Songwriter's HOF Announce Inductees

NEW YORK (CelebrityAccess MediaWire) — John Bettis, Garth Brooks, Leon Russell, Billy Steinberg & Tom Kelly and Allen Toussaint will become the newest members of the Songwriters Hall of Fame at the organization's 42nd Annual Induction and Awards Dinner.

The star-studded event is slated for Thursday, June 16th at the Marriott Marquis Hotel in New York City. Additional special award honorees will be announced soon, according to the press release.

"We are inspired by the striking caliber and range of the 2011 Songwriters Hall of Fame class," says SHOF Chairman, legendary songwriter, and Songwriters Hall of Fame inductee Jimmy Webb. "John, Garth, Leon, Billy, Tom, and Allen each represent a unique breed of artist, warmly respected by their peers and revered by all lovers of song. As songwriters, their work has forever enriched our world's music."

In entering the Hall, established in 1969, John Bettis, Garth Brooks, Leon Russell, Billy Steinberg & Tom Kelly and Allen Toussaint join an elite family that includes Kris Kristofferson, Carole King, Holland-Dozier-Holland, Dolly Parton, James Taylor, Van Morrison, Bruce Springsteen, Sir Elton John, Bernie Taupin, Loretta Lynn, Leonard Cohen, and James Brown among others.

John Bettis has written songs that have sold more than 250 million records worldwide and have been sung by artists such as Michael Jackson, George Strait, Celine Dion, Madonna, Diana Ross, Whitney Houston, and Karen Carpenter.

His songs include: "Human Nature," "Heartland," "Top Of The World," "Yesterday Once More," "Good-Bye To Love," "Only Yesterday," "Can You Stop The Rain?," "One Moment In Time," "Crazy For You," and "Slow Hand." Bettis has been nominated for an Academy Award, a Golden Globe, three Grammys and three Emmys.

In 1988 Bettis received an Emmy for"One Moment In Time," the theme song for the 1988 Olympics.

Garth Brooks has sold more than 128 million albums and is the only solo artist in RIAA history to have six albums top the 10 million mark. His most recent release The Ultimate Hits has been certified 5x platinum.

Brooks has received accolades including  two Grammys, 17 American Music Awards, 11 Country Music Association Awards, 18 Academy of Country Music Awards, five World Music Awards, 12 People's Choice Awards, and 36 Billboard Music Awards.

In 2001, Brooks retired and moved back to Oklahoma to raise his children. In 2008, Brooks headlined President Obama's Inaugural Celebration at the Lincoln Memorial. In 2009, Brooks emerged out of retirement and entered a five-year performing relationship with Las Vegas resort developer, Steve Wynn.

He recently finished an astonishing nine concerts to raise $5 million for the flood relief efforts in Nashville, Tennessee.

Leon Russell's songwriting credits include "A Song For You," "This Masquerade," " Delta Lady," " Tight Rope," "Bluebird," " Back To The Island," and "Hummingbird."

Russell's song, "If It Wasn't for Bad,"from his 2010 duet album The Union, with Elton John, was nominated for a Grammy Award for Best Pop Collaboration with Vocals.

Russell will be honored by the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as the first recipient of the Award for Musical Excellence in March 2011.

Billy Steinberg & Tom Kelly have written five #1 singles on Billboard's Hot 100 chart, including Madonna's "Like A Virgin," Cyndi Lauper's "True Colors," Whitney Houston's "So Emotional," The Bangles' "Eternal Flame," and Heart's "Alone."

They began working together in 1981 and recorded an album as I-10 on Epic Records in 1983, which featured "Alone."

Steinberg & Kelly have written for artists such as Tina Turner, Roy Orbison, Pat Benatar, Belinda Carlisle, Bette Midler, Rod Stewart, Celine Dion, Carrie Underwood and The Divinyls with "I Touch Myself" among others.

In 1993, Steinberg & Kelly began another high-profile collaboration, writing numerous songs with Chrissie Hynde of the Pretenders. The trio wrote six songs for the group's Last of the Independents album in 1994, which included the Top 10 hit, "I'll Stand By You," and the single, "Night In My Veins."

Allen Toussaint; musician, songwriter and record producer, is one of the most influential figures in New Orleans R&B.

He has produced, written for, arranged, had his songs covered by and performed with music giants The Judds, Paul McCartney, Paul Simon, Elvis Costello, Patti LaBelle, Mac "Dr. John" Rebannac, Aaron and Art Neville, Joe Cocker, The (original) Meters, Glen Campbell, The Band, Little Feat, The Rolling Stones, Devo, Ernie K-Doe, Lee Dorsey, Irma Thomas, Etta James, Ramsey Lewis, and Eric Gale.

Toussaint got his shot as a solo artist with a record for RCA and two of his earliest tunes, "Java," which became a mega-hit for trumpeter Al Hirt, and "Whipped Cream," the Herb Alpert hit, became instrumental standards.

Toussaint then went onto team up with Lee Dorsey turning out a string of hits that included "Working In The Coalmine," "Holy Cow", "Ride Your Pony" and many others.

After establishing himself as one of the greatest songwriters, accredited to him by BMI Music, Toussaint was honored with a Grammy nomination for 1977's Song of the Year, "Southern Night," performed by Glen Campbell.

In 1998, Toussaint was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and in 2009, was a Grammy Trustees honoree.

— Crystal Lynn Huntoon

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