June 14, 2002 12:00 PM

Sting and Barry Manilow showed up. Michael Jackson did not. The scene: Thursday in New York, at the 33rd annual induction ceremony for the Songwriters Hall of Fame. Reuters reports that Manilow, who turns 59 next Monday and who has been experiencing a comeback of late, spoke to the crowd about his four-decade career, during which he turned out such hits as “Copacabana” and “I Write the Songs” (which, in fact, was written by Beach Boy Bruce Johnston). Said Manilow: “It started off as a real scary job — trying to get hit records and compete with the youngest this and that, but these days it’s more exciting for some reason. I can dig deeper into experience and life. I started off only wanting to write songs. (Singing) was a beautiful accident.” Stevie Wonder, 52, was presented with the top honor. “To receive the Lifetime Achievement Award is something I never expected but I take it with much respect. I’ll cherish it and use it,” Wonder reportedly said. “As a songwriter, we have to encourage peace and write songs of love.” Also inducted were Garth Brooks, Carole King and the husband-and-wife team of Nickolas Ashford and Valerie Simpson. “I feel like I have been legitimized,” Simpson, 55, told Reuters before the ceremony. “Songwriting is always something that is not on the forefront but being in the Songwriters Hall of Fame means we have done something that has lasted and that makes you feel awfully good.”

You May Like