“It’s the songwriter, that’s what it’s all about,” Mr. Brooks said. “I mean, this is it. We can talk all day about [the] entertainer. We can talk all day about record sales. It starts with the songs. And to be confused as a songwriter, then honored as one, that’s the bomb.”
Mr. Jackson and Mr. Brooks are members of the so-called “Class of ‘89” group of country superstars. Their success over the past two decades helped push country music from the county fair to major arenas and football stadiums.
Mr. Brooks, inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame in New York City earlier this year, is the best-selling solo artist in U.S. history, with more than 128 million albums sold. Songs like “If Tomorrow Never Comes” and “The Thunder Rolls” helped launch his career.
Mr. Jackson, who helped spearhead the new traditionalist movement in country, has 35 No. 1 country songs, including “Chattahoochee” and “Where Were You (When the World Stopped Turning),” which Taylor Swift sang for him Sunday.
“I’ve won a lot of awards, but the songwriting thing has always been most important to me,” Mr. Jackson said. “I’ve never thought of myself as much of a singer, so I’ve always fell back on my songwriting. It’s the most creative part of the business. It all starts with the songs.”
Mr. Jackson and Mr. Brooks were inducted as songwriter-artists. Mr. Brooks said straight songwriter inductees such as Mr. Bettis (“Slow Hand,” “Human Nature” and “Top of the World,” Mr. Schuyler (“16th Avenue” and “Long Line of Love”) and Mr. Shamblin (“The House That Built Me” and “I Can’t Make You Love Me”) were the real stars of the night.
“I can go in that room and show you the guys I hang out with, and all of them are songwriters,” Mr. Brooks said. “And to be called that with these guys, because their talent is amazing, makes me very proud. I’m not saying I agree with it, but I’m very proud.”
400 attend memorial service for Elizabeth Taylor
Colin Farrell, Michael Caine and Elton John joined family and friends of Elizabeth Taylor Sunday during a private memorial service for the Oscar-winning star, the Associated Press reports.
Son Michael Wilding told the 400 people gathered in a theater at the Warner Bros. studio lot in Burbank, Calif., that it was especially meaningful to have so many friends on hand to celebrate his mother’s spirit.
Taylor, who won best-actress Oscars for “Butterfield 8” and “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?” was 79 when she died on March 23 of congestive heart failure in Los Angeles.
Spokeswoman Sally Morrison said Mr. Farrell hosted the service, which featured memories of the violet-eyed beauty.