The classic hit “Stand By Me,” which was written by the late Jerry Leiber, Mike Stoller and Ben E. King and performed by King, will bring the writers the 2012 Towering Song Award and the singer the Towering Performance Award at the 43rd Annual Songwriters Hall of Fame (SHOF) Induction and Awards Dinner, to be held June 14 at the Marriott Marquis Hotel in New York.
Additionally, Lance Freed will receive the prestigious Abe Olman Publisher Award. All three awards were announced today by Songwriters Hall of Fame Chairman Jimmy Webb.
The Towering Song Award is presented to the creators of an individual song that has influenced our culture in a unique way over many years. Leiber and Stoller were inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame in 1985, in honor of a hugely influential catalog also including the Elvis Presley hits “Hound Dog” and “Love Me,” The Coasters’ “Yakety Yak” and “Charlie Brown,” and such other rock ‘n’ roll classics as “Kansas City,” “On Broadway,” and “Is That All There Is.”
“Stand By Me” was originally recorded by King with Leiber and Stoller producing. It topped the r&b charts in 1961, and was a Top 10 hit pop hit that year (peaking at No. 4) and again in 1986, when it reached No. 9 after being used as the Stand By Me movie theme song.
A modern standard, it has been recorded over 400 times, other hit versions including those by Earl Grant, Spyder Turner, David & Jimmy Ruffin, John Lennon, Mickey Gilley, Maurice White, 4 The Cause, and Prince Royce; it was also sampled on Sean Kingston’s No. 1 hit “Beautiful Girls,” making it the song to have charted the most times on Billboard‘s Hot 100. It was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame in 1998.
Previous SHOF Towering Songs have included “Take Me Out To The Ballgame” and “Bridge Over Troubled Water.”
The Towering Performance Award is given in recognition of singular performances by singular singers. King was a lead singer in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame vocal group The Drifters before heading out on an equally rewarding solo career.
Past recipients of the Towering Performance Award include Tony Bennett for “I Left My Heart In San Francisco” and Andy Williams for “Moon River.”
The Abe Olman Publisher Award is named after one of the SHOF’s founders and goes to music publishers who have had a substantial number of songs that have become world-renowned and have furthered the careers of many songwriters.
Son of the legendary radio personality Alan Freed, Rondor Music International president Lance Freed has mentored writers including Will Jennings, Emmylou Harris, Leo Sayer, Melissa Etheridge, Peter Allen, Gerry Goffin, and Bryan Adams, while amassing a catalog of over 80,000 songs. His company has earned Song of the Year Grammy awards for “From A Distance,” “Tears In Heaven” and “My Heart Will Go On,” as well as Best Song Academy Awards for “Shaft,” “Arthur’s Theme” and “My Heart Will Go On.”
Previously announced inductees at this year’s SHOF gala include Gordon Lightfoot, Bob Seger, Don Schlitz, Harvey Schmidt & Tom Jones and Jim Steinman. The prestigious Sammy Cahn Lifetime Achievement Award will be presented to Bette Midler.
Additional special SHOF award honorees will be announced soon.
The New York-based Songwriters Hall of Fame celebrates songwriters, educates the public with regard to their achievements, and produces numerous professional programs devoted to the development of new songwriting talent.
[The Examiner contributes to the SHOF newsletter.]
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