R.E.M. Reunites at Songwriters Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony for 2024

Songwriters Hall of Fame induction ceremony
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Songwriters Hall of Fame induction ceremony
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Photo Credit: L. Busacca/Getty Images for Songwriters Hall Of Fame

The 53rd induction ceremony for the Songwriters Hall of Fame saw R.E.M. reunite for the first time in 15 years. The even celebrated inductees including Timbaland, Steely Dan, and more.

R.E.M.’s Bill Berry, Peter Buck, Mike Mills, and Michael Stipe were on hand at the ceremony, stunning audiences with an acoustic performance of “Losing My Religion.” After the performance, Michael Stipe told the audience, “We are R.E.M., and this is what we did.”

Musical icons Hillary Lindsey, Timothy Mosley (Timbaland), Dean Pitchford, Bill Berry, Peter Buck, Mike Mills, and Michael Stipe performing as R.E.M., and Walt Becker and Donald Fagan performing as Steely Dan were inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame. Diane Warren received the Johnny Mercer Award, while SZA received the Hal David Starlight Award.

The evening kicked off with a special performance of Irena Cara’s “Fame,” performed by Rodney Chrome, Molly Kate Kestner, Sierra “Spirit” Kihega, Ava Liv Mabry, and Matilda Marigolds. Aftward, Deniece Williams took the stage to begin the induction of Dean Pitchford with her 1984 hit, “Let’s Hear It For the Boy” of Footlose fame. Kevin Bacon and musician Michael Bacon then performed “Footloose” before inducting Dean, saying his writing has “inspired us all to reach for our dreams. Pitchford performed “Once Before I Go” after his induction.

Manager Irving Azoff began the honors for Steely Dan, naming them among the best bans ever and stating, “their records will be recognized as iconic for the rest of time.” Trey Anastasio took to the stage to perform several Steely Dan hits including “Kid Charlemagne” and “Reelin’ In The Years.” Trey inducted the duo, stating that they together “created a body of work that defied categorization—masterful, thought-provoking, elegantly melodic songs filled with beautifully flawed, deeply human, and believable characters.”

Nile Rodgers took the stage next to honor SZA with the Hal David Starlight Award, which is presented to young songwriters who make a significant impact on the music industry with their original songs. SZA then performed her hit, “Snooze” from her sophomore album SOS.

Carrie Underwood kicked off the induction for Hillary Lindsey with a powerful performance of “Jesus Take The Wheel” from her album Some Hearts. Underwood bestowed the title “queen of modern Nashville songwriting” to Hillary Lindsey while Keith Urban joined her on-stage for the induction. Hillary then performed a rendition of Lady Gaga’s “Million Reasons,” followed by a duet with Keith Urban for “Blue Ain’t Your Color.”

Missy Elliot took the stage to induct frequent collaborator and friend Timbaland, crediting the rapper and producer for “changing the cadence of hip-hop.” Timbaland claimed the induction is his best award to receive and performed a medley of music from “Big Pimpin’,” “Pony,” “SexyBack,” “Get Your Freak On,” “Drunk In Love,” “Promiscuous,” and “Suit & Tie.”

R.E.M. was the final induction of the evening, with Jason Isbell taking the stage to perform the song “It’s The End of the World As We Know It (And I Feel Fine).” The band played together for the first time in 15 years, performing “Losing My Religion.”

Diane Warren was awarded the Johnny Mercer Award at the end of the program—the highest honor bestowed by the Songwriters Hall of Fame. “Songwriting isn’t something I do, it’s who I am and what I live and breathe for every day of my life,” Warren told the audience upon accepting her award.