Backbeat: Bill Clinton Honors John Sykes, Perry Farrell Introduces Citi’s Jennifer ‘Breitwhite’ Breithaupt @ TJ Martell Gala, Raises $1.4 Mil For Cancer Research

Bryan Adams, Sting, President Bill Clinton and John Sykes at the T.J. Martell Foundation's 38th Annual Honors Gala at Cipriani 42nd Street on October 22, 2013 in New York City. 

(Photo: Kevin Mazur/WireImage for T.J. Martell Foundation)

“I’ve gotten used to the same invitation – ‘John, it would be great to have you join us. Can you bring a band?”

That was John Sykes, president of Clear Channel Entertainment Enterprises, accepting his award for Lifetime Industry Achievement at the 38th Annual T.J. Martell Foundation Gala in New York Tuesday night, just before introducing performers Sting and Bryan Adams. Sykes was one of five honorees that night, which included Carrie Underwood (Artist Achievement Award), Citi’s senior VP of entertainment marketing Jennifer Breithaupt (Spirit of Music Award), Steiner Sports CEO Brandon Steiner (Humanitarian of the Year) and Target Corporation (Spirit of Excellence Award).

Tony Martell, Carrie Underwood and John Sykes (Photo: Getty Images for T.J. Martell Foundation)

John Sykes was honored by Former President Bill Clinton, and thanked the former president for his efforts in lowering the cost of cancer and AIDS drugs by 90% in a landmark deal with the heads of the top pharmaceutical companies in 2003. “He did that after he left the White House. Just think what he can accomplish when he gets back in,” Sykes said to much applause.

Bryan Adams sang hit ballad “Heaven,” Sting performed “Fields of Gold” and the two rockers teamed for their first performance of 1994 hit "All For Love" in nearly 20 years (albeit sans third singing partner Rod Stewart.) For a grand finale, they paired for The Police’s “Every Breath You Take.” The artists performed partly in tribute to legendary A&M Records executive Gil Friesen, who helped develop both Sting and Adams, and passed away at the end of 2012 of leukemia.

This year's gala raised $1.4 million for cancer research, helping the T.J. Martell Foundation raise over $250 million in its 38-year history. “When I started this Foundation with several of my peers in the music and entertainment business in honor of my son T.J., I wanted to do all that I could to make sure other families would not have to suffer the way my family did,” said Tony Martell, Founder & Chairman of the T.J. Martell Foundation.

Citi's Jennifer Breithaupt
(Photo by Theo Wargo/Getty Images for T.J. Martell Foundation)

Other event highlights included Lollapalooza co-founder Perry Farrell presenting Citi’s Breithaupt with the Spirit of Music Award, praising her and Citi’s ability to “make sure the music comes first” in its marketing campaigns and tour sponsorships. However, Farrell stumbled on the pronunciation of Breithaupt’s name, introducing her as “Jennifer Breitwhite.” Speaking to Billboard after the ceremony, Breithaupt laughed and insisted Farrell was nervous and had practiced her name 10 times before the presentation to make sure he got it right. Sometimes even seasoned musicians have trouble with public speaking.

Big Machine CEO Scott Borchetta presented Target’s Anne Stanchfield, the retailer’s divisional merchandise manager for entertainment, who accepted the Spirit of Excellence Award the company’s behalf. Borchetta appeared not only in person, but in a star-studded video in which he and the Big Machine roster sung the retailer’s praises, featuring appearances by Taylor Swift (whose “Red” is the biggest-selling new release in Target history), Florida Georgia Line, Cassadee Pope, The Band Perry, Reba McEntire and Rascal Flatts.

The gala was a who’s who of the music biz, from Sony/ATV chairman Martin Bandier to Sony Music CEO Doug Morris to Island Def Jam chairman Barry Weiss to Republic Records co-president Monte Lipman and exec VP Charlie Walk. Also spotted: Ketchum Sports & Entertainment exec VP Marcus Peterzell, MAC Presents president Marcie Allen, Clear Channel Connections president Greg Glenday, Glassnote president Daniel Glass and legendary music manager Peter Katsis.