The Songwriters Hall of Fame (SHOF) was founded in 1969 by songwriter Johnny Mercer and music publisher/songwriter Abe Olman and publisher/executive Howie Richmond to honor those whose work represents and maintains the heritage and legacy of a spectrum of the most beloved songs from the world's popular music songbook. It not only celebrates these established songwriters, but is also involved on the development of new songwriting talent through workshops, showcases and scholarships. There are many programs designed to teach and discover new songwriters. Nile Rodgers serves as the organization's chairman.
The Hall of Fame only existed as an online virtual collection until 2010, when it was first put on display as a physical gallery inside The Grammy Museum in Los Angeles. With an under-construction basement installation at the Brill Building in New York, the Hall does not have a permanent place and the awards are not televised.
Through 2010, 383 individuals had been inducted into the SHOF. The pop music group the Bee Gees had all three brothers inducted in 1994, while Queen was the first rock band to have all their band members inducted in 2003.
The Abe Olman Publisher Award is given to publishers who have had a substantial number of songs that have become world-renowned and who have helped to further the careers and success of many songwriters.
The Board of Directors Award is presented to an individual selected by the SHOF Board in recognition of his or her service to the songwriting community and the advancement of popular music.
The Contemporary Icon Award was established in 2015 to recognize songwriter-artists who attained an iconic status in pop culture. The American singer Lady Gaga was the first artist to win the award.
The Hal David Starlight Award, created in 2004, was renamed in honor of the SHOF Chairman for his longtime support of young songwriters. Award recipients are gifted songwriters who are at an apex in their careers and are making a significant impact in the music industry via their original songs.
The Howie Richmond Hitmaker Award is specifically tailored for artists or "star makers" in the music industry who have been responsible for a substantial number of hit songs for an extended period of time, and who recognize the importance of songs and their writers.
The Johnny Mercer Award is the highest honor bestowed by the event. It goes to writers already inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame for having established a history of outstanding creative works.
The Patron of the Arts is presented to influential industry executives who are not primarily in the music business but are great supporters of the performing arts.
Named for the former President of the Songwriters Hall of Fame, the Sammy Cahn Lifetime Achievement Award is given to individuals or teams who are recognized as having done a great deal to further the successes of songwriters.
Abe Olman was an American songwriter and music publisher. He was later director of ASCAP, and a founder of the Songwriters Hall of Fame which, in 1983, named the Abe Olman Publisher Award. In his honor, the Abe Olman Scholarship is given out each year by his family in the interest of encouraging and supporting the careers of young songwriters.
Created In 2009, The Holly Prize is a tribute to the legacy of Buddy Holly, a SHOF inductee. The award recognizes and supports a new "all-in songwriter" -- an exceptionally talented and inspired young musician/singer/songwriter whose work exhibits the qualities of Holly's music: true, great and original. The Holly Prize is administered and juried by the SongHall.
Announced in 2011, along with a collaboration between the Songwriters Hall of Fame and NYU Steinhardt's Department of Music and Performing Arts Professions, the NYU Steinhardt Songwriting Scholar Award is presented to a music composition student whose work holds great potential for success in the field, and embodies the art, craft, individuality and qualities of communication of the best songwriting.
The Towering Performance Award is given in recognition of one-of-a-kind performances by one-of-a-kind singers that have recorded outstanding and unforgettable interpretations of songs that have become iconic standards.
Created in 2013, The Visionary Leadership Award recognizes members of the Hall of Fame Board of Directors who have made a significant contribution in furthering the ongoing mission of the organization.