Earlier today (Jan 23), the National Association of Music Merchants (NAMM) honored legendary Motown artist Smokey Robinson with their highest honor, the ‘Music for Life’ award.
Robinsons signature voice is remembered from countless hits while performing as Smokey Robinson and the Miracles. Some might argue whether he was a better songwriter, or singer – but one things for sure, five decades later his music has endured and progressed right along with the times.
At the 2014 NAMM Show’s Breakfast of Champions, NAMM president and CEO Joe Lamond welcomed the beloved writer, producer, and performer, whom Bob Dylan once called ‘America’s greatest living poet.’
“So much of what we at NAMM stand for is exemplified in the career and life of the legendary Smokey Robinson,” Lamond said. “His influence on musicians, producers, writers and even sound engineers continues to be profoundly felt today. He is a symbol of creativity and a beacon of inspiration to many. His music is authentic and emotionally real, and it is his ability to touch so many people with this talent that makes Smokey Robinson a true ambassador for music.”
NAMM’s “Music for Life” award recognizes individuals and organizations that demonstrate support for and exemplify NAMM’s vision that the joy of making music is a precious element of daily living for everyone. Past recipients have included Stevie Wonder, Yoko Ono, Quincy Jones, as well as members of Congress, governors, business leaders, the Smithsonian, and Sesame Workshop.
A native of Detroit, Robinson found success early on as a founding member of The Miracles. The group’s success, and Robinson’s considerable vision and influence helped Berry Gordy establish Motown Records as a tidal force in the world of popular music. As vice president of Motown Records, Robinson served as in-house producer, talent scout and songwriter, penning hits for the Miracles as well as acting as writer and producer for The Temptations, Mary Wells, Rick James, Marvin Gaye and others. His accomplishments set the stage for an entire genre of dynamic performers and led a musical revolution that defined the sound of an era.
Robinson will release a duets LP in 2014, which will include a line-up of all-star duet partners performing some of his most beloved classic songs with him.
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Photo Credit: Jesse Grant/Getty Images for NAMM