Motown’s 60th anniversary year is highlighted in a TV special set for broadcast April 21 on America’s CBS network, with performances by Stevie Wonder, Smokey Robinson and Diana Ross, among others, and by guests including John Legend, Meghan Trainor and Ne-Yo.
Hosted by Robinson with Cedric The Entertainer, Motown 60: A Grammy Celebration also features contributions from Boyz II Men, Martha Reeves and Thelma Houston, as well as from songwriters Eddie and Brian Holland, Lamont Dozier and Valerie Simpson, and Motown’s first A&R man, William “Mickey” Stevenson.
Additional guests include Ciara, Little Big Town, Pentatonix, Tori Kelly, Chloe x Halle, and Fantasia. Legend interprets Marvin Gaye’s “What’s Going On” and “Mercy Mercy Me (The Ecology)” in the show, while Pentatonix join Robinson in performing the Miracles’ “Shop Around,” and Ne-Yo sings the Jackson 5’s “I’ll Be There.”
The international broadcast of Motown 60: A Grammy Celebration will follow later this year.
Wonder’s set includes “Sir Duke,” “Higher Ground” and “Signed, Sealed, Delivered I’m Yours,” while Robinson’s spot includes “The Tracks Of My Tears” and “The Tears Of A Clown,” and Ross sings “Theme From Mahogany (Do You Know Where You’re Going To)” as well as Billie Holiday’s “Good Morning Heartache” and “My Man.”
The TV special was taped Feb. 12 at the Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles, where Motown founder Berry Gordy told the audience of his “dream” to make music for all people. “I want to thank all of you fans, and your parents, and their grandparents, all around the world,” he declared. “I could say their great grandparents, but that would make me older than I want to be.” Gordy turns 90 in November.