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Smokey Robinson (Photo of Smokey Robinson)

Smokey Robinson

To hear Smokey Robinson shine his way through his "The Tears of a Clown" is to understand a lovely, perfect moment in American music. A Detroit native and the very soul of Motown, a singer's singer, a poet's own poet, everyone's giving, loving clown—do these begin to describe the miracle that is Smokey Robinson- Fellow Kennedy Center Honoree Bob Dylan once rapturously called Robinson "America's greatest living poet." That is an unguarded, disarmingly emotional response to a musician whose emotions never fail to ring true. Think not only of his lyrics to "Tears of a Clown," but also of "The Track of My Tears," "Shop Around," "You've Really Got A Hold On Me," "My Guy," "The Way You Do the Things You Do," "Get Ready," "It's Growing," "I Second That Emotion," "Sweet Harmony," "Baby Come Close," "Baby That's Backatcha," "I Am I Am," "The Agony And The Ecstasy," "Open," "Quiet Storm," and "Let Your Love Shine On Me." Impressive by any standards as a string of hits, taken together they add up to a body of work that has transformed and defined American music across any pop, soul, R & B, or Rock and Roll divide.