ASCAP (the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers) will honor music legend Smokey Robinson with the prestigious ASCAP Rhythm & Soul Heritage Award during its 22nd Annual Rhythm & Soul Music Awards, it was announced today by President and Chairman Paul Williams.Â The invitation-only event will take place on June 26, 2009 at the Beverly Hilton Hotel in Los Angeles, California, and will also honor the songwriters and publishers of the most performed ASCAP songs on the 2008 R&B, hip-hop and rap charts.
The ASCAP Rhythm & Soul Heritage Award is given to ASCAP members who have had a major impact on the legacy of Rhythm and Soul music.Â Past honorees include Earth, Wind & Fire; Jimmy Jam & Terry Lewis and Bill Withers.
"Smokey is one of the most gifted and influential artists of our time.Â His superb accomplishments as a songwriter and performer, a founding member of the Miracles and his association with Motown Records have helped write a significant and enduring chapter in American musical history," said Williams.Â "We are very pleased to pay tribute to Smokey by adding his name to the very elite group of ASCAP members who have received this honor."
William â€œSmokeyâ€ Robinson is one of the most significant and enduring songwriters and performers to have emerged from the early 1960s Motown explosion.Â Robinson and the vocal group he led, the Miracles, were among the most prolific hit makers on the Motown label from 1960 to 1972, scoring on the Pop and R&B charts with such classics as â€œShop Around,â€ â€Youâ€™ve Really Got a Hold on Me,â€ â€œThe Tracks of My Tears,â€ â€œGoing to a Go-Go,â€ â€œTears of a Clown,â€Â â€œI Second That Emotionâ€ and â€œOoh, Baby, Baby,â€ among many others.Â Robinson wrote or co-wrote nearly all of those songs, and wrote and produced many more hits for fellow Motown artists, including Marvin Gaye (â€œIâ€™ll Be Doggone,â€ â€œAinâ€™t That Peculiarâ€), Mary Wells (â€œMy Guy,â€ â€œYou Beat Me to the Punchâ€), The Temptations (â€œThe Way You Do the Things You Do,â€ â€œMy Girlâ€) and the Marvelettes (â€œDonâ€™t Mess with Bill,â€ â€œThe Hunter Gets Captured by the Gameâ€).Â As a solo artist, he was a mainstay of what became known as â€œThe Quiet Stormâ€ format and earned major hits as writer and performer of â€œCruisinâ€™â€ and â€œBeing with You.â€Â He remains active as a touring and performing artist and has been honored with induction into the Songwriters Hall of Fame and the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, the ASCAP Founders Award, the Songwriters Hall of Fame Johnny Mercer Award, a Kennedy Center Honor, and two stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame â€“ as a solo artist and a member of the Miracles.
The 22nd Annual Rhythm & Soul Music Awards celebration will also feature a special presentation of ASCAP's highly coveted Songwriter of the Year award to the songwriter with the most award-winning songs of 2008.Â Past recipients of this top honor include 50 Cent, JohntÃ¡ Austin, Mary J. Blige, Kandi Burruss, Sean "Diddy" Combs, Dr. Dre, Jermaine Dupri, Jimmy Jam & Terry Lewis, Alicia Keys and Timbaland.Â Special awards will also be presented to Publisher of the Year, Top R&B/Hip-Hop Song, Top Rap Song and To Gospel Song.Â The evening will feature performances by several award-winning songwriter/performers. For more information visit www.ascap.com.