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Smokey Robinson: Tiny Desk Concert

Legend is a word thrown around far too often. But if there was ever an artist the word "legend" applies to, it would be Smokey Robinson. The iconic songwriter, producer and vocalist was not only a key architect of the Motown sound, but also R&B and soul music as a whole. His uncanny ability to craft tender and catchy romantic tunes has served as a model for songwriters that followed in the decades since he began his career.

1981's "Being With You" opens the Tiny Desk to immediately alert us that, at 83 years young, his sweet and sensual falsetto is present and ready to dazzle. From there, he casually introduces one of his numerous hits with The Miracles, "The Tears Of A Clown," as "one I wrote with Stevie Wonder" to the audience's delight. Robinson's pen game is still strong as he presents two tracks from his new album, Gasms. His romantic lyricism is on display in "Beside You," and the sax solo from Brandon Wright in "If We Don't Have Each Other" is a particular standout in this performance. And when he closed with "Cruisin'," the audience was more than happy to lovingly participate in "cruising together."


  • "Being With You"
  • "The Tears Of A Clown"
  • "If We Don't Have Each Other"
  • "Beside You" 
  • "Quiet Storm"
  • "Cruisin'"


  • Smokey Robinson: vocals
  • Lindsay Walker: vocals
  • Karrie Benoit-Morales: vocals 
  • Brandon Wright: saxophone, flute
  • S'von: keys
  • Gary Foote: bass
  • Tony Lewis: drums
  • Robert "Boogie" Bowles: guitar
  • Demetrios Pappas: keys, musical direction
  • Sally Gorski: violin
  • Tiffany Ibáñez-Weiss: violin
  • Lakshmi James: viola
  • Camille Johnson: cello


  • Producer: Bobby Carter
  • Director/Editor: Joshua Bryant
  • Audio Engineer: Josh Rogosin
  • Creative Director: Bob Boilen
  • Videographers: Joshua Bryant, Maia Stern, Alanté Serene, Catie Dull
  • Audio Assistant: Ted Mebane
  • Production Assistant: Ashley Pointer
  • Photographer: Estefania Mitre
  • Tiny Desk Team: Suraya Mohamed, Hazel Cills, Kara Frame
  • VP, Visuals and Music: Keith Jenkins
  • Senior VP, Programming: Anya Grundmann

Copyright 2023 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Mitra I. Arthur
[Copyright 2024 NPR]
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