After a proposed amendment to the Constitution is passed by Congress, three-fourths of states must approve it for it to go into effect. But when the Library of Congress is concerned, one singular librarian is able to call the shots.
And Acting Library of Congress Librarian David Mao has announced that Motown singer Smokey Robinson will be the next recipient of the Library of Congress Gershwin Prize for Popular Song.
The 76-year-old performer rose to fame in the 1960s with his Motown group the Miracles, known for the 1960s hit ‘Shop Around’, which became Motown’s first single to gross a million dollars.
As a producer and songwriter, Robinson was the creative force behind many Motown classics, which he wrote for groups including The Temptations, Marvin Gaye, Brenda Holloway, Mary Wells, and The Marvelettes.
His music went on to inspire music groups of all genres. The Beatles, The Supremes, The Rolling Stones, and even the King of Pop, Michael Jackson — in addition to countless lesser-known bands — all recorded covers of Robinson’s hits throughout their careers.
Robinson retired from The Miracles in 1972 and decided to pursue a solo career a year later. During his long musical career, he has added more than 4,000 songs to his repertoire.
David Mao explained the reasoning behind his choice.
“As a singer, songwriter, producer and record executive, Smokey Robinson is a musical legend. 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. It is that quality in his music that makes him one of the greatest poetic songwriters of our time.”
This honor just adds to Robinson’s list of accomplishments. The Grammy award winner boasts the NARAS Lifetime Achievement Award, the presidential National Medal of Arts Award, the BET Lifetime Achievement Award, and the Grammy Living Legend Award.
Robinson will receive the award in November. He joins the likes of Billy Joel, Stevie Wonder, Paul McCartney, and Willie Nelson.