By Brian Ives
Jon Bon Jovi filled in for Kinks frontman Ray Davies, Donovan performed two of his classics and Miguel, A Great Big World, Martina McBride and Candice Glover paid tribute to legendary songwriters while Dan Reynolds of Imagine Dragons stripped down his band’s biggest hit at last night’s Songwriters Hall of Fame awards in New York City.
Davies, one of this year’s inductees, had to cancel his appearance at the last minute due to the death of his sister, Joyce. A note posted to his official Facebook page read, “I am profoundly honoured to have been inducted into the American Songwriters Hall of Fame and disappointed not to have been at the event in New York but I felt it necessary to be near my family at this sad time of my sisters funeral. I wish to thank everyone at the Songwriters Hall of Fame who voted for me and give a special thanks to all the loyal Kinks fans who have stood by us all these years. I hope to repay such loyal support by trying my best to continue to write songs in the future that are worthy of such an accolade.”
In his place, Bon Jovi performed Kinks classics “You Really Got Me” and “All Day and All of the Night,” according to USA Today.
Related: The Kinks Hint at Possible Reunion
There were a number of other notable performances, including Glover’s version of “Midnight Train to Georgia,” paying tribute to inductee Jim Weatherly, who wrote the Gladys Knight & the Pips hit.
A Great Big World sang 10cc’s “I’m Not In Love” to pay tribute to another inductee, Graham Gouldman (his songwriting credits also include the Yardbirds’ “For Your Love” and the Hollies’ “Bus Stop”).
Martina McBride covered Elvis Presley’s “Suspicious Minds,” written by another of the inductees, songwriter Mark James.
Miguel performed “Me and Mrs. Jones,” written by Kenneth Gamble and Leon Huff, the legendary songwriting/production team, who received the Johnny Mercer Award, the night’s top prize. According to the Songwriters Hall of Fame’s website, the Johnny Mercer Award “goes to a writer or writers already inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame and judged by the Nominating Committee as having established a history of outstanding creative works.”
Dan Reynolds, who received the Hal David Starlight award, performed a slow piano version of the GRAMMY-winning “Radioactive,” which he wrote along with his bandmates. The Hal David Award “was established to honor gifted songwriters who are at an apex in their careers and are making a significant impact in the music industry via their original songs.” Past recipients include Rob Thomas, Alicia Keys, John Mayer and John Legend.
The Songwriters Hall of Fame doesn’t have its own museum as the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame does, although it has some exhibits in the the GRAMMY Museum in Los Angeles.