Detroit, MI – Legendary Detroit native, Smokey Robinson, a founding pillar of the Motown movement, will receive the Library of Congress’ 2016 Gershwin Prize for Popular Song.
“His rich melodies are works of art — enduring, meaningful and powerful,” acting Librarian of Congress David S. Mao said in a statement. “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.”
Previous recipients of the prize include Sir Paul McCartney, Willie Nelson, Stevie Wonder, Paul Simon, and Billy Joel. Robinson said in a statement, “It gives me such joy and gratitude to be included among the past recipients of this most prestigious songwriting award.”
Robinson has been a mainstay in the music industry for over fifty now, starting with his 1961 hit, “Shop Around” with the Miracles. He has been a pioneering recording artist, composer, and producer. He also served as vice president and talent scout with Berry Gordy’s Motown Records.
During the course of his exciting and fruitful career, Robinson has received the presidential National Medal of Arts Award, and the BET Lifetime Achievement Award. He has also received Kennedy Center Honors, the Grammy Living Legend Award, and the NARAS Lifetime Achievement Award. In 1987 he was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as a solo artist, followed in 1989 by induction into the Songwriter’s Hall of Fame. In 2012 he was again inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, this time with The Miracles.
The award ceremony will take place in Washington D.C. in November.