Allee Willis, Mellencamp, more head to Songwriters Hall

Mesfin Fekadu
Associated Press

The 2018 Songwriters Hall of Fame class will include John Mellencamp, Alan Jackson, Kool & the Gang and Jermaine Dupri, who will become the second hip-hop act inducted into the prestigious organization.

Detroit native Allee Willis will be inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame.

The Songwriters Hall said Tuesday that Detroit native Allee Willis — who co-wrote the Broadway musical “The Color Purple,” “I’ll Be There for You” (the theme song from “Friends”), as well as Earth, Wind and Fire’s “September” and “Boogie Wonderland — also will be inducted at its June 14 ceremony with country singer-songwriter Bill Anderson and Emmy- and Grammy-nominated songwriter Steve Dorff.

Dupri’s induction comes a year after Jay-Z became the first rapper to make it into the Hall. Dupri has co-written No. 1 hits like Mariah Carey’s “We Belong Together” and “Always Be My Baby,” Usher’s “Burn” and Monica’s “The First Night.” He has released his own hip-hop albums and became a popular songwriter and producer in Atlanta when he launched the record label So So Def, building careers for Jagged Edge, Kriss Kross, Bow Wow, Xscape and more.

Songwriters are eligible for induction after writing hit songs for at least 20 years.

Mellencamp was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame a decade ago and has written his own classic hits, including “Jack and Diane,” “Hurt So Good” and “R.O.C.K. in the U.S.A.”

Jackson, inducted into the Country Hall of Fame in 2017, has been a respected songwriter since his 1990 debut album. He has had 26 singles hit No. 1 on the Billboard country charts.

Kool & the Gang members Robert “Kool” Bell, Ronald Bell, George Brown and James “JT” Taylor will be inducted into the Hall.

“The 2018 roster of Songwriters Hall of Fame inductees is a prodigious representation of creators of cross-genre hits, certain to resonate with everyone,” Kenneth Gamble and Leon Huff, the organization’s co-chairs, and Linda Moran, its president and CEO, said in a joint statement. “Each year, the slate of songwriters we induct is more diverse and illustrative of the history and contributions that we strive to acknowledge and honor.”