The special, which several sources confirmed to Billboard, continues the tradition of the Grammys taking advantage of the talent in town post-awards ceremony to put together an all-star tribute. Last year’s salute honored Elton John, while previous efforts have paid homage to Frank Sinatra, Stevie Wonder, The Beatles and the Bee Gees. The Motown special will be presented by CBS, the Recording Academy and AEG Ehrlich Ventures.
Offers to performers are being extended now. In the past, the participating artists have included, but not been limited to, a number of the year’s Grammy nominees.
This year’s tribute, which does not yet have an air date, comes 35 years after the landmark Motown 25: Yesterday, Today, Forever NBC television special, which featured Michael Jackson performing his patented moonwalk. A two-part 40th-anniversary special, Motown 40: The Music Is Forever, aired on ABC in 1998.
The special is expected to be among a number of celebrations to herald Hitsville’s 60th. On Saturday, the Motown Museum in Detroit, where Berry Gordy Jr. launched the label, began a three-week exhibit featuring never-before-seen artifacts from Motown’s early days.
The Motown taping also will come a month after the Sunday taping of Aretha! A Grammy Celebration at Los Angeles’ Shrine Auditorium. Hosted by Tyler Perry, the salute, which airs March 10, features Smokey Robinson, Brandi Carlile, Yolanda Adams, Common, Celine Dion, Kelly Clarkson, Alicia Keys, John Legend and Bebe Winans, among other artists.
The Recording Academy did not immediately return a request for comment.
–Assistance on this story provided by Gail Mitchell