Like a dash to the finish line, pop stars have been hurrying lately to record albums of pop standards. The latest entry comes from Motown legend Smokey Robinson, whose own hit songs were partly inspired by the Great American Songbook.
One of Smokey Robinson's earliest musical memories was of listening to his mother's collection of B.B. King, Sarah Vaughan and Billy Eckstein records. But, Smokey was also drawn to the golden era of swing, a time when a singer was called a crooner, the song was king, and composers George Gershwin and Cole Porter were all the rage.
By the time Smokey Robinson arrived at Motown Records in 1959, he was already well-versed in pop songwriting, a talent that impressed Motown founder Berry Gordy, Jr., so much he appointed Smokey Vice President of the rising Detroit label. At age 20, Smokey embarked on a career that has produced more than 70 Top 40 hits as both a soloist and as the leader of The Miracles. Over the course of five decades he's written thousands of songs, earning him the title "America's poet laureate of love."
After all these years, Smokey decided it was time to pay tribute to some of his favorite composers and the songs that made him eager to perform. "Tea For Two" was one of those songs. "You Go To My Head" was another.
Smokey Robinson interprets a dozen pop classics on his album Timeless Love, leaving room for one original titled "I Love Your Face." Maybe someday it will included in the Smokey Robinson Songbook.