Smokey Robinson Next Recipient of the Library of Congress Gershwin Prize for Popular Song

Smokey Robinson
Paul Morigi/Getty Images for Capital Concerts

Smokey Robinson performs at A Capitol Fourth concert at the U.S. Capitol, West Lawn on July 4, 2016 in Washington, DC.  

Motown legend Smokey Robinson will be the next recipient of the Library of Congress Gershwin Prize for Popular Song. Grammy winner Robinson, whose half-century career has included dozens of top 40 hits including such classics as "Going to a Go-Go," "You've Really Got a Hold on Me," "The Tracks of My Tears," "I Second That Emotion" and "The Tears of a Clown" was described as the "poet laureate of soul" in a statement announcing the honor.

?“It gives me such joy and gratitude to be included among the past recipients of this most prestigious songwriting award,” Robinson said in a statement.

The Prize, which honors a living musician's lifetime achievement in promoting songs as a means to cultural understanding, inspiring new generations and entertaining audiences, will be handed out in Washington, D.C., in November. Previous recipients include Paul Simon, Stevie Wonder, Sir Paul McCartney, Carole King, Billy Joel and Willie Nelson. 

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"As a singer, songwriter, producer and record executive, Smokey Robinson is a musical legend," said Acting Librarian of Congress David S. Mao in a statement. "His rich melodies are works of art—enduring, meaningful and powerful. And he is a master at crafting lyrics that speak to the heart and soul, expressing ordinary themes in an extraordinary way. It is that quality in his music that makes him one of the greatest poetic songwriters of our time."

In 2007, the National Recording Registry of the Library of Congress named “The Tracks of My Tears” as one of the nation’s culturally, historically or aesthetically significant sound recordings. Robinson scored solo hits as well as chart-toppers with the Miracles while writing hit songs for Marvin Gaye, Temptations, Mary Wells and the Marvelettes and spawning covers by the Beatles (“You’ve Really Got A Hold On Me”), the Rolling Stones (“Going To A Go-Go”), Michael Jackson (“Who’s Loving You”) and The Supremes (“I Second That Emotion”).




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