Robinson has writing credits on more than 4,000 songs, and was behind some of the biggest hits in Motown history. As the lead singer of the Miracles, he wrote and performed “You’ve Really Got a Hold on Me,” ”The Tracks of My Tears” and “I Second That Emotion.” He also wrote some of the Temptations’ best-known songs, including “My Girl,” ”Get Ready” and “The Way You Do the Things You Do.”
Born in Detroit, Robinson collaborated closely with Motown founder Berry Gordy, working as a producer and talent scout in addition to his songwriting duties. He was the label’s vice president for nearly 30 years.
In addition to the Temptations, he wrote for Marvin Gaye, Brenda Holloway and the Marvelettes, among others, and the Beatles, the Rolling Stones and Michael Jackson are among the artists who’ve cited him as an influence.
“His rich melodies are works of art — enduring, meaningful and powerful. And he is a master at crafting lyrics that speak to the heart and soul, expressing ordinary themes in an extraordinary way,” acting Librarian of Congress David Mao said in a statement. “It is that quality in his music that makes him one of the greatest poetic songwriters of our time.”
Robinson will accept the prize in Washington in November.
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