Smokey Robinson

Dec. 17
8 p.m.
Pop, R&B, Singer-Songwriter, Soul

As a singer, songwriter, producer, Motown exec, and all-around creative force, Smokey Robinson has had a profound influence on popular music. The Miracles were formed in his Detroit high school, then racked up hit after hit through the ’60s, his distinctive, soulful falsetto and poetic turns of phrase etching the rocky paths of happiness and heartache. “Shop Around” helped establish Motown Records with its first chart-topping hit in 1960. What followed are now icons, including “You’ve Really Got a Hold on Me,” “Ooo Baby Baby,” and so many others. At the same time, Robinson wrote a succession of gems for other Motown artists, including Marvin Gaye’s “Ain’t That Peculiar” and the Temptations’ “My Girl.” At 76, Robinson has a voice that’s still miraculously supple and expressive. Already a member of the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, Robinson last month was awarded the Library of Congress Gershwin Prize for Popular Music. An all-star tribute concert was recorded for broadcast on PBS in February. Host Samuel L. Jackson’s key quote: “If we want to make America great again, we should make people walk around singing Smokey Robinson songs.”