Great American Songbook Hall of Fame

"We are excited to launch the Great American Songbook Hall of Fame to create a tribute to the people and personalities who created this music.  There is the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland and the Country Music Hall of Fame in Nashville, but there is not a place that celebrates American Popular song in quite this way, and we wanted to honor those individuals who have given us such a tremendous gift.  Honors have been established to acknowledge those that have made significant contributions to the Great American Songbook.  New members will be inducted into the Hall of Fame in an annual ceremony and Gala performance.  It is exciting to bring together people who have experienced this music in different ways.  This will make it contemporary and current and help to keep the Songbook alive. 
That's what it is all about." - Michael Feinstein

The Hall of Fame will elevate the Great American Songbook, much like the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and the Country Music Hall of Fame have done for the respective musical genres.  The Great American Songbook Hall of Fame will induct new members annually including lyricists, composers, and performers who created the soundtrack of our lives.  Hall of Fame Inductees will be chosen based on such factors as musical influence on other artists, length and depth of career and body of work, innovation and superiority in style and technique, but musical excellence shall be the essential qualification of induction.

The Palladium serves as the official home of the Great American Songbook Foundation and the Hall of Fame.  The Honorees will be recognized in the south lobby on the gallery level of the Palladium.  Plans exist for the construction of the Great American Songbook Hall of Fame Museum and Archive on the campus of the Center for the Performing Arts.

Award Categories Include:
Legend: Awarded posthumously to an artist who made a significant contribution to the Golden Age of American popular music,typically defined as the period from the early years of the 20th century through the 1960s.

Songbook: Awarded to living songwriters, both lyricists and composers, who have made a significant impact on American pop culture by creating the most beloved songs from the American popular songbook.

New Standard: Awarded to the artist, songwriter, and/or performer, who continues to create the soundtrack of our lives by writing and/or performing music that will stand the test of time and become the pop standards of tomorrow.

Visit our Flickr Page to see photos from past Hall of Fame Ceremonies!  Click HERE!

2014 Inductees


Legend Award: Nat "King" Cole

Nat “King” Cole‘s timeless music has warmed the hearts of fans for over half a century with his most identifiable and memorable voice in American music. In 1937, Nat started his musical career by playing piano and leading the King Cole Trio. This drummerless trio excelled at improvisational interplay and had a number of hits  including(Get Your Kicks on) Route 66 and Straighten Up and Fly  Right. In 1946, Cole transformed from jumpin’ jive to pop balladry and began his successful “hit parade.” The string of chart-topping songs started with (I Love You) For Sentimental Reasons and the classic remake of Mel Torme’s The Christmas Song (Merry Christmas to You). During his recording career, Cole recorded more than 150 charting singles on Billboard’s Pop, R&B and Country charts. In 1956, Cole hosted The Nat King Cole Show and made history by becoming the first African-American to host a national network television series. He also appeared in a number of other television shows and feature films, like St. Louis Blues and Cat Ballou. In the early 1990s, Natalie Cole, Nat’s daughter, added her vocals to the Unforgettable soundtrack to create a duet that won seven Grammy Awards. Nat King Cole was honored in 1990 with the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award.

New Standard Award: Linda Ronstadt 

Linda Ronstadt is arguably the most versatile vocalist of the modern era. With worldwide album sales totaling of over $50 million, at least 31 gold and platinum records and 10 Grammy Awards to her credit, representing diverse genres of rock, Latin, and Broadway. She started her career in the late 1960s with her revival of popular hits from rock’s early pioneers and since then has embraced a number of musical genres, including pop, country, Latin, and the American Songbook. Ronstadt’s songs regularly crossed over from pop to country which made her one of the first country-rock stars. She was cast in the Broadway production of Pirates of Penzance and also starred in the movie. Her Latin album, Canciones De Mi Padre, became a multi-platinum success and is still the largest-selling Spanish language CD in the US. Ronstadt was honored by the Hispanic-American artistic community with the prestigious ALMA Award and also received the Latin Grammy for Lifetime Achievement from NARAS in 2011. Most recently, Ronstadt released an autobiography, Simple Dreams, A Musical Memoir, that made the New York Times Best-Seller List. Just this year, Ronstadt was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Class of 2014. Ronstadt has forged a four-decade performing career that broadened the latitudes of the traditional pop singer.

