Bob Dylan once referred to Smokey Robinson as "America's greatest living poet." Though many often countered that Jim Morrison was the rightful owner of that title, the argument hasn't been made since Morrison croaked in 1971. And so Dylan was right Robinson was one of the reasons Motown enjoyed its massive success, commercially and artistically. He not only sang with that velvety, plaintive tenor but Robinson produced and wrote great songs for the Miracles (making the charts 25 times throughout the '60s) and for Marvin Gaye and the Temptations ("My Girl"). When the '80s dawned and most soulsters were consigned to the nostalgia circuit, Robinson reached new heights with the lustrous "Being With You." But even the '80s were a long time ago, and Robinson's still crooning well into the '00s just like his buddy Bobby.
Smokey Robinson performs Wednesday, September 20, at the Hard Rock Live, 5747 Seminole Way, Hollywood. Doors open at 7 p.m. Tickets cost $45 to $75. Call 954-523-3309, or visit www.ticketmaster.com.