Sting, Billy Joel, Elton John at Songwriters Hall
Elton John, left, and Bernie Taupin accept the "Johnny Mercer" award at the Songwriters Hall of Fame 44th annual induction and awards gala on Thursday, June 13, 2013 in New York. (Photo by Charles Sykes/Invision/AP)
NEW YORK (AP) — Sting performed in honor of Elton John, Billy Joel sang snippets of Foreigner's hits when introducing the band and Smokey Robinson debuted part of a new song he wrote about Berry Gordy.
The 44th annual Songwriters Hall of Fame ceremony was full of star power that included Alison Krauss, Aerosmith's Steven Tyler and Joe Perry, Nickelback, Petula Clark, Wiz Khalifa, Jordin Sparks and a video message from Bill Clinton.
Tyler, Perry, Mick Jones and Lou Gramm of Foreigner, Holly Knight, JD Souther and Tony Hatch were inducted Thursday into the Songwriters Hall 2013 class in New York City.
John and writing partner Bernie Taupin received the Johnny Mercer award, and Sting kicked off the night with a performance of "Saturday Night's Alright for Fighting." Sting also called John and Taupin "my two heroes."
Inductees Steven Tyler, left, and Joe Perry from the band Aerosmith perform at the Songwriters Hall of Fame 44th annual induction and awards gala on Thursday, June 13, 2013 in New York. (Photo by Charles Sykes/Invision/AP)
John, who was inducted into the Songwriters Hall in 1992, said songwriting is often taken for granted.
"I don't mean this lightly, but when you get an Ivor Novello award or an American songwriter's award, it means so much more than a Grammy because this is where the whole process starts," he said.
John also used the stage to try to clear his differences with Joel.
"I didn't see you tonight Mr. Joel, but I want to see you," he said.
Joel responded later when he was onstage with light jokes.
"Is Elton still here by the way?" he asked. "Anyway, we're OK. Call me. It's the same phone number."
Joel introduced Jones and Gramm, who gave the night's most rousing performance when they sang the Foreigner hits "Juke Box Hero" and "I Want to Know What Love Is," which had the crowd singing along, standing and swaying side-to-side at the black tie event. Foreigner also got a boost thanks to The Anthony Morgan's Inspirational Choir of Harlem.