NEW YORK — Oklahoma songwriting legend Woody Guthrie was among the inductees at the 43rd annual Songwriters Hall of Fame induction ceremony in New York City. The late Okemah-born folk pioneer, whose award was accepted by his daughter, Nora Guthrie, was inducted along with Gordon Lightfoot, Bob Seger, Don Schlitz, “Fantasticks” songwriters Harvey Schmidt and Tom Jones, and Jim Steinman.
The organization’s president, Elk City native Jimmy Webb, called the event a success.
Seger opened the show with a spirited version of his 1973 classic, “Turn the Page.” He was then inducted by Valerie Simpson, who performed “We’ve Got Tonight” in his honor.
On the red carpet before the performance, Simpson said that steamy track has a special power.
“It’s one of the sexiest songs I know,” Simpson said.
Ne-Yo was honored with this year’s Hal David Starlight Award. It’s given to young artists who are making a significant impact with their original music.
Hal David was a frequent songwriting partner to Burt Bacharach.
Ne-Yo said writing songs saved him.
“I was a pretty riled up little kid, and if not for my mom giving me the pad and the pen and telling me to take my emotions and put them there, then there was no telling. I might I have been sticking you up or something,” Ne-Yo joked.
After being inducted by Swizz Beatz, Ne-Yo told the crowd of nearly 900 that he didn’t prepare a speech because he still didn’t believe he was standing there.