Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame to Induct Pat Alger, Steve Cropper, Paul Davis, and Stephen Foste
The Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame Foundation (NaSHOF) is pleased to announce this year’s inductees for the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame: from the Songwriter category, hit writers Pat Alger and Steve Cropper ; from the Songwriter/Artist category, the late Pop/Country star Paul Davis; and by special induction, America’s first professional songwriter Stephen Foster.
The four new inductees will be welcomed into the elite songwriting fraternity by their peers at the 40th Anniversary Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame Dinner & Induction Ceremony, presented by AT&T, on Sunday, October 17, at the Renaissance Nashville Hotel.
“Pat, Steve, Paul and certainly Mr. Foster have all written remarkable songs that we’ve lived our lives by through the years, and all of them are so deserving as Hall of Fame inductees,” said Roger Murrah, Chairman of the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame Foundation. “Stephen Foster was writing songs before we even had genres.” Alger’s songwriter credits include hits such as “Goin’ Gone” (Kathy Mattea) and “The Thunder Rolls” (Garth Brooks). Cropper’s resume is known for Pop/R&B classics such as “(Sittin’ On) The Dock Of The Bay” (Otis Redding) and “In The Midnight Hour” (Wilson Pickett). Davis popularized many of his own compositions, “I Go Crazy” and “Sweet Life.” Foster, regarded as America’s first professional songwriter, is remembered for Civil-War-era compositions such as “Camptown Races” and “Oh! Susanna.”
The Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame Dinner & Induction Ceremony is one of the music industry’s foremost events of the year. The evening features tributes and performances of the inductees’ songs by special guest artists. NaSHOF’s sister organization, the Nashville Songwriters Association International (NSAI), also presents its annual awards for the year’s Best Song, Songwriter and Songwriter/Artist, as well as the Top 10 “Songs I Wish I Had Written,” as determined by the professional songwriters division.
Tickets for the event are $200 each. A limited number of seats are available to the public this year and may be purchased by contacting event director Mark Ford at 615-256-3354 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
About the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame: Established in 1970, the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame boasts 171 members, including songwriting luminaries such as Johnny Cash, Rodney Crowell, Bob Dylan, Don & Phil Everly, Lester Flatt & Earl Scruggs, Vince Gill, Harlan Howard, Bob McDill, Roger Miller, Bill Monroe, Roy Orbison, Dolly Parton, Carl Perkins, Dottie Rambo, Jimmie Rodgers, Cindy Walker, Jimmy Webb, Hank Williams, Sr. and Hank Williams, Jr. It was announced in September 2007 that the future home of the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame will be the historic building at 34 Music Square East, former home of the Quonset Hut, Columbia Studio A, Columbia and Epic Records and Sony Music Nashville. The Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame will become the first organization honoring songwriters to emerge from a virtual entity to one with a physical location. The Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame Foundation, Inc. is a non-profit foundation dedicated to honoring and preserving the songwriting legacy of the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame. The NaSHOF’s principal purposes are to educate, archive and celebrate songwriting that is uniquely associated with the Nashville music community. More information is available at http://www.nashvillesongwritersfoundation.com.
Inductee Biographical Information:
Pat Alger was born in Long Island City, N.Y., but was raised in his mother’s birthplace of LaGrange, Ga. While in college in the ’60s, Pat started writing songs and performing at Atlanta folk clubs. Moving to Woodstock, N.Y. in the ’70s, he made three albums with the Woodstock Mountain Revue for Rounder Records and a duet album with guitarist Artie Traum. Pat had his first hit with Folk-Pop artist Livingston Taylor (“First Time Love”) in 1980, then decided to move to Nashville. Slowly, established artists like Mickey Gilley, Dolly Parton, Brenda Lee and the Everly Brothers began to record his material, followed by new artists like Kathy Mattea (“Goin’ Gone” and “She Came From Fort Worth”), Nanci Griffith (“Lone Star State Of Mind”) and Hal Ketchum (“Small Town Saturday Night”). Pat’s songwriting collaborations with Garth Brooks yielded four #1 records for him (“The Thunder Rolls,” “Unanswered Prayers,” “What She’s Doing Now” and “That Summer”), as well as the Trisha Yearwood hit “Like We Never Had A Broken Heart.” In 1991, Pat was named NSAI Songwriter of the Year. In 1992, he was ASCAP’s Country Songwriter of the Year.
