second major honour this year for the 59-year-old, who was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in March.

Phil Ramone was given the hitmakers award, which is given to songwriters who have written a number of hit songs over an extended period.  Billy Joel, who cited the producer as a major influence on his music, presented Ramone with his trophy at the ceremony in New York.

Paul Simon’s Bridge Over Troubled Water was also honoured to commemorate its 40th anniversary.

May the Muse stay with all the worthy inductees…

Rush As Songwriters – Jacob Moon Tribute

Well Rush was inducted into the Canadian Songwriters Hall of Fame on Saturday, March 28, 2010.  From an article in Monday’s Toronto Sun, Neil Peart discusses the song Subdivisions:

“It’s a very unusual song construction lyrically and musically that we managed to make work,” [Peart] said. “It was written at a time when we weren’t working, so to speak. We were mixing a live album and we just started playing around and wrote a song for fun. Although it’s very serious in it’s musical structure, one of the most complicated actually that we’ve had in terms of arrangement drum part alone, it’s a really intricate drum part to play and consequently I still love playing it almost 30 years later and that’s a good testament.”

Peart is also stoked that YouTube sensation Jacob Moon, who plays Subdivisions entirely by himself on a Hamilton building rooftop, is among three artists paying tribute to Rush Sunday night.

“We all shared Jacob Moon’s performance of Subdivisions quite a long time ago and sent it to each other, ‘Hey have you seen this?’ because it’s such a beautiful cover. The imaginative way that he uses the little cassette player to get my voice in there. It’s superb. And it is that kind of song. It’s a singer-songwriter’s song. I loved to see his version of it and I loved the idea that song has endured to his generation.”

And here is the YouTube video… May the Muse be with you Neil, Rush and Jacob:

Phil Collins To Receive Johnny Mercer Award

Phil Collins will receive the prestigious Johnny Mercer Award at the annual Songwriters Hall of Fame induction dinner on June 17 at the Marriott Marquis Hotel in New York.

"Phil has churned out a massive stream of classic songs that have resonated with audiences around the globe in a career that has won him admiration beyond cultural and linguistic boundaries," said the Hall’s chairman/CEO Hal David. "In our professional community, he is among the most respected musical creators of our generation."

The Johnny Mercer Award is the highest honour bestowed by the Songwriters Hall of Fame. It is exclusively reserved for a songwriter 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 gold standard set by the legendary Johnny Mercer. Past recipients include the Motown songwriting team of Holland-Dozier-Holland, Paul Anka, Dolly Parton, Kris Kristofferson, Smokey Robinson, Stevie Wonder, Carole King, Billy Joel, Jimmy Webb, Hal David, Burt Bacharach, Jerry Leiber, Mike Stoller, Paul Simon, Alan and Marilyn Bergman, Stephen Sondheim, Cy Coleman, Sammy Cahn and Jule Styne.

Collins was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2003, on the strength of such big hits as "In the Air Tonight," "Against All Odds," "Another Day In Paradise," "Sussudio" and "Two Hearts." "You’ll Be In My Heart" from the movie Tarzan won a Golden Globe, Oscar and Grammy.

May the Muse stay with you Phil…

Rush to be admitted into Canadian Songwriters Hall of Fame

RushUltimate rock band, Rush, will be inducted along with several of their songs into the Canadian Songwriters Hall of Fame on March 28, 2010.

Rush’s Geddy Lee, Alex Lifeson and Neil Peart have been playing to fans for more than three decades, with songs such as Limelight, Closer to the Heart, The Spirit of Radio and Tom Sawyer.

Peart, Rush’s drummer, recently recorded a special rendition of The Hockey Theme by Dorothy Claiman.  I’m sure you’ll hear it during the Winter Olympics at Vancouver 2010.

And May the Muse be with you Rush…

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Gordon and Gord – Easter Day Broadcast

Earlier this month in Toronto, a master class in songwriting was offered up by two of the greatest Gords in Canada – folk icon Gordon Lightfoot and Tragically Hip rocker Gord Downie in the inaugural concert of a new six-part series, If You Could Read My Mind, named for Lightfoot’s 1970 breakthrough song.

