Hanson, Brian McKnight On Honoring Songwriters

Sean “Puffy” Combs, Brian McKnight, and Hanson were among those paying tribute to inductees at the 31st annual Songwriters Hall Of Fame dinner Thursday night in New York City.

Brian Wilson, late soul singer Curtis Mayfield, James Brown, James Taylor, and the Eagles’ Don Henley and Glenn Frey were among those inducted into the Songwriters Hall Of Fame this year (see “Puff Daddy, Hanson, Isaac Hayes To Honor Songwriters” ).

In their onstage tribute to Brian Wilson, the young men of Hanson took a page from the Beach Boys’ 1966 album “Pet Sounds” and performed the track “God Only Knows.” Before the performance, Taylor Hanson told the MTV Radio Network, “[We wanted to do] that song, because ’Pet Sounds’ is such an influential album. Not necessarily the biggest-selling Beach Boys album, but as a landmark in music.”

“As an artistic
work,”
added brother Isaac, “it was a really amazing thing, and it also inspired a lot of other artists to do a lot of other things.”

“[The Beatles’] ’Sgt. Pepper’s [Lonely Hearts Club Band]’ is a result of ’Pet Sounds’ in a lot of ways,” Taylor said, “and to [Wilson] as a songwriter, I think that’s really a credit to him, that album.” [RealAudio]

Brian McKnight took the stage to perform a tribute to the late Curtis Mayfield. “When I think about Curtis, I think more about his contribution to allowing African-American males to do film scores,” McKnight told the MTV Radio Network. “Not only to just do the music, but he did songs that were an integral part of [the film].

“If you look at ’Superfly,’
there’s no way that you could even watch that movie and not know all those songs that were happening,” McKnight continued. “[He did more] than Quincy [Jones] in a lot of ways. He did just an amazing body of work, and the thing about it is that that music stands up yesterday, 20 years ago, and it’ll stand up tomorrow, cause he was an innovator.” [RealAudio]

Other performers who turned out for the event include Sean “Puffy” Combs and Bobby Womack (honoring James Brown), Carole King (honoring James Taylor), J.D. Souther (honoring Don Henley and Glenn Frey), and Jill Sobule, who honored this year’s Lifetime Achievement Award-winner Neil Diamond by performing the hit “I’m A Believer,” a song he penned for The Monkees.