Thursday, November 14, 2013

Grammy Museum Honors Berry Gordy, Smokey Robinson

Backbeat: Grammy Museum Honors Berry Gordy, Smokey Robinson
Motown legends Berry Gordy and Smokey Robinson were the inaugural honorees of the Grammy Museum’s first annual Architects of Sound Awards gala (Nov. 11). Held at the museum and Club Nokia at the L.A. Live complex, the dinner/concert event raised more than $500,000 to support the Grammy Museum’s various initiatives including educational programs, live performances and special exhibitions.

L-R: Performers Luke James and Kelly Rowland join honoree Berry Gordy.(Photo credit: Maury Phillips,

Industry veteran and TV personality Randy Jackson hosted the affair, highlighted by performances of Motown classics from Kelly Rowland (“Dancing in the Street”), Michael Bolton (“What’s Going On”), Boyz II Men (“Tracks of My Tears”) and Luke James (dueting with Rowland on “Ain’t Nothing Like the Real Thing”). Grammy Museum executive director Bob Santelli -- who has signed on for another five years -- prefaced the performances with a segment about Motown’s enduring influence featuring the museum’s Summer Sessions Band. Several items were also auctioned. These included the lyric sheet for “Who’s Loving You,” handwritten and autographed by Robinson. It fetched $3500.

L-R: Honorees Smokey Robinson and Berry Gordy applaud the evening's performers.(Photo credit: Maury Phillips,

Presenting the awards to Robinson and Gordy were, respectively, Recording Academy president/CEO Neil Portnow and Sony Music Entertainment chairman/CEO Doug Morris. Accepting the Artist Award, Robinson said, “A new life started for me when I met Berry Gordy. I’m proud to be sharing this honor with my best friend . . . who changed the face of music.” Vision Award honoree Gordy thanked “all the artists, writers, producers and musicians who had the courage to follow me down a road that didn’t exist.”

L-R: Kelly Rowland and Michael Bolton join forces on the Motown classic, 
"Ain't No Mountain High Enough".(Photo credit: Maury Phillips,

Among the attendees spotted at the intimate gathering: Blue Note president Don Was, songwriter/producer Harmony Samuels, television producer/director Ken Ehrlich, Rowland’s co-managers Marcus Grant of The Collective and Tim Weatherspoon and Grammy-winning producer Jimmy Jam.

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