Berry Gordy, Smokey Robinson Honored at 2023 MusiCares Gala

The Los Angeles Convention Center transformed into Hitsville USA on Friday night (February 3) with the 32nd Annual MusiCares Person of the Year Benefit Gala honoring Motown Records icons Berry Gordy and Smokey Robinson. Two and a half hours of performances thanks to a dynamic line-up of Grammy winners and current/past nominees including Stevie Wonder, Lionel Richie, John Legend, Dionne Warwick, Sheryl Crow and Chloe Halle. The tribute elicited many standing ovations, especially Jimmy Allen.

Musical director Greg Phillinganes and the house band have officially kicked off the process with an evocative version of The Contours’ “Do You Love Me” and “Going to a Go-Go” by Robinson’s group The Miracles. . Then the night turned off and got underway as the Temptations took over the stage with his signature dance routine and an evocative medley of some classics. Can’t Get Next to You” and “My Girl”. Their performance saw multiple standings of the night from a star-studded audience that included Elton John, Rep. Nancy Pelosi and her husband Paul, Tom Hanks, Gayle King, Nile Rodgers and Richie Sambora. – elicited the initial applause and raucous singing of the ovation. Above all.

Also lighting up the stage and the audience’s memories are ex-Motown acts The Four Tops (“Baby I Need Your Loving”, “It’s the Same Old Song”, “Reach Out”). ) was a performance by [I’ll Be There]’, ‘I can’t help myself [Sugar Pie, Honey Bunch]”), The Isley Brothers (“This Old Heart of Mine”), Richie and Wonder. Before continuing with his fan-favorite “Easy,” Richie said:

Wonder performed solo on the early Miracles song “I’ll Try Something New,” which was co-produced by Robinson and Gordy. He then teamed up with the band for a reggae arrangement of “The Tears of a Clown”, a song he co-wrote with Robinson. Recalling his early days at Motown, Wonder said: Let’s keep it real…he said, you can play, but you can’t really sing. When the audience laughed, Wonder added that he once told Robinson, “I can sing better than you.” Closing in earnest, he told both Gordy and Robinson: thank you I love you. “

Adding to the tribute’s magical quotient was the diverse group of artists chosen to put their own spin on the Motown sound. Crowe mesmerized the audience with the Jackson 5’s hit “I Want You Back,” while Legend and her three female singers harmonized sweetly on another Jackson 5 gem, “I’ll Be There.” rice field. Legend said she is the son of her parents who love Motown. “When my father wanted to flirt with my mother, he started singing.” At this point, Legend mimics his father’s song, “I’ve got sunshine on a cloudy day” (the beginning of “My Girl”). I sang the lines of

Songwriter/producer Valerie Simpson partnered with Allen on “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough,” one of the many hits she and late husband Nicholas Ashford crafted at Motown. Mumford & Sons once again wowed crowds with Barrett Strong’s gem and a slowed-down, bluesy take on Motown’s first hit, “Money (That’s What I Want).” Warwick nodded at “My Guy.” Additional performances included Trombone Shorty (“Shotgun”), Michael McDonald (“Lonely Teardrops”), Rita Wilson and Sebastian Yatra (“It Takes Too”), Brandi Carlyle and the Hanseros Twins (Rivet-like “My Tear Trail”). , PJ Morton and Lara Hathaway (“Ain’t Nothing Like the Real Thing”), Chloe x Halle (“Baby Love”).

The trio currently nominated for Best New Artist rounded out the performances with DOMi & JD Beck (“All I Do Is Think of You”), Molly Tuttle (“The One Who Really Loves You”), Samara Joy (“Ain”). Joy’s version of the jazzy, smoky Marvin Gaye classic, coupled with her velvety vocals, sparked another hilarious applause led by John who stood up first. It was Gordy, Robinson himself who the camera caught singing along, grinning broadly, and raising his arms at various intervals.

The most touching moment came when Robinson took the stage to pay tribute to his longtime mentor and best friend, Gordy. “In my life, I have been blessed enough to win several awards,” he began. I stand here tonight because the first time I met this man was the beginning of my dream come true.I want to be a singer, I wanted to be in show business, I wanted to write songs, I wanted to make music, I never thought it would be possible from where I grew up, but he took me under his wing. I took you to… I love you, you are so precious.

After performing “Did You Know,” a ballad Robinson wrote about Gordy and their friendship, Recording Academy CEO Harvey Mason Jr. presented the pair with the Person of the Year award — This is the first duo to have such honor. “I’m happy to be here with my best friend,” Gordy, the feisty 93-year-old, who was seen dancing to “Get Ready” as all the performers returned for the finale, briefly said. Told.

As the philanthropic arm of The Recording Academy, MusiCares’ annual benefit gala honors musicians’ artistic achievements in music and dedication to philanthropy. Proceeds from the gala, which includes a silent auction of various musical memorabilia and other items, will be an essential support for MusiCares as it continues to provide music professionals with health and personal services for their diverse needs.

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