Days before what would have been Fred Rogers’ 94th birthday on March 20, music producer Dennis Scott and TV 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 more than 1,100 signatures, both are asking fans of Mister Rogers to sign.
Leading the effort for Rogers’ induction is Scott, who has worked to preserve the musical legacy of Rogers and will appear with actor David Newell who played Mister McFeely on Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood from 1968 through its final episode in 2001, on an upcoming episode of the syndicated country music series Nashville Insider, which will begin airing on March 21.
“There is still plenty of interest in the life and work of Fred Rogers,” said Scott in a statement. “Over the last few years, the world has collectively agreed that we need more Fred Rogers. This is due in part to the ‘Won’t You Be My Neighbor?’ documentary, Tom Hanks’ A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood’ film, and even my own 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 his 2019 album Thank You, Mister Rogers: Music & 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 tunes 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 are more complex than one might expect to hear in any “children’s” song. That’s the magic of Mister Rogers. He never talked down to kids—musically or otherwise. His songs have messages for all ages and his composing 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 has Fred Rogers not been inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame already?”
Singer Sandi Patty also joins the call for Rogers’ induction. “Because there was such an understated nature about ‘Mister Rogers,’ we forget that he was an incredible musician, piano player, and songwriter,” said Patty. “He has written so many great songs and I want to be one of the many to say that he ought to be in the Songwriters Hall of Fame. That’s something we can do for him. He’s done so much for us.”
Throughout his career, Rogers composed more than 200 songs for television, albums, and video. “That’s why so many people believe that Mister Rogers belongs in the Songwriters Hall of Fame,” said Newell, who starred on the show from 1968 through its final episode in 2001 and remained a lifelong friend of Rogers. “If I know Fred Rogers, this honor would mean the world to him because it’s a recognition of his music.”
Photo: The Lynn Johnson Collection: Ohio University Libraries