There's probably no more instantly recognizable voice in popular music than that of William "Smokey" Robinson. His high, pure vocals have been popping out of radios and myriad other music devices for more than half a century.
His voice is so gorgeous that it tends overshadow his accomplishments as a songwriter. He wrote or co-wrote some of the greatest songs of his era, from "Ooh Baby Baby," "The Tracks of My Tears" and "The Tears of a Clown" from his years when he fronted the Miracles to "Cruisin' " and "Being With You" from his solo albums. Then there's the songs for other artists, including "My Guy," which was a huge hit for Mary Wells.
The Beatles, the Rolling Stones, Linda Ronstadt and countless others have recorded cover versions of his hits.
Robinson will be bringing his sweet soul music to the Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall this evening.
Robinson's recording career dates back to the early 1960s -- the Miracles' 1960 hit "Shop Around" was the first No. 1 record for Tamla, the label that became Motown -- and it's still continuing. Just last month he signed with Verve Music Group, and later this year he'll release a duets album featuring him singing some of his best and best-known songs with selected contemporary singers.
Details: 8 p.m. April 10, Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall, 777 N. Tamiami Trail, Sarasota. Tickets: $30-$95. Information: 941-955-7676 or vanwezel.org.
-- Marty Clear