Sponsored by the Canadian Songwriters’ Hall of Fame, the two Gords perform stripped-down versions of some of their work and discuss their craft in an intimate setting that was perfect for the animated, funny, revelatory and – at times – touching discussion between the two men and host Laurie Brown.

It was hard not to notice Downie’s admiration of the 71-year-old Lightfoot – whose "austerity and economy of words" he praised – as The Hip’s lead singer got downright emotional early in the show which was being taped for later broadcast on CBC Radio 2 on Easter Sunday.

From a Canoe article on the concert, here are some quotes about songwriting provided by the Gords at their concert earlier this month:

[T]he Orillia, Ont-born Lightfoot said he first began writing songs in Grade 12 – his first ever was a novelty tune called The Hula Hoop Song which was inspired by a Life magazine cover – and was inspired more seriously later by Dylan but admitted that "recording was like going to the dentist."

He said he still has a technical rehearsal with his band every Friday to keep his guitar skills up.

When Downie asked Lightfoot about dealing with writer’s block, the onetime drinker didn’t miss a beat: "Alcohol."

Downie, who hails from Kingston, Ont., couldn’t remember the first tune he wrote but said he first sang at a house party – The Doors’ opus The End of all things – "trying to infuse it with 15-year-old angst."

Later, he recalled, he and his Hip bandmates hung out at The Prince George Hotel catching travelling blues legends like John Lee Hooker in concert but Downie admitted he didn’t learn to play the acoustic guitar until he was twenty.

Both men agreed their songwriting had been hugely inspired by nature over the years, helping to forge the Canadian identity, with Lightfoot revealing he went on massive canoe trips in Northern Ontario and Quebec, sometimes a month at a time.

The only problem – and it’s a good one to have – the CSHF now faces is how to make the next five concerts as entertaining as Thursday night’s premiere deluxe edition.

Lightfoot and Downie’s natural chemistry set the bar high.

May the Muse stay with you Gords…

Songwriters Hall of Fame Announces 2010 Nominations

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The nominations for the 2010 Songwriters Hall of Fame (SongHall) induction ceremony have been announced, with ballots in the mail to the SongHall voting membership.

Songwriter nominees are in two categories—Non-Performing and Performing.

The nominees in the Non-Performing Songwriter category–with two representative song credits—are:

  • Tommy Boyce & Bobby Hart–The Monkees’ hits “Last Train To Clarksville” and “Valleri”
  • Jackie DeShannon–“Put A Little Love In Your Heart” and Kim Carnes’ “Bette Davis Eyes”
  • Luther Dixon–The Crests’ “Sixteen Candles” and The Shirelles’ “Soldier Boy”
  • David Foster–Chicago’s "Hard to Say I’m Sorry" and Peter Cetera’s "The Glory of Love"
  • Mark James–Elvis Presley’s “Suspicious Minds” and B.J. Thomas’s “Hooked On A Feeling”
  • Robert John “Mutt” Lange–Def Leppard’s “Photograph” and Bryan Adams’ “(Everything I Do) I Do It For You”
  • Johnny Mandel–“Suicide Is Painless (Theme from M*A*S*H*)” and Tony Bennett’s “The Shadow Of Your Smile”
  • Jerry Ragovy & Bert Berns–Janis Joplin’s “Piece Of My Heart” and Miriam Makeba’s “Pata Pata”
  • Harvey Schmidt & Tom Jones–Ed Ames’ “My Cup Runneth Over” and “Try To Remember” from The Fantasticks
  • Billy Sherrill–Tammy Wynette’s “Stand By Your Man” and David Houston’s “Almost Persuaded”
  • Joe South–“Games People Play” and Lynn Anderson’s “ I Never Promised You A Rose Garden”
  • Paul Vance & Lee Pockriss–Perry Como’s “Catch A Falling Star” and Brian Hyland’s “Itsy Bitsy Teenie Weeny Yellow Polka Dot Bikini."

