Lady Gaga turned heads in a daring black bra and dark shorts when she arrived to pick up an award at the 46th annual Songwriters Hall of Fame ceremony in New York.
She was joined by Van Morrison, Tony Bennett and Stephen Colbert at the three hour ceremony to honour songwriters.
New inductees to the Hall of Fame included country stars Toby Keith and Bobby Braddock, the late Chicago bluesman Willie Dixon, the Grateful Dead songwriting team of Robert Hunter and the late Jerry Garcia, pop and stage star Cyndi Lauper and rock composer and performer Linda Perry.
"I still can't believe I make a living making music," Lauper said during her speech.
Morrison and Lady Gaga - who had changed into a zebra-striped suit - picked up honorary prizes, while awards also were presented to Nate Ruess and the former CEO of the American Society of Composers Authors and Publishers John LoFrumento.
At the Marriott Marquis in Times Square, admirers from across genres and generations exchanged tributes.
Veteran crooner Bennett, 88, presented Lady Gaga, his duet partner, with a Contemporary Icon Award. Gaga then performed Perry's What's Up?.
Perry said it was "crazy" that a song she dashed off in her bedroom, fighting off fleas from her dog, would be embraced by a world famous performer.
Carly Rae Jepsen faithfully sang Lauper's moody ballad Time After Time and Michael Buble crooned a finger-snapping version of Morrison's Moondance.
A segment on Dixon featured a speech by Sir Elton John's songwriting partner, Bernie Taupin, who called him the Shakespeare of the blues and noted that many bands in England in the '60s started out by playing Little Red Rooster, 'Back Door Man and other Dixon standards. Taupin credited Dixon with loading up British artists such as the Rolling Stones and Eric Clapton with great material and giving them "the wings to fly".
Morrison, the night's final act, had a more practical take. Looking like a Blues Brother in his familiar black, with dark shades to match, he noted how songwriting royalties keep the money coming in during dry spells in his career.
"So the name of the game is hustle," he said.