Sunday, 31 July 2016

Sunday July 31st, 2016 Gershwin Prize Winners

One thing I love about working in a library is that you learn something new every day. The other day a patron came into the library and asked me if I knew who Smokey Robinson was. I replied that he is a singer. This very kind gentleman, who I hope is reading this article, started to tell me more about Smokey Robinson and even made me a photocopy of an article from the Chronicle Journal so I could read more about this talented artist.

The article I’m referring to appeared in the paper on  July 6th and was about The Library of Congress presenting Robinson with the Gershwin Prize for Popular Song. Reading that this award came from The Library of Congress, I wanted to learn more so I went to the Library’s website. The Gershwin Prize commemorates George and Ira Gershwin for their dedication to song and culture. Every year the award is presented to an artist to honor their work “entertaining and informing audiences, for drawing upon the acknowledged foundations of popular song, and for inspiring new generations of performers on their own professional journeys” (  The recipient of the award is selected by the Librarian of Congress and a board of individuals with a diverse knowledge in music. The Gershwin Prize has also been presented to Willie Nelson, Billy Joel, Carole King, Burt Bacharach, Hal David, Paul McCartney, Stevie Wonder and Paul Simon.

If you are interested in listening to the music of Smokey Robinson or learning more about his life, as well as the music and life of the other award winners listed above, then head down to your Thunder Bay Public Library. Our CD collection contains music either performed and/or written by these talented artists. You can also temporarily download music from Hoopla, TBPL’s online access to thousands of movies, TV shows, audiobooks and music. For more information on how to access Hoopla go to

TBPL also has a biography section that contains works about the incredible careers of these artists. Country music legend Willie Nelson talks about his amazing life and career in his biography It's a Long Story: My Life. Written by music journalist Fred Schruers, Billy Joel: The Definitive Biography discusses everything from Billy Joel’s family history and his childhood to his award winning career as a singer and songwriter. The only female artist to receive the Gershwin Prize so far, singer and songwriter Carole King shares the details of her life from starting her musical career to her role as an activist in her book A Natural Woman: A Memoir. In his own words, songwriter and composer Burt Bacharach takes readers on an intimate journey through his life and music career in his biography Anyone Who Had a Heart: My life and Music. Fab: An Intimate Life of Paul McCartney by Howard Sounes is written using original research and interviews to put together a story of McCartney’s life before and after The Beatles.  And finally, if you only know his music with Art Garfunkel, then you may want to read Marc Eliot’s book Paul Simon: A Life which delves into Paul Simon’s music career from the beginnings to his current work as a solo artist.

You will also find biographical information on these artists and more in the Library’s online databases. Log in to My Giant Search with your library card number and PIN number and select the database Biography in Context. You will find biographies, images, audio news and more.

Lindsey Long

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