Nominees in the Performing Songwriter category are:

  • Bono (Paul Hewson)/The Edge (David Evans)/Adam Clayton/Larry Mullen (U2)–“Beautiful Day” and “I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For”
  • Garth Brooks–“If Tomorrow Never Comes” and “The Thunder Rolls”
  • Leonard Cohen–“Bird On A Wire” and “Suzanne”
  • Elvis Costello–“Alison” and “Pump It Up”
  • Dion DiMucci–“Donna The Prima Donna” and “Runaround Sue”
  • David Gates (Bread)–“Baby I’m-a Want You” and “Everything I Own”
  • Yusuf Islam (formerly Cat Stevens)–“Moonshadow” and “Peace Train”
  • Tommy James–“Crimson And Clover” and “Mony, Mony”
  • John Mellencamp–“Jack And Diane” and “Pink Houses”
  • Lou Reed–“Sweet Jane” and “Walk On The Wild Side”
  • Leon Russell–“Superstar” and “Tight Rope”
  • Maurice White/Philip Bailey/Verdine White/Larry Dunn/Al McKay (Earth, Wind and Fire)–“September” and “Shining Star."

SongHall voting members will now select three nominees from the Non-Performing category, and two from the Performing category. Ballots are due back by Dec. 11, with the new slate of inductees to be announced next year.

Last year’s songwriter inductees were Eddie Brigati, Gerome Ragni, Stephen Schwartz, James Rado, Galt Mac Dermot, Graham Nash, Stephen Stills, David Crosby, Roger Greenaway, Roger Cook, Felix Cavaliere, Richie Sambora and Jon Bon Jovi.

Founded in 1969 by songwriter Johnny Mercer and publishers Abe Olman and Howie Richmond, The Songwriters Hall of Fame celebrates songwriters, 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.

Inductees have included such Tin Pan Alley era legends as Mercer and Irving Berlin, rock icons like Bob Dylan and John Fogerty, rhythm-and-blues greats such as James Brown and Curtis Mayfield, country stars including Kris Kristofferson and Dolly Parton, and contemporary pop tunesmiths like Jimmy Webb and Hal David and Burt Bacharach.

David also serves as the SongHall’s Chairman/CEO.

Each year, a Nominating Committee selects candidates for induction into the Songwriters’ Hall of Fame. Only writers who have actually been engaged in the profession for a minimum of 20 years–and who have written an extensive catalogue of hits–are eligible.

May the Muse remain with all these worthy nominees…

Songpitch.ca To Launch Soon

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The Songwriters Association of Canada and Astral Media Inc. recently announced the launch of a brand new Web portal for songwriters and composers across Canada.

The portal will revolutionize the music industry. It enables songwriters across the country to share their compositions, receive advice from industry professionals and offer their creations for sale to music buyers for television, film and other media. The new portal will also make it possible to replace the traditional practice of mailing CD demos to songwriters, musicians, agents and distributors.

Songwriters Eddie Schwartz, Jim Vallance, Greg Johnston and Marc Jordan, known for their songs performed by artists such as Pat Benatar, Diana Ross, Hilary Duff, Backstreet Boys, Bryan Adams and Olivia Newton John, are just some of the prominent industry members who will provide free, personalized feedback to songwriters who upload their songs to the platform.

"The launch of this new portal is in keeping with Astral Media’s creative and innovative spirit. Thanks to our work over the past few years with the Songwriters Association of Canada, we can have an immediate and significant impact on the careers of thousands of songwriters, aspiring and emerging artists and music program students across the country," said Jacques Parisien, Group President, Astral Media Radio and Astral Media Outdoor.

"When aiming to have a significant and immediate impact on emerging talent, aspiring and established artists, you must start at the bottom of the Canadian radio industry’s food chain. That is, to start with the songwriters. The Songwriters Association of Canada and Astral Media both know that it all starts with a song. Thanks to this partnership with Astral Media, a songwriter from any region of the country will have access to the industry’s senior decision makers as well as the advice of Canada’s most prolific songwriters," added Don Quarles, Executive Director of the Songwriters Association of Canada.

To learn more about the new portal and how it works, visit www.songpitch.ca.