Rising to prominence in the studios of Memphis, Missouri native Steve Cropper’s first successes were instrumentals he wrote for his bands The Mar-Keys and Booker T. & The MGs. Steve became the “house” guitarist at Stax Records and was soon contributing to hits by Sam & Dave, Carla Thomas, Eddie Floyd, Johnnie Taylor, Rufus Thomas, Wilson Pickett and Otis Redding. Steve’s classics include “(Sittin’ On) The Dock Of The Bay,” “In The Midnight Hour,” “Green Onions,” “Knock on Wood,” “See Saw,” “634-5789 (Soulsville, USA)” and “Time Is Tight.” These were all Pop and R&B hits that have been frequently covered by Nashville artists. In the 1970s, Steve recorded and toured with Levon Helm and The Blues Brothers. He moved to Nashville in 1988. Along with the other MGs, he was inducted into the Rock ’n’ Roll Hall of Fame in 1992. In 2008, he teamed up with fellow Nashvillian Felix Cavaliere to record Nudge It Up a Notch, which was nominated for a Grammy and consists of recent songs the two co-wrote.
The late Paul Davis (1948-2008) was a native of Meridian, Miss. who achieved fame both as a hit vocalist and a hit songwriter. Beginning his career as an R&B songwriter in Jackson, Miss. at Malaco Records, Paul was later discovered by producer/songwriter Bert Berns and signed as an artist to Berns’ Bang Records in 1969. Between 1970 and 1982, Paul had a string of self-penned hits that fared particularly well on the Adult Contemporary charts: “I Go Crazy,” “Sweet Life” and “Do Right.” Signing with Arista Records in 1981, his successes continued with “Cool Night” and “’65 Love Affair.” In 1984, Paul decided to pursue songwriting full-time in Nashville, where he scored hits with Dan Seals (“Bop” and “Meet Me In Montana” [duet with Marie Osmond]), Tanya Tucker (“Love Me Like You Used To” and “Down To My Last Teardrop”) and Lorrie Morgan (“Back In Your Arms Again”). Though not a prolific writer, a strikingly high percentage of Paul’s songs became enormously successful throughout the 1980s and 1990s. He died suddenly of a heart attack on April 22, 2008, the day after his 60th birthday.
Nashville’s songwriters trace their professional lineage back to Stephen Foster (1826-1864), widely regarded as America’s first professional songwriter. Though most of his songs were no doubt composed during the last two decades of his 38-year life, Foster’s copyrights continue to endure nearly 150 years after his death – national standards such as “Beautiful Dreamer,” “Camptown Races,” “Hard Times Come Again No More,” “Jeanie With The Light Brown Hair,” “My Old Kentucky Home,” “Oh! Susanna” and “Old Folks At Home,” perhaps better known as “Way Down Upon The Swanee River.” Two of his songs have been named official state songs -- “My Old Kentucky Home” for Kentucky; “Old Folks At Home” for Florida.
Foster not only struggled to support his family by writing songs as a vocation, he established the very idea that writing songs full-time could be a vocation. Foster sold his early songs outright for a few dollars apiece. Once he was established as a songwriter, the Pennsylvania native was able to bargain for what are known as royalties today, payment for the sale of each piece of sheet music. This marked a turning point for songwriters, which was later cemented with the passage of the 1909 copyright law.
Though Foster died before the end of the Civil War with a scrap of lyric and fewer than 50 cents in his pocket, his songs have been covered by a Who’s Who of music legends, among them The Beatles, Bing Crosby, Frank Sinatra, even Spike Jones. Nashville particularly has been well represented in Foster’s catalogue thanks to numerous recordings from luminaries such as Chet Atkins, Gene Autry, David Ball, Suzy Bogguss, Johnny Cash, Floyd Cramer, Crystal Gayle, Don Gibson, Nanci Griffith, Emmylou Harris, Grandpa Jones, Alison Krauss, Jerry Lee Lewis, Raul Malo, Roy Orbison, John Prine, Charlie Rich, Marty Robbins, Hank Snow, The Oak Ridge Boys, The Sons of the Pioneers, Porter Wagoner and Bob Wills & His Texas Playboys.
To date, three Hollywood movies have been made about Foster’s life (1935, 1939, 1952). In 1970, he was inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame in New York. In 2005, Beautiful Dreamer, a Nashville-produced compilation album of 18 Foster songs, won a Grammy Award for Best Traditional Folk Album.