Smokey Robinson (L) and Berry Gordy attend the MusiCares Persons of the Year gala at the Los Angeles Convention Center on Los Angeles on Friday. Photo by Jim Ruymen/UPI | License Photo
Feb. 4 (UPI) -- Motown legends Berry Gordy and Smokey Robinson were honored as the MusiCares Persons of the Year Friday during a gala event at the Los Angeles Convention Center.
Gordy, 93, founded the seminal Detroit label Motown Records in 1959 while Robinson, 82, was his first signee as a singer and songwriter, as well as Gordy's longtime creative and business partner.
The two, who are best friends of more than 65 years, were honored by the Recording Academy nonprofit organization for both their musical and philanthropic contributions two days before the 65th Annual Grammy Awards.
"I'm happy to be here with my best friend," Gordy said as he accepted his award alongside Robinson. "I mean...damn!"
"The best friendship in the world ... you are so precious," Robinson said, later adding, "When I first met this man, it was the beginning of my dream come true."
Among the Grammy-nominated acts performing at the gala were Brandi Carlile, who sang Robinson's 1965 hit "The Tracks of My Tears," and Sheryl Crow, who performed "I Want You Back," the 1970 Jackson 5 hit co-written and produced by Gordy.
Other artists making appearances at the event included Lalah Hathaway, The Isley Brothers, Samara Joy, John Legend, Michael McDonald, Jimmie Allen, PJ Morton, Valerie Simpson, Mumford & Sons, Lionel Richie, The Temptations, Trombone Shorty, Molly Tuttle and Sebastián Yatra.
Recording Academy Lifetime Achievement Award recipients Dionne Warwick and The Four Tops also performed. Warwick delivered a version of Mary Wells' 1964 hit "My Guy," which was written and produced by Robinson, while The Four Tops -- including sole original member Duke Fakir -- did a medley of their greatest Motown hits.
Money raised from the annual gala goes toward MusiCares programs and services that assist the music community, including physical and mental health, addiction recovery, preventative clinics, unforeseen personal emergencies, and disaster relief.
Gordy and Robinson -- the first co-recipients of the Person of the Year Award -- joined a list of recent honorees including Joni Mitchell, Fleetwood Mac, Dolly Parton and Aerosmith.