Tuesday, February 22, 2011
Allen Toussaint to be inducted into Songwriters Hall of Fame
By Keith Spera, The Times-Picayune
New Orleans’ oft-honored Allen Toussaint needs to expand his trophy case once again: He’s being inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame.
The 2011 Songwriters Hall of Fame class includes country superstar Garth Brooks; Leon Russell, who is bound for the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame next month; John Bettis, who wrote “Human Nature” for Michael Jackson and “Crazy for You” for Madonna; and the team of Billy Steinberg and Tom Kelly, who wrote Madonna’s “Like A Virgin,” Pat Benatar’s “Sex As a Weapon” and Cyndi Lauper’s “True Colors,” among others.
Toussaint is already a member of the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. A multi-talent pianist and producer, he’s written hundreds of songs recorded by scores of artists. They range from the instrumental “Java,” a huge hit for Al Hirt, to “Whipped Cream,” a smash for Herb Alpert and the theme music to the original “Dating Game”, to “Southern Nights,” which Glen Campbell took to No. 1, and the Lee Dorsey hit “Working in the Coal Mine,” later covered by ‘80s band Devo and mother/daughter duo the Judds..
Toussaint’s credits also include Ernie K-Doe’s “Mother-in-Law,” Irma Thomas’s “It’s Raining” and “Ruler of My Heart,” Art Neville’s “All These Things” and Benny Spellman’s “Fortune Teller,” which Robert Plant and Alison Krauss covered on their hit 2007 album “Raising Sand.”
His most recent release is "The Bright Mississippi," an elegant collection of jazz standards.
The Songwriters Hall of Fame induction is June 16.