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Tag: Smokey Robinson (1-9 of 9)

Today in 'What the Franco?': James records duet with Smokey Robinson

It’s the mark of an evolving life to learn at least one new thing every day.

Today, we learned that James Franco has recorded a duet with Smokey Robinson. The two met on a plane, Robinson told Page Six, and basically said “Why the heck not?” Robinson confirmed, “It’s as simple as that. There’s no deep dark secret.” READ FULL STORY

Smokey Robinson, Sheryl Crow, Jamie Foxx, 'Glee' cast members to perform at White House Motown tribute for Black History Month

As reported often, President Obama loves of a variety of music. This being Black History Month, though, the White House will host a musical tribute to Motown Records on Feb. 24, USA Today reports.  Motown icon and lead singer of the Miracles, Smokey Robinson will headline the event, scheduled to air nationally March 1 on PBS.

Sheryl Crow, Jamie Foxx, Natasha Bedingfield, John Legend, Nick Jonas, Seal, Gloriana and Jordin Sparks are also scheduled to perform, as are Glee‘s Amber Riley and Mark Salling. Will you be tuning in? Let us know.

(Follow the Music Mix on Twitter: @EWMusicMix.)

Smokey Robinson: SXSW's best all-around entertainer?

smokey-robinsonImage Credit: Tim Mosenfelder/Getty Images Walking across town to Smokey Robinson’s concert at Austin Music Hall last night, I was anticipating something like chapter two of the SXSW keynote interview he’d given the morning before. Another opportunity to stand in a room with the man who penned some of Motown’s — all popular music’s — most enduring hits. A second chance to pay my respects to a 70-year-old veteran. The kind of show where you clap thoughtfully after each song, not holler in ecstatic appreciation. My mistake. I hadn’t even realized I’d been underestimating Robinson, but man, last night is the last time I’ll ever do that. What he gave us on that stage was a master class in no-gimmicks entertainment that would put artists a third his age to shame.

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SXSW: Smokey Robinson charms with keynote Q&A

When you’re Smokey Robinson, all you need to do is walk into a room to get a standing ovation. Sure enough, the great singer-songwriter received a hero’s welcome when he showed up shortly after 11 A.M. today at an Austin Convention Center auditorium for SXSW’s keynote event.

Interviewer Dave Marsh opened the session by noting that — appropriately enough for SXSW — the Motown architect is now an indie artist, having put out last year’s Time Flies When You’re Having Fun as the first release on his own Robso Records.  So how’s life as the head of an independent label? “Man, I’ll tell you, it’s a whole lot more than I bargained for,” Robinson admitted. “It’s a lot of work.”

Robinson is a natural storyteller, and the best parts of the Q&A came when he shared his well-worn memories of a life in music. He’s got plenty of those, going all the way back to his childhood. “Where I grew up, I didn’t think [a successful music career] was possible,” he said. “I grew up in the hood in Detroit. That was my impossible dream.” Robinson was still a high school student when he met Motown founder Berry Gordy at an audition, “quite by accident, or fate, or something.” The Miracles (then calling themselves the Matadors) didn’t get the gig, but they did form a lasting relationship with Gordy, who encouraged Robinson to hone his songwriting: “You’ve gotta stop going north in the first verse and south in the second,” Robinson recalled being told. Soon he was writing and performing No. 1 hits with the Miracles like 1960’s “Shop Around” (below) — a classic tune that he says he penned in just 25 minutes. Scattered applause followed Robinson’s mention of “Shop Around.” Without missing a beat, he turned to the crowd and deadpanned, “Thank you both,” drawing laughter and much more enthusiastic clapping.

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Grammy rehearsals, day three: Bon Jovi (with Jennifer Nettles) and a tribute to Michael Jackson

The final day of Grammy rehearsals is upon us! Oh, it seems only yesterday that I was fighting to get through security in time for Zac Brown’s rehearsal, but no, that was Thursday. Oh, the memories!  (You can read our coverage of previous days here.)