New Standard Award: Shirley Jones

An accomplished film, television  and Broadway star, Shirley Jones is  rooted in American entertainment  history. In 1953, Jones was cast in  her first performing role by Rogers  and Hammerstein in the Broadway production of Me and Juliet. The following year, Jones starred in the highly acclaimed film version of Oklahoma!. She continued that success with a variety of roles that displayed her acting diversity. Jones stared in April Love, Never Steal Anything Small and Elmer Gantry, where she won her Academy Award. During the 1960s, Jones  continued to work in films and explored a variety of roles, including The Music Man, Bedtime Story and The Cheyenne Social Club. In 1970, Jones transitioned to the small screen and appeared with her real-life stepson, David Cassidy, in the musical sitcom, The Partridge Family. During the four very successful years of the show, Jones and the cast produced hit songs like, I Think I Love You and Doesn’t Somebody Want to be Wanted. Since that time, Jones starred in a number of television movies, performed in SRO Symphony Concerts and holds speaking engagements worldwide. 

New Standard Award: Johnny Mathis

Johnny Mathis, with his 60-year performing career, is the world’s bestselling living recording artist and is one of only five recording artists to have Top 40 Hits spanning each of the four decades since 1955. Mathis’s resilient career began in 1957 with the singles Wonderful! Wonderful! and one of his biggest hits, Chances Are. In 1958, Columbia released the first of many "Greatest Hits" collections which became one of the bestselling records of all time. That same year, Mathis released his first Christmas album, which sold over six million copies. To date, 73 of Mathis’s albums have reached the Billboard Top Album charts, with 13 Gold Records and eight Platinum Records. Of his 200 singles, 71 have charted worldwide. Mathis has been inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame twice for his songs, Chances Are and Misty. In 2003, Mathis received the Lifetime Achievement Award by the Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences. The music and voice of Mathis have been used in countless Hollywood movies for theme songs and background music. Outside of song recording, Mathis has also made film appearances, published a cookbook, founded the Johnny Mathis Invitational Track and Field Meet and hosted his own golf tournament. Mathis continues to record songs and still performs live.

2013 Inductees                               

Legend Award: Frank Sinatra

Frank Sinatra’s distinctive music has shaped the culture of the Great American Songbook and set the bar irrefutably high for artists of future generations. Through the decades, his smooth and sultry crooning and unmistakable style have greatly contributed to the soundtrack of our lives. Sinatra’s 59 studio albums and 297 singles generated many of the staples in American popular song including “That’s Life,” “I Get A Kick Out Of You,” “I’ve Got The World On A String,” “Come Fly With Me,” “Strangers In The Night,” “My Way,” “New York, New York,” “It Was A Very Good Year,” “Chicago,” “The Way You Look Tonight,” and “I’ve Got You Under My Skin.” He is widely recognized as one of the most successful artists of all time, selling over 150 million records in his lifetime, and another 26.9 million posthumously. Sinatra has earned 10 personal Grammy awards for his music, with a total of 20 for his albums. Additionally, Sinatra starred in over 50 films during his career, including From Here To Eternity, The House I Live In, and Ocean’s 11, the latter of which Sinatra appeared with the four other members of the iconic “Rat Pack” that dominated popular culture in the 1960’s—Dean Martin, Sammy Davis Jr., Peter Lawford and Joey Bishop. Sinatra won three Academy Awards and two Golden Globes for his films, among numerous other accolades.

