Smokey Robinson has just signed on to appear at the January 13th Aretha! A Grammy Celebration For The Queen Of Soul concert taping at L.A.'s Shrine Auditorium. The two-hour special saluting the late-Aretha Franklin, will be broadcast on Sunday, March 10th at 9 p.m. on CBS. The celebration will be hosted by Tyler Perry and will feature previously announced performers Jennifer Hudson, Alicia Keys, John Legend, Patti LaBelle, Janelle Monae, Yolanda Adams, Shirley Caesar, Alessia Cara, Brandi Carlile, Chloe X Halle, Kelly Clarkson, Common, Celine Dion, H.E.R., SZA, and BeBe Winan. Tickets are now on sale and can be purchased at AXS.com.
Smokey Robinson spoke about Aretha Franklin, telling CBS This Morning how they met back in Detroit during the late-1940's: “We became friends because she and her family moved to Detroit when I was eight-years-old, really. And, y'know how kids are, her brother Cecil, who was my lifelong ace boon coon (laughter) until he passed, y'know, came around to just play with the guys in the neighborhood. And we went around to see his new house. We're walking through the house and I hear this little voice and a piano playing somewhere in this room. And this voice comin' — and I peak in and there's Aretha sittin' at the piano, playing and singing — almost like she did as an adult, but she was probably only about five-years-old. But that's how I first met her.”
Aretha Franklin died on August 16th, 2018 at age 76. The cause of death was a pancreatic neuroendocrine tumor.