1 of 4 | Smokey Robinson performs during a rehearsal for "A Capitol Fourth" on the West Lawn of the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C., on July 3, 2016. A live broadcast aired on July 4. Photo by Leigh Vogel/UPI | License Photo
WASHINGTON, July 5 (UPI) -- R&B music icon Smokey Robinson will be the next recipient of the Library of Congress Gershwin Prize for Popular Song.
The award honors a "living musical artist's lifetime achievement in promoting the genre of song as a vehicle of cultural understanding; entertaining and informing audiences; and inspiring new generations," a press release said.
Previous recipients are Paul Simon, Stevie Wonder, Paul McCartney, Burt Bacharach and the late Hal David, Carole King, Billy Joel and Willie Nelson.
Robinson, a 76-year-old Detroit native whose career has spanned more than 50 years, will be presented with the prize in Washington, D.C., in November. His classic songs include "You've Really Got a Hold on Me," "Ooo Baby Baby," "The Tracks of My Tears," "More Love," "I Second That Emotion," "Baby, Baby Don't Cry," "The Tears of a Clown," "Cruisin,'" "Being With You," "Just to See Her" and "One Heartbeat."
"As a singer, songwriter, producer and record executive, Smokey Robinson is a musical legend," Acting Librarian of Congress David S. Mao said in a statement Tuesday. "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."
"It gives me such joy and gratitude to be included among the past recipients of this most prestigious songwriting award," Robinson added.