This year, for the first time, the Hall of Fame is expanding the award to honor the lifetime achievements in the music industry of the legendary Don Kirshner, who was named by Time magazine “The Man with the Golden Ear.” Robin Leach, host of “Lifestyles Of The Rich And Famous” called him “The Supreme Starmaker” and “The Father of Rock and Roll.” The Los Angeles Times headlined him as “Mr. Music,” as well as being known in the entertainment world as “The Ed Sullivan of Rock.”
He was the only American under the ATV-Kirshner Corporation, to control the North American Publishing Rights to the Lennon-McCartney catalogue including “Michelle,” “Yesterday” and “Hey Jude,” as well as John Lennon’s “ Imagine.” Kirshner’s name has also appeared on most of The Beatles songs. An enormously successful and creative publisher, Don Kirshner acquired author Alan Jay Lerner’s interest in “My Fair Lady,” “Camelot,” “Gigi,” “Brigadoon,” “Paint Your Wagon” and “On A Clear Day.”
“He was a seminal figure in the modern music business,” said SHOF Chairman/CEO Hal David, “and his songwriting stable has been responsible for scores of classic hit songs over the years, and up to the present day. Because of the extraordinary scope of his accomplishments, we will honor him both as a publisher and music industry legend by combining elements of the Abe Olman Publisher and the Lifetime Achievement Awards.”
The most performed song for BMI, “You’ve Lost That Lovin’ Feelin’” was a Don Kirshner song, and “Where The Boys Are,” which started the “Spring Break” in Florida craze, was written for Kirshner. Barbra Streisand, Elvis Presley and Frank Sinatra have all recorded Kirshner songs and the most recent number one record “Solitaire” by Clay Aiken on “American Idol”, originated as a Kirshner copyright. In addition to creating and producing “In Concert” and hosting “Don Kirshner’s Rock Concert,” the launching pad of today’s superstars, Don is credited with nurturing the careers of Bobby Darin, Carole King, Neil Sedaka, Howard Greenfield, Neil Diamond, Carole Bayer Sager, Ron Dante, Toni Wine, Tony Orlando and Phil Spector. He also published songs written by Gerry Goffin, Barry Mann, Cynthia Weil, Burt Bacharach, Hal David, Quincy Jones, Jerry Lieber, Mike Stoller, John Barry, Don Black, Brian Wilson and Paul Simon to name a few, as well as the 1975 Grammy Award-winning Song of the Year “Love Will Keep Us Together” and Neil Diamond’s biggest hit “I’m a Believer.”
Recent Abe Olman Award recipients have included Allen Klein, Martin Bandier, Les Bider, Nicholas Firth, Ed Murphy, Beebe Bourne and Ralph Peer, among others. Recent Lifetime Achievement Awardees have included Peter, Paul & Mary, Les Paul, Neil Sedaka, Patti LaBelle, Stevie Wonder and Gloria & Emilio Estefan.