Songbook Award: Jimmy Webb

For more than four decades, Jimmy Webb has lent his remarkable songwriting expertise to many popular artists reaching multiple generations. His most recognizable tune “By The Time I Get To Phoenix,” originally recorded by Johnny Rivers, was made popular by Glen Campbell and has since been covered by an impressive range of vocalists, including everyone from Art Garfunkel and Dean Martin to Gladys Knight and Reba McIntire. Broadcast Music Inc. later named “Phoenix” the third most performed song between 1940-1990. Other popular Webb compositions include hits such as “Wichita Lineman,“ “Up, Up, and Away,” “This Is Your Life,” and “Galveston.” “The Highwayman,” recorded by Waylon Jennings, Willie Nelson, Johnny Cash, and Kris Kristofferson, earned Webb a Grammy award for Best Country Song of the Year and a CMA for Song of the Year. Webb also worked with fellow Songbook Honoree Frank Sinatra, penning “Whatever Happened To Christmas” and “Didn’t We” for Sinatra. In addition to songwriting, Webb also launched his solo performance career in the 1970’s, releasing six albums in eleven years. Numerous artists have performed Webb’s work, including R.E.M., Carly Simon, Richard Harris, The 5th Dimension, Donna Summer, Tony Bennett, Elvis Presley, The Supremes and Michael Feinstein.

New Standard Award: Liza Minnelli

“One of the best gifts my parents ever gave me was naming Ira Gershwin as my godfather. So the Great American Songbook has been a part of my life in one way or another for a long time. I am so grateful to receive this honor as singing these songs has connected me to parts of my life both past and present.” – Liza Minnelli

Earning four Tony Awards, one Academy Award, a “Living Legend” Grammy, two Golden Globe awards and one Emmy during her fifty-year career, Liza Minnelli is no stranger to accolade. Minnelli became the youngest woman to win a leading actress Tony award for her performance in Flora the Red Menace at age 19, and has since performed in Chicago, The Rink, The Act, and most recently Liza’s at the Palace in 2008, among others. She has also had a striking film career, starring in Arthur, The Sterile Cuckoo, Lucky Lady, and New York, New York. However, Minnelli captured the hearts of millions as Sally Bowles in the 1972 film Cabaret, which was nominated for ten Academy Awards, winning eight, including Best Actress in a Leading Role for Minnelli. Countless soundtracks house Minnelli’s unmistakable tone and her renditions of “New York, New York,” “Cabaret,” and “Maybe This Time” continue to remain classics in American popular song. In addition to her impressive Broadway and film resume, Minnelli has also released 11 solo performance studio albums and 10 live albums throughout her career. Minnelli has headlined some of the world’s most prestigious and well-recognized music halls, including The Palladium in London, England, Sydney Opera House in Sydney, Australia, and the famed Carnegie Hall in New York City.

New Standard Award: Rita Moreno

“To be inducted into The Great American Songbook Hall of Fame prompts me to once again reflect, with gratefulness, on just how privileged I’ve been to have lived the American Dream! What can I say? I’ve simply been blessed!” Rita Moreno

An accomplished film, television, and Broadway star, Rita Moreno has achieved much well-deserved success throughout her career. While roles in Broadway’s Skydrift and MGM’s Singin’ In The Rain helped Moreno gain attention for her incomparable talent, her breakout role as Anita in the 1961 musical film West Side Story earned her both an Academy Award and Golden Globe Award for Best Supporting Actress. Moreno later went on to become a cast regular in the PBS children’s program The Electric Company alongside Bill Cosby and Morgan Freeman, and appeared in all 780 episodes of the series. Her work on the show’s soundtrack earned a Grammy for Best Recording for Children. She has also accumulated a Tony for her featured role in The Ritz and two Emmys for her appearances in The Muppet Show and The Rockford Files, garnering Moreno the distinct recognition of being the only Hispanic and one of eleven people to win a Tony, Oscar, Emmy and Grammy. Further, Moreno has had guest spots on The Love Boat, The Cosby Show, The Golden Girls and Miami Vice. Her debut solo performance album, Rita Moreno, was released in 2000 and showcases her wide vocal range with a mix of pop and jazz tunes on songs such as “If Swing Goes, I Go Too,” and “Life Is Just A Bowl Of Cherries.”                        