It was a slow Saturday at Staples for me, since only a few acts were scheduled before I had to head home and get gussied up for tonight’s Clive Davis bash. I’ll have full coverage of that star-studded event tomorrow, but for now, read on for the scoop on Bon Jovi (with Sugarland’s Jennifer Nettles) and the Michael Jackson tribute from Celine Dion, Jennifer Hudson, Carrie Underwood, Smokey Robinson, and Usher. Sadly, I was bounced from the room before Beyonce could rehearse, but I’ll say this: She is using the whole stage. READ FULL STORY

Rock and Roll Hall of Fame 25th anniversary concert: Bruce Springsteen, Stevie Wonder, Simon and Garfunkel, Crosby, Stills and Nash and so many more

The listed headliners alone were enough to justify outrageous ticket prices for the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame’s first 25th anniversary concert at NYC’s Madison Square Garden last night: Crosby, Stills & Nash, Simon & Garfunkel, Paul Simon solo, Stevie Wonder, and Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band can all fill arenas by themselves. Yet they weren’t even half the talent in the room. As each of those top-billed acts brought out one legendary friend or forebear after another to jam on stage, a truly epic event took form. (Check out a full set list after the jump.) By the end of the night — which was actually 1:30 this morning — the performers had succeeded at a goal that the Hall of Fame itself only sometimes reaches: They had presented a convincing rock canon, a rich history that’s still living and breathing in the present tense.

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Smokey Robinson sings 'Tears of a Clown': watch it, and put a smile on your face

Smokey Robinson is undeniably one of the all-time singing greats. But I had sort of lost track of current events Smokey-wise until I read my colleague Simon Vozick-Levinson’s recent, excellent, q&a with the Motown legend in which he talked, amongst other things, about the death of his “little brother” Michael Jackson.

Robinson hits a happier note (a bunch of them actually) on the clip below, which is a new web exclusive from Late Night with Jimmy Fallon and finds him performing his hit, “Tears of a Clown,” with the Roots.  And if that doesn’t put a smile on your face, then I don’t know what will.

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New Basement Jaxx ft. Sam Sparro video, ‘Feelings Gone’: Watch it here
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Smokey Robinson speaks on his new album, 50 years in the music industry, and his friend Michael Jackson

Speaking only for myself, I first became aware of Smokey Robinson as the guest star in a memorable Sesame Street skit. It wasn’t long before I learned that the guy dancing with the letter-U puppet was one of the greatest singers and songwriters of all time — a talent whose influence on contemporary pop and soul music would be difficult to overestimate.

Today, 50 years after scoring his first national hit as leader of the Miracles, Robinson is still going strong. With his latest solo album, Time Flies When You’re Having Fun, due to arrive on Aug. 25, he called the Music Mix to chat last week. Read on after the jump for Robinson’s thoughts on his new music, the Motown legacy, his five decades of industry experience, and the loss of his dear friend Michael Jackson.

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Smokey Robinson blasts 'atrocious' media coverage of Michael Jackson and his family

Just over a month after Michael Jackson’s tragic death, Motown great Smokey Robinson continues to mourn the man who was like a younger brother to him. During a phone chat with the Music Mix today, the legendary singer-songwriter shared his thoughts on recovering from the shock of losing Michael — and why the news media has made that process harder for him.

“I’m getting better, and I’m sure that we’re all getting better,” says Robinson. “But it’s hard to let it rest, because the news media’s not letting it rest. Every day you turn on the TV and you hear something about it: ‘Now they’re thinking about arresting the doctor.’ And I think it’s a shame what they’ve done about [Jackson’s] kids, talking about the DNA, who’s the real sperm donor, and blah, blah, blah. Those are kids, man. And Michael was their dad. No matter what comes up about the DNA, Michael was their father. So for them to do that, to run those kids through the mill like that, is atrocious as far as I’m concerned. It’s a ridiculous thing. They’re not thinking about [the fact] that these are kids that they’re doing this to, and what impact it’s going to have on their lives. They just want people to listen to whatever thing they’re doing. It’s a shame. So I haven’t had a chance to totally recover, because all this stuff is still going on.”

Stay tuned next week for a full Q&A with Smokey Robinson about his upcoming album Time Flies When You’re Having Fun, the 50th anniversary of the Motown label, and more. In the meantime, what do you think of his point about the media circus surrounding Jackson’s children?

More about Michael Jackson:
Michael Jackson: Hear an unreleased track
Pepsi responds to Michael Jackson accident footage
Michael Jackson talks Bad, price of fame in unreleased 1987 interview
Michael Jackson: The truth about his “final” photo shoot
Michael Jackson tribute: Who should perform?

Photo credit: Nick Spanos

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