Detroit, MI — Detroit native Smokey Robinson — who helped launch the legendary Motown label with some of the nation’s most culturally significant recordings — is the ninth person to win the Library of Congress’ Gershwin Prize for Popular Song.
“As a singer, songwriter, producer and record executive, Smokey Robinson is a musical legend,” Acting Librarian of Congress David S. Mao said Tuesday in a statement announcing Robinson's selection. “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,” Mao continued. “It is that quality in his music that makes him one of the greatest poetic songwriters of our time.”
Robinson will be feted as the 2016 Gershwin Prize winner in ceremonies in Washington, D.C., in November. Previous winners have included Paul Simon, the first honoree; fellow Motown legend and Saginaw native Stevie Wonder; former Beatle Paul McCartney; Hal David and Burt Bacharach; Carole King; Billy Joel; and Willie Nelson.
The Gershwin Prize was established in 2007 to honor “living musical artists whose lifetime contributions in the field of popular song exemplify the standard of excellence associated with George and Ira Gershwin, by promoting the genre of song as a vehicle of cultural understanding; entertaining and informing audiences; and inspiring new generations.”
(Bron: Motown Museum)