2012 Inductees

Legend Award: Cole Porter

"It is my belief that Cole Porter would have been thrilled to be honored in his native state by being inducted into the Great American Songbook Hall of Fame.  On behalf of my family, I sincerely thank you." - Margaret Cole Russell

Composer/lyricist Cole Porter's decades-long string of Broadway successes began with the 1928 hit, "Paris," and the introduction of "Let's Do It (Let's Fall in Love.)"  He followed with numerous musicals and films including Fifty Million Frenchmen, The New Yorkers, The Gay Divorce, Anything Goes, Kiss Me Kate, Born to Dance, Rosalie, and High Society. 

Porter's productions introduced songs that were musically complex with witty, urbane lyrics that audiences loved.  Songs such as "You Do Something to Me," "Love for Sale," "Night and Day," "Anything Goes," "In the Still of the Night," "Begin the Beguine," "You'd Be So Nice to Come Home To," and "I Get a Kick Out of You" remain popular standards today and have been recorded by well-known artists from around the globe including Fred Astaire, Frank Sinatra, Ella Fitzgerald, U2, Artie Shaw, Elvis Presley, Django Reinhardt, Sheryl Crow, Diana Krall, Michael Buble, Jamie Cullum, Cesare Siepi, Sophie Milman, Joan Jett, Alanis Morrissette, and Michael Feinstein.

Songbook Award: Alan & Marilyn Bergman

"It is truly a great honor for us to be among the first inductees into the Great American Songbook Hall of Fame.  And to receive this award from Michael Feinstein, who has done more than anyone to preserve the greatness of the past and insure its future, only deepens the pleasure of this honor." - Alan & Marilyn Bergman

As successful songwriters, Alan and Marilyn Bergman have contributed to the Great American Songbook for more than five decades.  Their professional collaboration has resulted in sixteen Academy Awards, two Grammy Awards, three Emmy Awards, and one Ace Award.  In 1983, Alan and Marilyn became the first songwriters to be nominated for three Academy Awards for Best Song of the five nominated songs.  They are members of the Songwriters Hall of Fame and recipients of the National Academy of Songwriters Lifetime Achievement Award and the Songwriters Hall of Fame Johnny Mercer Award.  Their creative efforts "The Windmills of Your Mind," "How Do You Keep the Music Playing?" "The Way We Were," "Moonlight," "It Might Be You," and the theme songs for "Maude," "Good Times," and "Alice" have become part of the fabric of American culture.  Numerous artists have performed the Bergman's music including Barbra Streisand, Dusty Springfield, Jose Feliciano, Frank Sinatra, Maureen McGovern, James Ingram, Gladys Knight, Sting, and Beyonce.

New Standard Award: Barry Manilow

Although widely recognized as a singer-songwriter, Barry Manilow is also an accomplished producer and arranger.  Manilow dominated the charts in the 1970s with 10 number 1 singles and five simultaneous best-selling albums while also producing Grammy nominated albums for Bette Midler, Nancy Wilson, and Dionne Warwick.  Hit songs "Mandy," "Even Now," "Looks Like We Made it," "Weekend in New England," and "Tryin' to Get the Feeling" defined the period.  Billboard magazine ranks Manilow as the "top Adult contemporary chart artist of all time."  His incomparable musical career also included writing and singing commercial jingles for State Farm, Band-Aid, Stridex, McDonald's, Pepsi, and others.  Manilow is an inductee of the Songwriters Hall of Fame, a recipient of numerous awards, and has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.  He continues to write, produce, and perform and is the founder of Manilow Music Project, an organization devoted to providing musical instruments and materials to school music programs.  His latest album, Live in London was released in April 2012.