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WEEKND, ARIANA SALUTE GRAINGE AT SONGWRITERS GALA

The Weeknd spoke and Ariana Grande sang “No Tears Left to Cry” to honor Sir Lucian Grainge at the Songwriters Hall of Fame induction ceremony, where he received the Howie Richmond Hitmaker Award.

Neil Diamond, who received the Johnny Mercer Award, led an emotional rendition of "Sweet Caroline" to close out the show. Diamond, diagnosed with Parkinson's in January, barely spoke at the ceremony at the Marriot Marquis Hotel in New York City.

In his acceptance speech, Grainge recounted his history in music publishing, the record biz and listening to his father’s whistling. As for today's songwriters, he said, “For those who think that much of the music produced today lacks melody or composition, I’d encourage you to keep listening. Trust me, a few decades from now, the best songwriting will still hold its own, just as The Sex Pistols, Run DMC, The Clash or Public Enemy do today, a generation after the establishment dismissed them as unlistenable.”

Most inductees performed their classics . John Mellencamp did “Longest Days” and “Jack and Diane,” Alan Jackson sang “Where Were You (When The World Stopped Turning),” Bill Anderson performed “Still” and Kool & The Gang delivered “Celebration” after Leon Bridges performed “Get Down on It” to honor the band’s Robert “Kool” Bell, Ronald Bell, George Brown and James “JT” Taylor.

Usher, Mariah Carey and Chad Elliott  inducted Jermaine Dupri,  who performed a medley of “Live and Die for Hip Hop” and “Jump.” Fantasia performed “I Just Fall In Love” by Steve Dorff, who, after being inducted by his son, actor Stephen Dorff, played his own “Through The Years.”  Brandon Victor Dixon sang an energetic medley of “Neutron Dance” and “September” before inducting Allee Willis.

Sara Bareilles sang “She Used to Be Mine” after receiving the Hal David Starlight Award.

After the ceremony, Grainge was seen writing lyrics for a title track to Fifty Shades of Grey 4.

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