The Songwriters Hall of Fame ceremony was held on Thursday, June 15 at New York’s Marriott Hotel. Musical titans Kenneth “Babyface” Edmonds, Jimmy Jam & Terry Lewis, Robert Lamm & James Pankow, Max Martin, Shawn “JAY Z” Carter and Motown Records’ founder, Berry Gordy, were all inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame.

Rhonda Ross Kendrick surprised her father and performed a soulful rendition of “To Be Loved” before welcoming music titan Berry Gordy whom she called a “guiding force,” into the Songwriters Hall of Fame. Gordy, who shared a special moment with his daughter on stage, told stories from throughout his career, adding “a song is not only a force that evokes emotion; it takes us to another time and place.”

NEW YORK, NY - JUNE 15: Rhonda Ross Kendrick poses with 2017 Inductee Berry Gordy baackstage at the Songwriters Hall Of Fame 48th Annual Induction and Awards at New York Marriott Marquis Hotel on June 15, 2017 in New York City. (Photo by Larry Busacca/Getty Images for Songwriters Hall Of Fame) *** Local Caption *** Berry Gordy; Rhonda Ross KendrickBerry Gordy with his daughter Rhonda Ross Kendrick

It may seem odd that music legend Berry Gordy isn’t already in the Hall. In fact, he is, for his publishing acumen, a lifetime achievement award, and a pioneer award. But this year’s induction, for his songwriting prowess, was the one that meant the most to him. In a long and humorous speech, Gordy, whose short list of hits include Jackie Wilson’s “Reet Petite,” Barrett Strong’s “Money (That’s What I Want)” and the Jackson 5’s “I Want You Back,” detailed how every time he was told he was being honored in prior years he would say “it’s for my songwriting, right” only to be told it was for his other skills. “It’s about time!” he exclaimed. “Most people think I got this award many years ago but that’s not the case. Songwriting is my first love and protecting that love was the motivation for everything else I did.”

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