Smokey Robinson

Rock & Roll Hall of Famer

Category: Performer

Inducted in: 1987

Inducted by: Daryl Hall and John Oates

Nominated in: 1986   1987

First Eligible: 1986 Ceremony


Inducted into Rock Hall Revisited in 1988 (ranked #57) .


Essential Songs (?)WikipediaAmazon MP3YouTube
Cruisin' (1979)

Smokey Robinson @ Wikipedia

Smokey Robinson Videos

Comments

38 comments so far (post your own)

What is the explanation from the Rock Hall for not inducting Smokey Robinson and the Miracles as Smokey Robinson and the Miracles? Did Smokey Robinson record albums as Smokey Robinson before he recorded albums as Smokey Robinson and the Miracles?

The Supremes, The Temptations, The Four Tops, and Gladys Knight and The Pips were all inducted. Why are The Miracles being treated like Wings, The Silver Bullet Band, The E Street Band and The Revolution, and not being treated like the Pips?

Posted by Roy on Monday, 09.8.08 @ 10:59am


1961 - The first year The Miracles charted a single as The Miracles

1963 - The first year The Miracles charted an album as The Miracles

1967 - The first year the group charted as Smokey Robinson & the Miracles on both the albums and singles charts. 1967-1987 - That's only 20 years, not 25 years!!

1973 - The first year Smokey Robinson chart on both the singles and albums charts as a solo artist, and he was inducted in 1986. That's 13 years, not 25 years!!

It is still not clear if a Miracles induction will be in the main performers category and include Smokey Robinson, which would make the Rock Hall look stupid for not inducting them as the Miracles in the first place in 1987, or if the Miracles will be inducted without Smokey Robinson in either the main performers category or the sidemen category, which would look stupid as well!!

Posted by Roy on Sunday, 02.28.10 @ 09:29am


The Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame biography

Smokey Robinson (vocals; born February 19, 1940)

Save for founder Berry Gordy, no single figure has been more closely allied with the Detroit-based recording empire known as Motown than William “Smokey” Robinson. In addition to leading the Miracles, Robinson served as a Motown producer, songwriter, talent scout and Gordy’s most trusted confidant and right-hand man.

”He reminded me of me - so excited and passionate about his music,” Gordy wrote in his autobiography, To Be Loved. Robinson’s Miracles were the second act signed to Gordy’s management and production company. Everything at Motown was a family affair in those days. The Supremes (first known as the Primettes) wound up auditioning at Motown because Diana Ross was a neighbor of Robinson’s, and Primettes guitarist Marv Tarplin became an accompanist, arranger and cowriter in the Miracles.

Smokey Robinson and the Miracles scored twenty-seven pop-soul hits at Motown between 1960 and 1971, including the classics “You’ve Really Got a Hold on Me,” “Mickey’s Monkey,” “Going to a Go-Go” and “I Second That Emotion.” They also explored the sweeter side of soul with a string of exquisite ballads sung by Robinson in a satiny falsetto. The Miracles’ brightest moments on record - “Ooh Baby Baby,” “The Tracks of My Tears” and “The Tears of a Clown” foremost among them - still kindle memories for those who came of age in the Sixties.

The Miracles began as the Matadors, a five-member harmony group who sang original songs by the prolific, teenaged Robinson. Their lineup included Robinson, Ronnie White, Warren Moore, and siblings Bobby and Claudette Rogers. The Matadors charmed Gordy at an impromptu audition, and the renamed group’s first single ("Got a Job” b/w “My Mama Done Told Me") was released on Robinson’s eighteenth birthday in 1958. The Miracles’ first hit, “Shop Around,” established Gordy’s Tamla label on the national scene and paved the way for Motown’s family of labels and artists. “Shop Around,” which had a rawer, bluesier feel than much of the Miracles’ later work, sold a million copies in early 1961.

Smokey Robinson and the Miracles were founded upon devotion and constancy. The Miracles recorded on Tamla through 1976, and Robinson remained allied with Motown’s original imprint as a solo artist through the mid-Eighties. Robinson married Claudette Rogers in 1959, and their union lasted twenty-seven years. She withdrew from the Miracles’ touring lineup in 1965, leaving them a quartet, but continued to sing on every Miracles record until Robinson’s departure from the group in 1972.

Robinson’s words mingled sincerity and eloquence, often describing love with unique metaphors. Bob Dylan once pronounced him America’s “greatest living poet.” As a singer, Robinson could evoke joy, sadness and their bittersweet combination with his velvety high tenor. Legend has it that audience members would break into tears when Robinson and the Miracles sang “The Tracks of My Tears.” Even the notoriously hard-to-please Berry Gordy proclaimed the song a masterpiece. It also presaged another tear-streaked classic, “The Tears of a Clown,” which in 1970 became the Miracles’ first Number One pop hit. The period 1963 to 1966 found the group operating at a creative and commercial peak, including the release of their best album, the hit-filled Going to a Go-Go.

