Pre-Grammys MusiCares Gala Goes Motown

Maybe it was the opportunity for so many in the music industry to comfortably share the same room again. Maybe it was the soul-stirring beats. Or maybe it was just the infectious exuberance of the two men who’ve been embodying the term bromance since long before bromance was a thing.

Whatever the case, the celebration of Motown founder Berry Gordy and legendary Motown songwriter and artist Smokey Robinson—who share one of the most aspirational friendships in entertainment history—as MusiCares Persons of the Year was a joyous affair. Smiles were abundant throughout the room, though none more bright than those emanating from the two honorees themselves.

The event, held February 3 at the Los Angeles Convention Center, marked the first time the annual Grammy weekend gala to benefit the Recording Academy’s philanthropic arm feted two music luminaries at once.

The dynamic duo brought out both Motown family members—Stevie Wonder, Lionel Richie, The Temptations with original member Otis Williams, The Four Tops and the Isley Brothers among them—and other artists including Brandi Carlile, Mumford & Sons, Dionne Warwick, Sheryl Crow, Michael McDonald, Jimmie Allen, Chloe x Halle, John Legend, Rita Wilson, Sebastián Yatra and Trombone Shorty to remind us why the sign on the original Motown headquarters and recording studio in Detroit read “Hitsville USA.”

The audience also packed its share of notable fans. Elton John, Tom Hanks, Nancy and Paul Pelosi and John McEnroe were among those spotted in the crowd, who enjoyed dinner entrees accompanied by two selections from Robinson’s wine company: My Girl Chardonnay and Being With You Pinot Noir.

The performances kept coming for nearly three hours. Among standouts were a soulful rendition of “Tracks Of My Tears” by Carlile, who seemingly can do no wrong when it comes to a tribute moment; The Temptations’ show-opening medley including “Ain’t Too Proud To Beg” and “My Girl” that reminded us of Motown’s other signature elements—stylish dress and stylish dance moves; Allen and Valerie Simpsons’ duet on “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough”; Mumford’s interpretation of “Money”; and Warwick’s smooth and sassy “My Guy,” a nod to the 1964 Mary Wells Motown hit.

And the admiration was palpable for Gordy, 93, who in 1957 with an $800 loan from his family formed Motown after he recognized the best way to be paid for his songwriting was to produce music himself, and the label’s first signee Robinson, 82, who walked in the door with a notebook filled with songs and whom Gordy decided on the spot to mentor.

As Robinson recounted from the stage toward the end of the night, “That day the seed was planted for the best friendship in history.” He then performed “Did You Know (Berry’s Theme),” a song he wrote for Gordy.

Interspersed among the songs were video clips featuring artist testimonials that reminded guests why we were there.

Since 1991, money raised from the gala goes toward MusiCares programs and services that assist the music community with physical and mental health, addiction recovery, preventative clinics, unforeseen personal emergencies and disaster relief. MusiCares has dispersed $37 million during the pandemic, said Steve Boom, Vice President of AmazonAMZN
Music and current MusiCares chairman of the board.

Previous MusiCares honorees include Aerosmith, Aretha Franklin, Elton John, Quincy Jones, Joni Mitchell, Dolly Parton, Bruce Springsteen and Stevie Wonder.

Source link

Tags: No tags

Add a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *