Wed. Jul 24th, 2024

Diane Warren to Receive 2024 Johnny Mercer Award From Songwriters Hall of Fame

Diane Warren to Receive 2024 Johnny Mercer Award From Songwriters Hall of Fame

Diane Warren is set to receive the 2024 Johnny Mercer Award at the Songwriters Hall of Fame Induction and Awards Gala on Thursday, June 13 at the Marriott Marquis Hotel in New York City. 

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The Mercer Award, the highest honor bestowed by the SHOF, is reserved for a songwriter or songwriting team who has already been inducted into the SHOF and whose body of work upholds the high standards set by Mercer, wrote dozens of hits from the 1930s through the 1960s. Learn more about Mercer here.

Warren will be the fourth woman to receive the award on her own, following Carole King (2002), Dolly Parton (2007) and Carole Bayer Sager (2019). In addition, three songwriting teams with a female partner have won the honor – Betty Comden & Adolph Green (1991), Alan & Marilyn Bergman (1997), and Barry Mann & Cynthia Weil (2011).

The recipient of a second honorary award, the Hal David Starlight Award, will be announced at a later date.

Warren, 67, has won a Grammy, a Primetime Emmy and two Golden Globes. In November 2022, she became the first songwriter to receive a Governors Award from the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts & Sciences.

Most notably, Warren is one of just six individuals in Oscar history to receive 15 or more nominations for best original song. The other members of this elite club are Sammy Cahn (26 nominations), Mercer (18), Paul Francis Webster (16) and Marilyn and Alan Bergman (15).

Warren has been in the running for best original song the last seven years in a row. That’s the longest continuous streak of nominations in this category since Cahn was nominated eight years running – from 1954-61. Warren’s current nomination is for “The Fire Inside,” performed by Becky G for the film Flamin’ Hot. While it seems to stand little chance of beating the favorite, “What Was I Made For?” from Barbie, it’s practically a foregone conclusion that Warren will be back in the running again. 

“The songwriting community is filled with many special people who have delivered incomparable songs that have made the world go round,” SHOF chairman Nile Rodgers said in a statement. “Within that special group of people, Diane Warren is unique; she is a force of nature that, despite her enormous success … she shows up to write songs every morning at 8 a.m.!”

Rodgers’ statement hints at what may be the secret of Warren’s success – a work ethic that is second-to-none.

In a statement, Warren said, “I’m beyond honored to receive the Johnny Mercer Award, especially looking at the names of the other songwriters who have gotten this great honor. When I was inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame, my mom was there and finally understood that I could make a living and life being what I was born to be and wake up every day loving to be… a songwriter. Now, both she and my dad will be looking down on me with big smiles on their faces. Thank you, Songwriters Hall of Fame.”

A personal note: Back in the 1980s, when I wrote the Chart Beat column in Billboard, Warren’s father called me out of the blue to tout his daughter’s chart successes, an extraordinary show of parental pride and support.

Warren has written or co-written 33 top 10 hits on the Billboard Hot 100, spanning more than 40 years. Her first top 10 hit was Laura Branigan‘s “Solitaire” in May 1983. Her most recent was Taylor Swift’s “Say Don’t Go (Taylor’s Version) [From the Vault]” in November 2023. Swift and Warren co-wrote the song in 2013 for 1989 but it was shelved until the release of 1989 (Taylor’s Version).

Among Warren’s 33 top 10 hits, she has penned nine No. 1s, from Starship’s “Nothing’s Gonna Stop Us Now” in 1987 (also her first Oscar nominee for best original song) through Brandy’s “Have You Ever?” in 1999.

Warren is the sole owner of Realsongs, her publishing company, which is the most successful female-owned and operated business in the music industry.

Warren was inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame in 2001, along with two other songwriters who went on to receive the Mercer Award – Parton and Paul Williams. (The other members of that especially strong class were Willie Nelson and Eric Clapton.)

Three “non-performing” songwriters – Hillary Lindsey, Timothy Mosley (Timbaland) and Dean Pitchford – and members of two groups – Bill Berry, Peter Buck, Mike Mills and Michael Stipe (R.E.M.) and Donald Fagen and Walter Becker (Steely Dan) – are this year’s inductees into the SHOF.

A songwriter with a notable catalog of songs qualifies for induction 20 years after the first commercial release of a song.

Tickets for the Songwriters Hall of Fame event begin at $2,000 each, and are available through Buckley Hall Events, 914-579-1000 and SHOF@buckleyhallevents.com. Net proceeds from the event will go toward Songwriters Hall of Fame programs.

By Michael

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