SOURCE: ASCAP

June 02, 2006 07:15 ET

LL Cool J and Bill Withers to Be Honored at 19th Annual ASCAP Rhythm & Soul Music Awards

NEW YORK, NY -- (MARKET WIRE) -- June 2, 2006 -- The American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers (ASCAP) will honor LL Cool J and Bill Withers at its 19th Annual Rhythm & Soul Music Awards on June 26, 2006 at the Beverly Hilton Hotel in Los Angeles, CA. During the awards ceremony, LL Cool J will be presented with the ASCAP Golden Note Award and Bill Withers will receive the ASCAP Rhythm & Soul Heritage Award. The invitation-only event honors the songwriters and publishers of the most performed ASCAP songs on the 2005 R&B, hip-hop and rap charts.

Since the 1985 release of his masterful debut album, "Radio," the first Def Jam disc ever released, LL Cool J has amassed nine platinum-plus selling albums and eight gold singles. His chart-topping albums "Bigger and Deffer," "Walking With A Panther," "14 Shots To The Dome," "G.O.A.T." and "10" have spawned several Number One hit singles including "I Need Love," "I'm That Type of Guy," "How I'm Comin'," and "Luv U Better." His 12th album, "Todd Smith," was recently certified gold. He has won two Grammy Awards for his singles "Mama Said Knock You Out" and "Hey Lover," a duet with Boyz II Men, in addition to several MTV Video Music Awards, a NAACP Image Award and the Quincy Jones Award for Outstanding Career Achievements at the Soul Train Music Awards. During his 25-plus-year career he has worked with a wide array of producers including Trackmasters, The Neptunes, Rick Rubin, Marley Marl and Diddy. In addition to creating music, LL Cool J has co-starred in several films including "Any Given Sunday," "Deep Blue Sea," "In Too Deep" and "Halloween H20: 20 Years Later" as well as starring in the hit television sitcom "In the House." His autobiography, "I Make My Own Rules," was released in 1997 and his upscale clothing line was launched in 2004.

"LL Cool J is one of the most important figures in the history of hip-hop. He has weathered all the trends in the rap world and is as commercially viable today as he was when he started out in 1985," said ASCAP President and Chairman Marilyn Bergman. "We are very pleased to honor LL Cool J by adding his name to the very elite group of our Golden Note-winning songwriters and composers."

The ASCAP Golden Note Award is given to songwriters and composers who have achieved extraordinary milestones. Past recipients include Garth Brooks, Sean "Diddy" Combs, Jermaine Dupri, Jose Feliciano, Alan Jackson, Jimmy Jam & Terry Lewis, Jay-Z, Quincy Jones, Tom Petty, Michael W. Smith, Mark Snow and Stevie Wonder, among others.

Bill Withers has sung his way into the hearts of millions of fans worldwide with such memorable classics as "Ain't No Sunshine," "Grandma's Hands," "I Want To Spend the Night," "In The Name Of Love," "Just The Two Of Us," "Lean On Me," "Lovely Day" and "Use Me," to name a few. He has received nine Grammy Award nominations, and won three for Best R&B Song for "Ain't No Sunshine," "Just The Two Of Us," and for the re-recording of "Lean On Me" by Club Nouveau. He has received a Clio Award, two NAACP Image Awards and was inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame in 2005. His music and unique voice have been used in countless television and radio commercials, motion pictures and television programs, and his songs have been recorded by hundreds of artists from a variety of genres including Diana Ross, Barbra Streisand, Michael Jackson, Aretha Franklin, Liza Minnelli, Sting, Will Smith, Lionel Hampton, The Temptations, Tom Jones, Joe Cocker, Mick Jagger and Crystal Gayle, just to name a few.

"Bill's music and lyrics have extraordinary accessibility and universal appeal making him one of America's premier singer/songwriters," said Marilyn Bergman. "The ASCAP Rhythm & Soul Heritage Award is an honor that he richly deserves."

The ASCAP Rhythm & Soul Heritage Award is given to ASCAP members who have had a major impact on the legacy of Rhythm and Soul music. Bill Withers joins a select group of recipients including Peabo Bryson, Earth, Wind & Fire, Jimmy Jam & Terry Lewis, Rick James and Chaka Khan.

The 2006 ASCAP Rhythm and Soul Music Awards will also include a special presentation to ASCAP's Songwriter of the Year. Past recipients of this top honor include many of today's most celebrated talents such as 50 Cent, Kandi Burruss, Sean "Diddy" Combs, Dr. Dre, Jermaine Dupri, Jimmy Jam & Terry Lewis, Alicia Keys and Timbaland. In addition to honoring the songwriters and publishers of the most performed ASCAP songs on the 2005 R&B, hip-hop and rap charts, "Top" awards will be presented in the following categories: Publisher of the Year, Top Soundtrack Song of the Year, Top Reggae Artist of the Year, Top Ringtone of the Year, Top R&B/Hip-Hop Song, Top Rap Song and Top Gospel Song. The evening will also feature performances by several award-winning songwriters/artists.

About ASCAP

Established in 1914, ASCAP is the first and leading U.S. Performing Rights Organization representing the world's largest repertory totaling over 8 million copyrighted musical works of every style and genre from more than 240,000 composer, lyricist and music publisher members. ASCAP also represents the repertories created by the international affiliates of 70 foreign performing rights organizations. ASCAP protects the rights of its members and foreign affiliates by licensing the public performances of their copyrighted works and distributing royalties based upon surveyed performances. ASCAP is the only American Performing Rights Organization owned and governed by its writer and publisher members. www.ascap.com

MEDIA, PLEASE NOTE: For information on how to apply for credentials to cover the 19th Annual ASCAP Rhythm & Soul Music Awards, please go to ASCAP's Press Room (www.ascap.com/press), and follow the directions posted.