Nora Guthrie, daughter of iconic troubadour Woody Guthrie, praised John Mellencamp's tenacious commitment to his musical identity during Thursday's Songwriters Hall of Fame ceremony.
Seymour, Ind., native Mellencamp entered the Songwriters Hall of Fame with six fellow inductees: Kool & the Gang, Alan Jackson, Jermaine Dupri, Bill Anderson, Allee Willis and Steve Dorff. .
Guthrie introduced Mellencamp, the no-nonsense yet good-timing rock star who outlasted comparisons to Bruce Springsteen and Bob Seger to establish a respected career. .
"John has written hundreds of meaningful, insightful and powerful songs that ripple with feelings that we all know — songs that comprise one of the most singular and important bodies of work in music," Guthrie said. "And tonight we recognize that John Mellencamp, persistently and even doggedly anchored to his own unique identity and his own unique talent, now holds his own among the great songwriters." .
Mellencamp performed "Jack & Diane" and "Longest Days" for the audience gathered at New York City's Marriott Marquis. .
According to AmericanSongwriter.com, Mellencamp told an anecdote about his late grandmother that typically accompanies his live renditions of "Longest Days." .
Nicknamed "Buddy" by his nearly 100-year-old grandmother, Mellencamp said he was surprised in his mid-40s when she prayed to God about the two of them being ready to come home. "I’m not ready, Grandma. Buddy has more sinnin’ he plans on doing,” Mellencamp recalled Thursday. She replied, "Buddy, you’re going to find out that life is short, even in its longest days." .
Mellencamp, a 2008 inductee to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, co-founded Farm Aid with Willie Nelson and Neil Young in 1985. The 66-year-old is a Grammy Award winner (1983 for "Hurts So Good") and the recipient of the Billboard Century Award (2001), Huntington's Disease Society of America's Woody Guthrie Award (2003), Americana Music Association Lifetime Achievement for Songwriting (2010) and John Steinbeck Award (2012). .
The Songwriters Hall of Fame event included special recognition for Neil Diamond (the Johnny Mercer Award), Sara Bareilles (the Hal David Starlight Award) and Universal Music Group CEO Lucian Grainge (the Howie Richmond Hitmaker Award). .
Ariana Grande and Mariah Carey made appearances to salute Grainge and Dupri, respectively. Noblesville native Steve Wariner introduced Anderson and performed a rendition of Anderson's 1960 country hit, "The Tips of My Fingers."