Songwriters Hall Inducts Seven; Honors Dolly Parton
June 8, 2007 at 6:27 AM (PT)
Writing a song that touches the hearts of millions is hard enough. Writing a warm and fuzzy ballad about one of nature's most despised animals -- the rat -- seemed to be an impossible task, even for Oscar-winning composer DON BLACK.
BLACK, whose credits include many of the themes for the JAMES BOND movies and his ACADEMY AWARD-winning "Born Free," about a lion, was asked to write the title song for the 1972 horror movie "BEN," about a lonely boy whose only friend is a rodent named BEN.
BLACK's approach worked -- and the song "BEN," sung by MICHAEL JACKSON, became one of pop music's most enduring and oddest classics. The song is one of the reasons why BLACK was inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame on THURSDAY.
Other inductees include singer-songwriter JACKSON BROWNE; Caribbean songwriter IRVING BURGIE, best known for HARRY BELAFONTE's "Day-O"; MICHAEL MASSER, whose hits include "Touch Me in the Morning" and "The Greatest Love of All"; and the songwriting team of BOBBY WEINSTEIN and TEDDY RANDAZZO, who wrote songs such as "Gonna Take a Miracle." Previous inductee DOLLY PARTON received the JOHNNY MERCER award for her career achievements.
"I would always give up everything before I give up the writing, because it's really my way of expressing myself, and it's just a natural thing and the song just took me everywhere I've been so far," said PARTON. "So it's very important... To be honored for it and recognized for it is a great great compliment."