Jack Tempchin will be in very elite company when he is inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame in June in New York City. The other 2019 inductees — all of whom were announced Saturday morning — include Cat Stevens, John Prine, Tom T. Hall, Dallas Austin and Missy Elliott, who is the first female hip-hop artist to ever win the prestigious honor.
Tempchin was on the ballot, which was announced in November, for the first time.
“I’m flabbergasted,” said the lifelong San Diego resident, who is best known for writing the Eagles’ hit “Peaceful Easy Feeling” and co-writing another Eagles’ classic, “Already Gone.”
“I thought it was a billion to one. I had no idea I had a chance to win, after seeing all the people who are in the Hall of the Fame and the people who were nominated just for this year. I can’t believe it! For one thing, I’m going to get to meet these people (at the induction ceremony) and that will be fantastic. I’m absolutely thrilled just being on the same list as them.”
Just how formidable the competition Tempchin faced may be best illustrated by the 2019 nominees who did not earn enough votes for induction. They include, among others, Mariah Carey, Vince Gill, Jimmy Cliff, Chrissie Hynde of The Pretenders, Mike Love of the Beach Boys and the storied songwriting team of Dan Penn and Spooner Oldham.
Altogether, more than two-dozen nominees were on the 2019 Songwriters Hall of Fame ballot. Votes are cast exclusively by professional songwriters, who belong to the organization, including Tempchin. He joined the organization in 2012, never dreaming he’d ever be nominated for induction, let alone be voted into it.
“I found out about two weeks ago and they told me not to tell anybody. I told my wife and son, and that’s it. I didn’t even tell my manager,” Tempchin, 71, said in a Friday phone interview from his Encinitas home.
“Before this, I’d never been nominated for anything. The only award I’ve received was the (2002) San Diego Music Awards’ Lifetime Achievement Award — and that’s not voted on; they just pick somebody.”
The Songwriters Hall of Fame was founded in 1969. Artists become eligible for induction 20 years after the commercial release of a song they wrote or co-wrote.