Smokey Robinson is sharing sources of inspiration that have created an incredible career, spanning over a half-century.
During a recent interview with USA Today to promote his new audio memoir Smokey Robinson: Grateful and Blessed, the singer referenced Marvin Gaye’s What’s Going On as his favorite album. He says the work holds a timeless message. “It's profound. If you listen to 'What's Going On' right now, it's more poignant today than it was when it came out,” he said.
Robinson shares moments between he and Gaye that cemented his connection with the album. “Marvin and I were really, really close. I'd go to his house, and he'd sit at the piano. He looked at me one day and said: ‘Hey, man. God is writing this album. I'm just sitting here because God is writing this and it's just coming out.’ When you listen to it, I believe him because it's prophetic.”
Smokey also reminisced on his legacy, and how a career defined by longevity was always an aspiration, even at a young age. “When I was a kid, I used to watch every musical variety show on TV, especially Ed Sullivan. I would see Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin and Sammy Davis Jr., and they'd all say, ‘We've been doing this for 25 years!’ And I would look at them and say, ‘Damn, how could somebody be doing something like that for 25 years?’" he marveled.
“But 65 years, man. That's amazing to me. I'm very grateful and very blessed to be able to live a life that I love like this for these many years.”
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The 80-year-old legend has been giving back during this year’s coronavirus crisis. Smokey played a one-off concert last week for the PACER Center, a Minnesota-based nonprofit aimed at helping the families of children with disabilities.