Smokey Robinson and Motown Records founder Berry Gordy were honored Friday night at Musica’s Person of the Year Gala ahead of the 65th annual Grammy Awards.
The 82-year-old singer and 93-year-old retired record executive, longtime friends and collaborators, were the first dual recipients of the honor, which recognizes music industry figures for their artistic achievements and dedication to philanthropy.
The evening featured musical tributes from performers including Stevie Wonder, Lionel Richie, John Legend, Dionne Warwick, Brandi Carlyle, Sheryl Crow, Chloe and Halle Bailey, Rita Wilson, The Temptations and Mumford & Sons.
“In my life, I’ve been blessed enough to receive a few awards, but this is really, really, really probably the most special to me because I’m receiving this award tonight with my best friend in the world,” according to The Hollywood Reporter, at the star-studded Los Angeles Convention Center. Robinson told the crowd.
Smokey Robinson and Motown Records founder Berry Gordy were honored Friday night at Musica’s Person of the Year Gala ahead of the 65th annual Grammy Awards. (Fraser Harrison/Getty Images)
He continued, “Because of him, not just me, but you’ve seen a lot of people here tonight who have been able to do what they’ve been able to do because of him. I’m standing here tonight because when I first met this guy, that was my beginning. Dreams come true.”
Smokey Robinson, Berry Gordon honored as next year’s Musicians Person of the Year
Smokey Robinson and the Miracles was the first act Berry signed to Motown Records after its founding in 1959. During his speech, the “Being With You” hitmaker recalled his first meeting with Gordy, who gave him songwriting advice.
“The seeds were planted that day for one of the best friendships in history,” Robinson said. “I love you, man, you’re so kind. I’m proud to call you my best friend, it’s one of the proudest things in my life.”
The Grammy Award winner went on to perform “Did You Know,” which she wrote as a tribute to her friendship with Gordy.
“I’m happy to be here with my best friend, I mean, damn it!” Dr. Gordy when going on stage.
Robinson paid tribute to his “very best friend” Gordy in his speech. (Getty)
Crowe expressed his excitement for performing the Jackson 5 hit “I Want You Back” in an interview with Fox News Digital on the red carpet before the event.
“Not going to lie, kind of nerve-racking,” she said. “But I’m excited about it. And they asked me to do the song even though they already heard me do it for them at the White House. So I’m honored to be here to honor them, and I’m really excited. I feel like it’s so full circle.”
The singer first performed the song in May 2011 at the “In Performance at the White House: The Motown Sound” tribute to the music of Motown Records.
He explained why he previously told People magazine that he was “a little shocked” after his Rock and Roll Hall of Fame nomination.
“I knew I was qualified, but you don’t really expect things like this,” Crowe said. “You know, I don’t know. I’m still a little shocked, and it’s a great class. So I think I’m a long shot. But still, I’m very honored.”
Wilson, who performed a duet with Marvin Gaye and Kim Weston’s Sebastian Yatra of “It Takes Two,” told Fox News Digital that he thought it was “pretty amazing” to have two of Motown’s biggest legends in attendance.
“Especially because that music was completely specific to my generation and was influential in the kind of music I liked and responded to,” he said. “And so many of them are performing here tonight, which is fantastic. So it’s great to be here singing for him and celebrating him and Barry tonight.”
Wilson mentioned that she and Jatra have a new duet, titled, “It Takes Two.”
“He’s magic,” he told Fox News Digital.
Wilson also weighed in on his musical idols, telling Fox News Digital, “There’s really a lot of ways.”
He continued, “I think any singer songwriter, people like Smokey, who wrote over 4,000 songs, Carole King, Joni Mitchell, Stevie Nicks, Carly Simon, James Taylor, Stevie Wonder, Diana Ross out there. Dionne Warwick. I mean. , his style was so incredible. So I love that we were exposed to so many different music and so many genres growing up with AM radio, and it really meant being exposed to all that music and developing your own musical taste.”
The actress attended the event with her husband Tom Hanks.
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“He’s been chatting with Jimmy Allen because we have a song together too,” he said.
Dionne Warwick, who attended the event with her son Damon Elliott, told Fox News Digital that it was “delighted to honor these two men.”
He continued, “These two guys are very dear friends of mine and have been for a long time, so of course, I’m thrilled to be asked to be a part of it.”
Ahead of the event, The Temptations gave Fox News Digital a little taste of what to expect from their performance as they sang “My Girl” on the red carpet.
“It means as much to us as God allows us to get up every day so we can celebrate two wonderful people, Berry Gordy and Smokey Robinson,” founding member Otis Williams told Fox News Digital.
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He continued, “You know, when we started, we never had any inclination that we’d be celebrating them 60 years later. So it’s a special thing that it’s only by the grace of God that we’re still here. And anyone who knows the history of The Temps. , you know I’ve been through a lot of different people, but I’ve got four people that I can count on. And we deliver the message that the world knows and loves and hopes is Temptation.
Proceeds from the gala benefit MusiCares, the Recording Academy’s charity that provides a safety net of critical health and welfare services to the music community.
Ashley Hume is an entertainment writer for Fox News Digital. Story tips can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org and on Twitter: @ashleyhume
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