OOO BABY, BABY – SMOKEY ROBINSON HONORED BY LIBRARY OF CONGRESS

OOO BABY, BABY – SMOKEY ROBINSON HONORED BY LIBRARY OF CONGRESS

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Thursday, 17 November 2016
Detroit Music Station

Smokey Robinson grew up on Belmont, just down the street from Diane Ross in Detroit’s North End neighborhood. He sang with a group called the Five Chimes which later turned into the Matadors before he met Berry Gordy in 1957- just before the formation of Motown Records. By then he had changed the name of his group again to The Miracles and he began writing and recording songs with Berry. By 1960 he produced and recorded Motown’s first big hit – “Shop Around”, selling over 1 million copies. By 1970 he had written and produced 26 top 40 hits for The Miracles becoming – by anybody’s standards – a bona fide rock star.

What some may not realize is that, during this period, he also wrote and produced hits for other Motown artists. Big hits including “My Girl”, “The Way You Do the Things You Do”, “Get Ready” and “Since I Lost My Baby” for the Temptations; “Two Lovers”, “You Beat Me to the Punch”, “The One Who Really Loves You” and “My Guy” for Mary Wells; “Don’t Mess With Bill” for the Marvelettes; and “I’ll be Doggone” and “Ain’t That Peculiar” for Marvin Gaye – to name but a few. Later he would write “First I Look at the Purse” for The Contours; “Still Water” for the Four Tops; and “Floy Joy” for the Supremes.

So it should come as no surprise that Smokey Robinson would finally be honored for his song-writing accomplishments last night when he received the prestigious Gershwin Prize by The Library of Congress. Named after song writing brothers Ira and George Gershwin, this award places Smokey in a very small and elite group of songwriters who have been bestowed with this honor: Paul Simon, fellow Motown artist Stevie Wonder, Paul McCartney, Burt Bacharach and Hal David, Carole King, Billy Joel, and Willie Nelson.

It should also come as no surprise that, of the award’s first 9 recipients, two are from Detroit. Congratulations, Smokey. We are all very proud.

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