The Songwriters Association of Canada is dedicated to the advocacy and education of Canadian songwriters and devoted to developing and nurturing songwriting communities across the country. Astral Media is one of Canada’s leading media companies, active in specialty and pay television, radio, outdoor advertising and interactive media.

When it’s live and I try it… I’ll let you know how the Muse works within this site, but I am looking forward to it… may the Muse be with you.

Special Songbook Collection – Songwriters Hall of Fame + Hal Leonard Publishing

The Songwriters Hall of Fame (SongHall) has announced a partnership with Hal Leonard Publishing, a world leader in the music print industry. The partnership with the legendary music publisher includes the creation of a series of branded songbooks for the Hall of Fame, and and innovative link between the Hall of Fame’s digital Virtual Museum and Hal Leonard’s vast library of song sheets and folios.

“We are excited about this new partnership,” said Hal David, “because it permits us to extend our mission of honoring the world’s great songwriters, by offering sheet music, both in print and online, to the public. The partnership also will result in direct financial support for the Hall of Fame by Hal Leonard, permitting us to continue our many educational activities.”

Hal Leonard has created the first in a forthcoming series of Songwriters Hall of Fame songbooks highlighting the songwriting gems of 38 inductees from 2003 – 2009, including Jon Bon Jovi & Richie Sambora (“You Give Love A Bad Name”); Desmond Child (“Livin’ On A Prayer”); Loretta Lynn (“Coal Miner’s Daughter”); David Bowie (“Fame”); Queen (“We Are The Champions”); Van Morrison (“Brown Eyed Girl”) and many more. This premier Songwriters Hall of Fame Songbook features bios and photos of each artist, along with an introduction by SongHall Chairman/CEO Hal David, and is being sold at music and bookstores nationwide.

Hal Leonard’s SheetMusicDirect.com has now been made available as a SongHall online affiliate. Options to download sheet music from Hal Leonard’s SMD are available on hundreds of inductee web pages within the Virtual Museum. This new feature enables links to hundreds of thousands of pages of digital sheet music and song folios by everyone from Johnny Mercer, Sammy Cahn, Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein to Eric Clapton, Phil Collins, Hal David and Burt Bacharach. The Hal Leonard SMD program is easily accessible and user-friendly, loads quickly, and takes customer service to a new level, customize viewing experiences with a variety of options on every page.

About Hal Leonard Corporation
Founded in 1947, Hal Leonard Corporation is the world’s largest music print publisher, producing songbooks, sheet music, educational publications, reference books, DVDs, CD-ROMs, children’s music products and more. In its more than 120,000 available publications, the company represents in print some of the world’s best known and most respected publishers, artists, songwriters and arrangers. The Hal Leonard Corporation has been a formidable presence on the Web since 1997, the year it launched SheetMusicDirect.com (SMD), a worldwide website for downloading legal and accurate sheet music. For more than a decade, SMD has been and remains a leading online destination for musicians seeking printed music.

About The Songwriters Hall of Fame:
The Songwriters Hall of Fame celebrates songwriters, educates the public with regard to their achievements, and produces a spectrum of professional programs devoted to the development of new songwriting talent through workshops, showcases and scholarships. Over the course of the past 40 years, some key Songwriters Hall of Fame inductees have included Desmond Child, Dolly Parton, John Fogerty, Isaac Hayes and David Porter, Steve Cropper, Richard and Robert Sherman, Bill Withers, Carole King, Paul Simon, Bob Dylan, Billy Joel, Sir Elton John, Bernie Taupin, Brian Wilson, James Taylor, James Brown, Curtis Mayfield, Hal David and Burt Bacharach, Jim Croce, Phil Collins, Alan and Marilyn Bergman, Jimmy Webb, Van Morrison and Cy Coleman among many, many others. The Songwriters Hall of Fame was founded in 1969 by songwriter Johnny Mercer and publishers Abe Olman and Howie Richmond.

Full biographies and a complete list of inductees are available at the Songwriters Hall of Fame’s Virtual Museum at http://www.songhall.org/.

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