Smokey Robinson will be the next recipient of the Library of Congress Gershwin Prize for Popular Song. Robinson, whose half-century career has included dozens of top 40 hits including such classics as “Going to a Go-Go,” “You’ve Really Got a Hold on Me,” “The Tracks of My Tears,” “I Second That Emotion” and “The Tears of a Clown” was described as the “poet laureate of soul” in a statement announcing the honor.
The Prize, which honors a living musician’s lifetime achievement in promoting songs as a means to cultural understanding, inspiring new generations and entertaining audiences, will be handed out in Washington, D.C., in November. Previous recipients include Paul Simon, Stevie Wonder, Sir Paul McCartney, Carole King, Billy Joel and Willie Nelson.
In 2007, the National Recording Registry of the Library of Congress named “The Tracks of My Tears” as one of the nation’s culturally, historically or aesthetically significant sound recordings. Robinson scored solo hits as well as chart-toppers with the Miracles while writing hit songs for Marvin Gaye, Temptations, Mary Wells and the Marvelettes and spawning covers by the Beatles (“You’ve Really Got A Hold On Me”), the Rolling Stones (“Going To A Go-Go”), Michael Jackson (“Who’s Loving You”) and The Supremes (“I Second That Emotion”).