After a five-year absence, the Canadian Songwriters Hall of Fame (CSHF) returns with four inductions in a newly cast show set in September at Massey Hall.
Past laureates include Joni Mitchell, Gordon Lightfoot, Leonard Cohen, kd lang, Burton Cummings, Hank Snow, Jack Scott, Luc Plamondon, Robert Charlebois, Pye Dubois and Wilf Carter.
Performance line up and inductees will be announced spring 2017 along with event ticket sales.
The Canadian Songwriters Hall of Fame (CSHF) was founded by music publisher Frank Davies in 1998.
The idea to create a hall of fame to celebrate Canadian songwriters was actually ‘conceived’ inadvertently while serving on the board of the Canadian Academy of Recording Arts & Sciences (CARAS) in the mid-eighties. Davies was the organization’s first music publisher appointee and the voice for songwriters and publishers amongst the group of music industry professionals that oversees the Juno Awards. At one of the board meetings, a presentation was made by Tom Sandler, the son of songwriter Ruth Lowe, who wrote Frank Sinatra’s very first #1 hit, song I’ll Never Smile Again. Lowe had recently died and her son was hoping she would be inducted posthumously into the Canadian Music Hall of Fame (CMHF).
The CARAS board, though sympathetic to Sandler’s cause, concluded that it was not in a position to recognize the careers of songwriters at that time. CARAS’ primary focus was on the recent as well as lifetime achievements, in the case of CMHF, of recording artists and their works.
This meeting left a strong impression on Davies. After 15 years of living in Canada and being very familiar with Lowe’s song, he had no idea that the songwriter was a Canadian. And among his peers in the music industry, he was not alone. “I came away believing that there must be many other Canadian songwriters from our past and not-so-distant past whose songs may be equally as well known but whose lives and careers were not.”
Davies decided that establishing a non-profit, bilingual, apolitical and national ‘Hall of Fame’ was the only way to effectively deal with this lack of public and industry recognition of Canadian songwriters. With initial funding from Davies and his company, and then the Canadian Music Publishers Association (CMPA) and its member companies and individuals, the CSHF/PACC was founded in 1998. Shortly thereafter, the Songwriters Association of Canada (S.A.C.) was invited and agreed to become a partner in the venture.
In 2002, the Société professionnelle des auteurs et des compositeurs du Québec (SPACQ) joined the CSHF with a goal to provide their particular expertise and guidance in celebrating the achievements of Canada’s Francophone songwriters. Davies spent the five years leading up to the inaugural gala in 2003 bringing all factions of the music industry together in a non-partisan effort to provide financial support for the CSHF. A further six annual broadcast galas followed, with the most recent airing in April 2011.
In December 2011, at the instigation and urging of former CSHF Chairmen Frank Davies and Peter Steinmetz, SOCAN (the Society of Composers, Authors and Music Publishers of Canada) acquired the CSHF. The Hall of Fame’s mandate aligned with SOCAN’s objectives as a songwriter and publisher membership-based organization championing the work of its members coast to coast. SOCAN’s support and involvement in the CSHF ensured that the Hall of Fame would be able to continue to honour the achievements of Francophone and Anglophone songwriters.
The CSHF continues to be run as a separate organization with its own board of directors. Vanessa Thomas is manager of the CSHF and can be reached at the SOCAN head-office or by email, firstname.lastname@example.org
kd lang "Hallelujah" CSHF 2006
Joni Mitchell was presented with her award by Herbie Hancock at the 2007 CSHF Induction Ceremony.