Garth Brooks, Leon Russell, Allen Toussaint among Songwriters Hall of Fame inductees

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Country kingpin Garth Brooks, Oklahoma rocker Leon Russell and New Orleans R&B godfather Allen Toussaint are among the 2011 inductees to the Songwriters Hall of Fame. They’ll be honored at a June 16 ceremony in New York City along with John Bettis and the team of Billy Steinberg and Tom Kelly, whose songs became hits in the hands of Michael Jackson, Madonna, Cyndi Lauper, Whitney Houston and many others.

Toussaint’s compositions over nearly six decades have been recorded by artists including Paul McCartney, Elvis Costello, the Rolling Stones, Glen Campbell, the Pointer Sisters, Irma Thomas and Lee Dorsey.

‘We are inspired by the striking caliber and range of the 2011 Songwriters Hall of Fame class,’ hall chairman and songwriter Jimmy Webb said in a statement issued Tuesday announcing the honorees for the organization’s 42nd induction and awards dinner.

Upon the announcement, Brooks issued a statement saying, “To consider myself a ‘songwriter’ is something I find hard to agree with, for it is the songwriter that is the most gifted and most important ingredient in the music formula. I am humbled and flattered by this award and want to thank the songwriters I have written with in the past. I feel it is because of them I am receiving this award.’


Previous inductees include Kris Kristofferson, Bruce Springsteen, Dolly Parton, Van Morrison, Leonard Cohen, Elton John and Bernie Taupin and James Brown.

-- Randy Lewis