Credit: Alan SilfenIn February, Lionel Richie was saluted as the Recording Academy’s MusiCares Person of the Year and now the legendary entertainer has been chosen to receive another distinguished honor, the Songwriters Hall of Fame’s Johnny Mercer Award. Richie will be presented with the prestigious award at the Hall of Fame’s 47th Annual Induction and Awards Dinner, which will be held June 9 at the Marriott Marquis Hotel in New York City.

The Johnny Mercer Award is given to a songwriter or songwriting team already inducted into the Hall of Fame, and whose body of work is of such high quality and impact that it upholds the legacy of Johnny Mercer, the lyricist for pop standards including “Moon River,” “Hooray for Hollywood,” “Summer Wind,” “Satin Doll” and many other classic tunes.

Richie came to fame as the frontman of The Commodores and he went on to have a hugely successful career as a solo artist, scoring such enduring hits as “Truly,” “All Night Long (All Night),” “Hello,” “Say You, Say Me” and “Dancing on the Ceiling,” as well as “Endless Love,” his chart-topping Duet with Diana Ross. He also teamed up with Michael Jackson to write the historic 1985 charity single “We Are the World.”

Songwriters Hall of Fame co-chairmen Kenneth Gamble and Leon Huff say of Richie, “In our view, Lionel is more than well deserving of this honor as one the greatest and most prolific songwriters and identifiable music voices in our century. As a songwriter, Lionel’s songs made you love and dance and will last forever in American culture…We consider our dear friend Lionel Richie a songwriting phenomenon!!”

In response to being chosen for the honor, Richie wrote on his Twitter feed, “I was inducted in the Songwriter’s Hall of Fame in 1994 and to now be given the Johnny Mercer Award is incredible!”

Previous Mercer Award recipients include Paul Simon, Elton John and Bernie Taupin, Billy Joel, Stevie Wonder, Carole King, Smokey Robinson, Van Morrison, Phil Collins, Gamble and Huff, Barry Mann and Cynthia Weil, Hal David and Burt Bacharach, Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller, Holland-Dozier-Holland and Jimmy Webb.

As previously reported, this year’s Songwriters Hall of Fame inductees include the late Marvin Gaye, Tom Petty, Nile Rodgers and the late Bernard Edwards of Chic, Elvis Costello and Chip Taylor.

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