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Last Updated: Friday, 8 June 2007, 10:58 GMT 11:58 UK
Parton honoured for songwriting
Dolly Parton
Parton said writing music was her "private time with God"
Country legend Dolly Parton has picked up an award for songwriting, in honour of hits like Coat Of Many Colours and I Will Always Love You.

The singer, already a member of the US Songwriters' Hall Of Fame, was given the association's Johnny Mercer Award for her skills as a composer.

"Throughout my career, I've been known for two things," joked the 61-year-old star. "My music and my lyrics".

Rock singer Jackson Browne and R&B star John Legend also received honours.

Browne, whose hits include Stay and Running On Empty, was inducted into the Hall of Fame alongside Irving Burgie, best known for writing Harry Belafonte's Day-O.

Michael Masser, who wrote Touch Me in the Morning for Diana Ross, and songwriting team Bobby Weinstein and Teddy Randazzo also joined the Hall of Fame.

Don Black
British lyricist Don Black was honoured for songs like Ben
Born Free and Diamonds Are Forever lyricist Don Black was the final inductee, while Grammy award-winner Legend received the Hal David Starlight Award for young songwriters.


Black, from London, said the award meant "more to me than you can imagine".

"When I was growing up in the east of London as a little boy, all my heroes were the people who are on this invitation."

He also discussed his oddest commission - being asked to write the lyrics for a song about a rat.

"I said: 'You can't write about a rat!' I mean, I'm not going to use words like cheese," he laughed.

"I thought the best thing to do is write about friendship."

The song, Ben, was performed by Michael Jackson and went on to become a UK top 10 hit in 1972.

Jackson Browne
Jackson Browne is known for his political protest songs
Parton, who estimates she has written more than 3,000 songs, performed her hit single 9 to 5 at the award ceremony in New York.

"I would always give up everything before I give up the writing," she said.

"It is my favourite thing to do. That's when I feel closest to God even when the songs I'm writing are just God-awful."

The Songwriters Hall of Fame, a branch of the National Academy of Popular Music, was founded in 1969 to celebrate and promote songwriting talent.

Previous inductees include Carole King, Paul Simon, Bob Dylan, Billy Joel, Elton John, Bernie Taupin, Brian Wilson, James Taylor, James Brown, Hal David and Burt Bacharach.

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