Live: The Songwriters Hall Of Fame Awards Roll Back To The '70s

Larry Busacca
Constantine Maroulis and Meat Loaf.
43rd Annual Songwriters Hall Of Fame Awards
Marriott Marquis
Thursday, June 14

Better than: Disco roller derby.

If you closed your eyes and listened to the parade of songs and familiar voices emanating from the Marriott Marquis' luminary-packed sixth-floor ballroom last night, you might have thought you had been transported back to another era when the nation was distressed about the economy and rising oil prices. (Apparently some things don't change.)

Indeed, four of the five new inductees at the 43rd annual Songwriters Hall Of Fame Awards—Bob Seger, Gordon Lightfoot, Jim Steinman and Don Schlitz—arguably had their greatest success in that window between the resignation of Richard Nixon and the one-term presidency of Jimmy Carter.

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Leiber & Stoller (11) Take Alicia Keys (14) To School In The Second Round Of SOTC's March Madness

Sound of the City's search for the quintessential New York City musician enters Round Two this week. Keep up with all the action here.

Both these acts scored upset victories in the first round of the Uptown bracket, with pioneering rock'n'roll songwriters Leiber & Stoller trouncing the sixth-seeded Yoko Ono and contemporary soul superstar Alicia Keys toppling the third-seeded Tito Puente. The former's reign of hits ended decades ago—lyricist Jerry Leiber passed away last August—while Mrs. Swizz Beatz is still in her prime, though she's taken a break of late to focus on motherhood. So who will win, the pair of men whose dustiest classics still set the standard for snotty youth culture anthems (yakety yak!), or the serious young lady who tries so hard to convince us she's an old soul?

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Yoko Ono (6) And Leiber & Stoller (11) Go Head To Heads In SOTC's March Madness

The Round of 64 for Sound of the City's own version of March Madness—in which you, the Sound of the City voting public, help determine the quintessential New York musician—continues to chug along, and you get to help choose who makes it to Round Two. This morning's first match puts the avant-garde leading light Yoko Ono (seeded sixth in the Uptown division) against the prolific pop architects Leiber & Stoller (in at No. 11). Check out the arguments in favor of each contestant below, then cast your ballot at the bottom of the page.

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Jerry Leiber, R.I.P.

Ben E. King, "Stand by Me" (1960)
Jerry Leiber, who died today at 78, wrote songs that became legends unto themselves. You could write entire books about "Kansas City," about "Stand by Me," about "On Broadway," about "There Goes My Baby," about "Jailhouse Rock," about "Is That All There Is," and lord knows about "Hound Dog"—just start with the discography of Greil Marcus's Mystery Train and go from there. (I've seen highly regarded academics stumble badly for not doing so.) "Yakety Yak" rivals Carl Perkins' "Blue Suede Shoes" as the definitive adults-vs.-teenagers '50s anthem, not to mention its timeless pinhead progeny, "Yakety Sax," the theme from The Benny Hill Show.

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