Robinson will be the ninth Gershwin honoree, an award that celebrates artists whose works not only entertain but also promote cultural understanding, inform audiences and inspire new generations.
“As a singer, songwriter, producer and record executive, Smokey Robinson is a musical legend,” said Acting Librarian of Congress David S. Mao. “His rich melodies are works of art — enduring, meaningful and powerful.”
Mao described Robinson as “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.”
Robinson’s “The Tracks of My Tears” was named to the library’s National Recording Registry in 2007 as one of the nation’s culturally, historically or aesthetically significant sound recordings. The musicians joins a list of Gershin honorees that includes Paul Simon, Stevie Wonder, Paul McCartney, songwriting duo Burt Bacharach and the late Hal David, Carole King, Billy Joel and Willie Nelson.
In selecting its annual honorees, the librarian consults leading members of the music and entertainment communities, as well as curators from the library’s music division and other departments.