Excluding compilations, Smokey Robinson and the Miracles released fifteen albums for Motown,. On his own Robinson recorded sixteen albums for Tamla and Motown. He also wrote and produced for numerous other Motown artists, including Marvin Gaye ("Ain’t That Peculiar,” “I’ll Be Doggone"), the Temptations ("Get Ready,” “The Way You Do the Things You Do,” “My Girl"), Mary Wells ("My Guy,” “You Beat Me to the Punch") and the Marvelettes ("Don’t Mess With Bill,” “The Hunter Gets Captured by the Game").

In July 1972, Robinson parted ways with the Miracles, and both entities enjoyed continued success. Robinson’s biggest solo hits - “Cruisin’” (#4) and “Being With You” (#2) - came in the late Seventies and early Eighties. A fixture at Motown, he served as vice-president until the company’s sale to MCA in 1988. He remained with the label as an artist for two more years after that. In the late Eighties he beat an addiction to cocaine, documented in his autobiography In My Life. After Motown, Robinson continued to record, re-emerging on Motown in 1999 with Intimate. The born-again singer released his first gospel album, Food for the Spirit, in 2004.

Posted by Roy on Monday, 05.10.10 @ 08:04am


THE 1987 ROCK AND ROLL HALL OF FAME
THE 1990 SONGWRITERS HALL OF FAME
THE 2001 VOCAL GROUP HALL OF FAME
THE 2006 KENNEDY CENTER HONORS
THE 2009 HOLLYWOOD WALK OF FAME


THE 1987 ROCK AND ROLL HALL OF FAME BIOGRAPHY

Smokey Robinson (vocals; born February 19, 1940)

Save for founder Berry Gordy, no single figure has been more closely allied with the Detroit-based recording empire known as Motown than William "Smokey" Robinson. In addition to leading the Miracles, Robinson served as a Motown producer, songwriter, talent scout and Gordy's most trusted confidant and right-hand man.

"He reminded me of me - so excited and passionate about his music," Gordy wrote in his autobiography, To Be Loved. Robinson's Miracles were the second act signed to Gordy's management and production company. Everything at Motown was a family affair in those days. The Supremes (first known as the Primettes) wound up auditioning at Motown because Diana Ross was a neighbor of Robinson's, and Primettes guitarist Marv Tarplin became an accompanist, arranger and cowriter in the Miracles.

Smokey Robinson and the Miracles scored twenty-seven pop-soul hits at Motown between 1960 and 1971, including the classics "You've Really Got a Hold on Me," "Mickey's Monkey," "Going to a Go-Go" and "I Second That Emotion." They also explored the sweeter side of soul with a string of exquisite ballads sung by Robinson in a satiny falsetto. The Miracles' brightest moments on record - "Ooh Baby Baby," "The Tracks of My Tears" and "The Tears of a Clown" foremost among them - still kindle memories for those who came of age in the Sixties.

The Miracles began as the Matadors, a five-member harmony group who sang original songs by the prolific, teenaged Robinson. Their lineup included Robinson, Ronnie White, Warren Moore, and siblings Bobby and Claudette Rogers. The Matadors charmed Gordy at an impromptu audition, and the renamed group's first single ("Got a Job" b/w "My Mama Done Told Me") was released on Robinson's eighteenth birthday in 1958. The Miracles' first hit, "Shop Around," established Gordy's Tamla label on the national scene and paved the way for Motown's family of labels and artists. "Shop Around," which had a rawer, bluesier feel than much of the Miracles' later work, sold a million copies in early 1961.

Smokey Robinson and the Miracles were founded upon devotion and constancy. The Miracles recorded on Tamla through 1976, and Robinson remained allied with Motown's original imprint as a solo artist through the mid-Eighties. Robinson married Claudette Rogers in 1959, and their union lasted twenty-seven years. She withdrew from the Miracles' touring lineup in 1965, leaving them a quartet, but continued to sing on every Miracles record until Robinson's departure from the group in 1972.

Robinson's words mingled sincerity and eloquence, often describing love with unique metaphors. Bob Dylan once pronounced him America's "greatest living poet." As a singer, Robinson could evoke joy, sadness and their bittersweet combination with his velvety high tenor. Legend has it that audience members would break into tears when Robinson and the Miracles sang "The Tracks of My Tears." Even the notoriously hard-to-please Berry Gordy proclaimed the song a masterpiece. It also presaged another tear-streaked classic, "The Tears of a Clown," which in 1970 became the Miracles' first Number One pop hit. The period 1963 to 1966 found the group operating at a creative and commercial peak, including the release of their best album, the hit-filled Going to a Go-Go.

Excluding compilations, Smokey Robinson and the Miracles released fifteen albums for Motown,. On his own Robinson recorded sixteen albums for Tamla and Motown. He also wrote and produced for numerous other Motown artists, including Marvin Gaye ("Ain't That Peculiar," "I'll Be Doggone"), the Temptations ("Get Ready," "The Way You Do the Things You Do," "My Girl"), Mary Wells ("My Guy," "You Beat Me to the Punch") and the Marvelettes ("Don't Mess With Bill," "The Hunter Gets Captured by the Game").

