Petition Calls for Mister Rogers’ Fred Rogers Induction into Songwriters Hall of Fame
A few days before what would have been Fred Rogers’ 94th birthday on March 20, music producer Dennis Scott and television personality Tom Bergeron (America’s Funniest Videos, Dancing With The Stars) are leading the call for Rogers, better known as Mister Rogers, to be inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame.
Using a Change.org petition, which now has over 1,100 signatures, both ask fans of Mister Rogers to sign.
Leading the Rogers induction effort is Scott, who has worked to preserve Rogers’ musical legacy and will appear with actor David Newell who played Mister McFeely on Mr. Rogers’ neighborhood from 1968 to its last episode in 2001, on an upcoming episode of the syndicated country music series Nashville Insiderwhich will begin airing on March 21.
“There continues to be a great deal of interest in the life and work of Fred Rogers,” Scott said in a statement. “Over the past few years, the world has collectively agreed that we need more Fred Rogers. Part of that is due to the ‘Won’t You Be My Neighbor? documentary, Tom’s A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood? Hanks and even my two tribute albums “Thank You, Mister Rogers: Music & Memories” and “Songs From The Neighborhood – The Music of Mister Rogers”.
“Mister Rogers – Now More Than Ever”, features interviews with Bergeron, Lee Greenwood, David Newell, Jim Brickman, Kellie Pickler and others, while her 2019 album Thank You, Mr. Rogers: Music and Memories features artists Micky Dolenz, Sandi Patty, Vanessa Williams, Jim Brickman, Jon Secada, Lee Greenwood, Rita Wilson, Tom Bergeron singing songs written by Rogers.
“If you look closely at his songs, you can see what a lyrical craftsman he was,” said Scott, who developed a deeper appreciation for Rogers’ songwriting skills after producing the two albums featuring the icon. “And his choice of chords is more complex than you would expect to hear in any ‘children’s song’. That’s the magic of Mister Rogers. He never spoke to children, musically or otherwise. His songs have messages for all ages, and his composition is as sophisticated as many of our great American writers.
Bergeron, who is also calling for Rogers to be inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame, added, “If songs are meant to move you, comfort you and enlighten you, then how was Fred Rogers not inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame already?”
Singer Sandi Patty also joins the call for Rogers’ induction. “Because there was such a low-key nature about ‘Mister Rogers’, we forget he was an incredible musician, pianist and songwriter,” Patty said. “He wrote so many great songs and I want to be one of many to say he should be in the Songwriters Hall of Fame. It’s something we can do for him. He’s done so much for us.
Throughout his career, Rogers has composed over 200 songs for television, albums and videos. “That’s why so many people believe Mister Rogers belongs in the Songwriters Hall of Fame,” said Newell, who starred on the show from 1968 until its last episode in 2001 and remained a longtime friend. of Rogers. “If I know Fred Rogers, this honor would mean the world to him because it’s recognition of his music.”
Photo: Lynn Johnson Collection: Ohio University Libraries