For half a century Smokey Robinson has been writing history with his songs, describing it today with friends on Smokey & Friends

For half a century Smokey Robinson has been writing history with his songs, describing it today with friends on Smokey & Friends

Great songs and good friends – legendary Smokey Robinson has invited artists, dear to the hearts of several generations of music lovers, and also his friends, to sing some of his eternal songs on the retrospective album Smokey & Friends. The earliest of the compositions on it date back to the 1960s, when Smokey Robinson was one of the most active figures on the music scene as founder, frontman and producer of The Miracles. Later on his music star shone as a soloist and also as an author for Motown (of which he was also the vice president), penning hits for Marvin Gaye and The Temptations. In 1987 he won his first Grammy Award for Best Male R&B Vocal Performance for his song Just To See Her. Later he added the Grammy Legend Award and the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award to his accolades. He was inducted to the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame and the Songwriter's Hall of Fame.

For 50 years now Smokey Robinson has been writing the history of pop music, to sum it up in 2014 with this intrinsic quality of his songs – to live forever. On Smokey & Friends he is also underlining their potential to serve as means of musical expression of artists so different as Elton John, James Taylor, Steven Tyler, Sheryl Crow, Ledisi, Mary J. Blige, Gary Barlow, John Legend, CeeLo Green, Jessie J, Aloe Blacc, Miguel, JC Chasez, thus touching the hearts of listeners of all age groups and of various interests. On all of these recordings Smokey Robinson is the “host” as well as the “guest” – obvious is his pleasure to find his place in each individual special interpretation. Some of the songs start with warm dedications to Smokey Robinson – these are words of love that history has proven are not mere compliments. John Legend refers to Bob Dylan’s description of Smokey Robinson as “America’s greatest poet”, Elton John describes as “the greatest pop song” The Tracks of My Tears that he picked to sing with its author, and adds: “He says things in five words that people take a whole page to say.” The producer Randy Jackson – yet another name of a legend, also speaks of his enthusiasm for this project.

The pleasure of the artists creating Smokey & Friends is the pleasure of the listeners, too. The other direction of the album’s emotional impact is that it reminds us great milestones of music history, that are also bright moments in our personal history of music lovers.

Release Date: 19 August 2014 from Verve

  • The album premieres today on Jazz FM.

Here you can listen to Smokey Robinson and John Legend performing Quiet Storm: