Neil Diamond, Kool & The Gang, John Mellencamp into Songwriters HOF

SONGWRITERS HALL OF FAME:  Neil Diamond shines at induction ceremony

The Songwriters Hall of Fame saved the best for last on Thursday night. 

The organization’s 49th annual induction ceremony, at the Marriott Marquis in New York, was into its fourth hour when Kool and the Gang reunited with former lead singer and co-writer JT Taylor and brought the house down with a rousing take on “Celebration.”

That was followed by Neil Diamond, who accepted the Johnny Mercer Award by leading the packed crowd of fellow artists and music industry pros in “Sweet Caroline.

The early evening highlight was John Mellencamp. He was introduced by Woody Guthrie’s daughter Nora, who compared her dad’s music to that of the Hoosier legend. She said her dad “called it folk music and [John] called it rock and roll. Never getting us down, never putting us down.” Guthrie called Mellencamp “the consummate writer.” He then delivered riveting acoustic performances of “Longest Days” and “Jack and Diane.”

The Hall’s Class of 2018 also includes Allee WillisAlan Jackson, Bill Anderson, Steve Dorff and Jermaine Dupri.

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