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President's Cabinet Award



The mere mention of your name evokes vivid memories of a time when an entire town thrilled to your music.  As a singer, songwriter, and producer in the 1960’s, you captured the souls of thousands of people happily marching them down a new musical path.  Your widespread success was a triumph for you, as well as the fledgling recording company which transformed this city from an auto town to Motown.  With your ambition, drive and talent you carved a niche for yourself in the music industry, leaving footholds for younger musicians along the way.  Your success was a symbol of the coming age of an entire generation of blacks and whites, united for once under the common umbrella of your music.  In the performing group, Smokey Robinson and the Miracles, you were instrumental in the success of Motown, founded by fellow Detroiter and friend Berry Gordy.  Motown’s first nationally distributed single, “Shop Around,” simultaneously became your first hit single, and began a streak of musical hits lasting more than a decade.  The many familiar titles which followed were played for countless hours on radios and record players around the country and danced to by hundreds of couples.  Yet, in your life, you have done more than make music.  You have helped mark the passing of an era and become an historical force, setting a new standard for music, one which was understood and loved by everyone.

Award was presented at the President’s Cabinet Annual Awards Dinner, May 19, 1984.

University of Detroit

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