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Mariah Carey, Neptunes, Lennox in Songwriters Hall of Fame

NEW YORK (AP) – After a glittering career stuffed with No 1 hits – not to mention a two-year pandemic delay – Mariah Carey was finally inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame on Thursday, but not before challenging her new fellow members to do better by women.

“I read that out of the 439 total inductees into the Songwriters Hall of Fame, only 32 have been women, until now,” she said on Thursday at the end of a four-hour celebration at the Marriott Marquis in New York. The line got a huge applause.

Carey was the headliner, following the inductions of the weirdly cool producers the Neptunes, the British electro-pop band Eurythmics, psychedelic bluesman Steve Miller and the iconic Isley Brothers. Special guests included Smokey Robinson, Leslie Odom Jr Questlove, Jon Batiste and Usher.

Songwriters are eligible for induction after writing hit songs for at least 20 years and the hall includes such iconic songwriters as Burt Bacharach, Missy Elliott, Paul McCartney, Bruce Springsteen, Paul Simon, Billy Joel and Carly Simon. New annual slates are voted on by the membership. St Vincent kicked off the night with a blistering cover of Eurythmics’ Sweet Dreams (Are Made of This).

She later came to the podium to recount the time she first caught a glimpse on MTV when a “beautiful, orange-haired androgynous creature appeared wearing a suit and tie.”

Mariah Carey in New York. PHOTO: AP

That was Annie Lennox, who with Dave Stewart led the New Wave charge in the 1980s.

“They were scary, they were sexy, they were smart and they were impossibly cool,” St Vincent said.

The Eurythmics then reunited for a rendition of Here Comes the Rain Again. Lennox, looking out at the audience, said everyone had gone through so much during the past few years. “I feel like it’s a miracle that we’re here tonight,” she said.

Bryan Cranston introduced his friend Miller, who perfected a psychedelic blues sound with such hits as Take the Money and Run, Abracadabra, The Joker, Jet Airliner and Jungle Love.

Miller took to the stage for a spacy, effect-heavy version of his hit Fly Like an Eagle. Cranston jokingly called Miller “the space cowboy himself”.

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