It features talents such as Elton John (on The Tracks Of My Tears), Mary J.Blige (Being With You) and Gary Barlow (Get Ready), and it features Jessie J (Cruisin’).“And for them to donate their time to come and sing with me,” he continues, “I’m gonna be totally flattered and happy with that.And for them to sing with one of my songs – most of them are songwriters themselves …In any case, as is the modern way of things, all of the duets were done remotely, Smokey in one studio at one time, James Taylor, Imelda May, Sheryl Crow, John Legend et al in various others at various other times.At Motown in the Sixties there was fierce competition among the singers and songwriters over who would get to sing whose song, but here that wasn’t really an option.Smokey Robinson has written some of the most beautiful and tender pop songs of the modern age, but he didn't get where he is today by being soft.When he first met Berry Gordy – the man who would found Motown, with Smokey standing right alongside him from day one – Gordy rejected all but two of the dozens of compositions in the young writer’s notebook.
It’s a collection of duet versions of some of his greatest hits.
Did he have power of veto over who sang what, or who sang at all? The album’s producer was Randy Jackson, the American Idol judge.
He chose the artists, and Smokey wouldn’t dream of saying no to, say, Aerosmith singer Steven Tyler rocking out on You Really Got A Hold On Me.
Smokey, now 74, wasn’t offended; he could take the criticism.
How else do you get better, to the extent that you can write classics such as My Girl, The Tears Of A Clown, The Way You Do (The Things You Do) and countless more?