In July 1972, Robinson parted ways with the Miracles, and both entities enjoyed continued success. Robinson's biggest solo hits - "Cruisin'" (#4) and "Being With You" (#2) - came in the late Seventies and early Eighties. A fixture at Motown, he served as vice-president until the company's sale to MCA in 1988. He remained with the label as an artist for two more years after that. In the late Eighties he beat an addiction to cocaine, documented in his autobiography In My Life. After Motown, Robinson continued to record, re-emerging on Motown in 1999 with Intimate. The born-again singer released his first gospel album, Food for the Spirit, in 2004.

TIMELINE

February 19, 1940: William "Smokey" Robinson is born in Detroit, Michigan.

1955: Smokey Robinson forms a group - first named the Matadors, then the Miracles - at Detroit's Northern High School.

February 19, 1958: "Got a Job," the first single by the Miracles, is released on the End label. Its release coincides with leader Smokey Robinson's eighteenth birthday.

November 7, 1959: Smokey Robinson marries fellow Miracle Claudette Robinson. The marriage will last twenty-seven years and yield two children, Berry and Tamla.

October 15, 1960: "Shop Around," credited to "The Miracles (featuring Bill "Smokey" Robinson)," is released. The first national hit for Berry Gordy's Tamla label, it tops the R&B chart for eight weeks.

June 16, 1961: Hi We're the Miracles, the first album by the Smokey Robinson-led group, is released.

November 2, 1962: The first live "Motortown Revue," featuring such Motown artists as the Miracles, opens in Boston.

December 29, 1962: "You've Really Got a Hold On Me," by the Miracles, enters R&B chart, where it will become the group's second Number One R&B hit.

March 6, 1965: "My Girl," written by Smokey Robinson and Ronnie White of the Miracles, becomes a #1 hit for the Temptations.

November 1, 1965: Going to a Go-Go, by Smokey Robinson and the Miracles, is released. It reaches #8 and yields four hits: "Ooo Baby Baby" (#4 R&B, #16 pop), "The Tracks of My Tears" (#2 R&B, #16 pop), "My Girl Has Gone" (#3 R&B, #14 pop) and "Going to a Go-Go" (#2 R&B, #11 pop).

January 27, 1967: The release of "The Love I Saw in You Was Just a Mirage" marks a change in artist credit from "The Miracles" to "Smokey Robinson and the Miracles." The song will peak at #20.

April 1968: Greatest Hits, Vol.2, by Smokey Robinson and the Miracles, reaches #7. It will be the highest-peaking album of the group's career.

December 12, 1970: "The Tears of a Clown," by Smokey Robinson and the Miracles, reaches Number One for the first of two weeks.

July 14-16, 1972: Smokey Robinson and the Miracles' concert performances in Washington D.C. are recorded for the album 1957-1972, which ends Robinson's quarter century with the band he founded. Robinson graduates to a solo career, and the Miracles replace him with Billy Griffin.

November 15, 1972: Smokey Robinson's final single with the Miracles, "I Can't Stand to See You Cry," is released.

1974: The Miracles' "Love Machine," the group's biggest hit of the post-Smokey Robinson era, reaches Number One.

April 19, 1975: A Quiet Storm, the third solo album by Smokey Robinson, is released. The title would be adapted as both the name of a radio format and a romantic subgenre of soul, as defined by Robinson.

March 21, 1981: The biggest hit of Smokey Robinson's solo career, "Being With You" (#1 R&B, #2 pop), is released.

January 21, 1987: Smokey Robinson is inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame at the second annual induction dinner. Daryl Hall and John Oates are his presenters.

February 1994: Motown issues The 35th Anniversary Compilation, a four-CD overview of Smokey Robinson and the Miracles' remarkable career.

February 27, 1997: Smokey Robinson reunites with the Miracles to be honored at the eight annual Rhythm and Blues Foundation's Pioneer Awards in New York.

February 24, 1999: Smokey Robinson receives a Lifetime Achievement Award at the 41st annual Grammy Awards in Los Angeles.

April 2004: Smokey Robinson releases Food for the Spirit, his first gospel album and first album of any kind in five years.


THE 1990 SONGWRITERS HALL OF FAME BIOGRAPHY

Legendary Grammy winner, Smokey Robinson is the only man in musical history to simultaneously be in the Songwriters Hall of Fame, the Rock N Roll Hall of Fame and honored by NARAS as a "Living Legend."

In many respects, Smokey Robinson, writer of over 1,000 songs, qualifies for the title, "Mr. Motown." The celebrated Detroit native played a key role in helping transform the motor city and the record company named after it, into an international center popular music.

Robinson's hit recordings, with his wonderful and memorable vocal group, The Miracles, while produced in Detroit with that very recognizable Motown sound, cross all contemporary boundaries and cultures. Motown was pop music, the kind that dominated best-selling and radio performance charts. For much of that period of the early 60s and 70s, Smokey Robinson was the inspiration for and creator of the biggest songs of the day.

Since the age of six, Robinson has been writing music. His initial success came as a first-grader writing a song for an elementary school play. With this one slight taste of success under his belt, Robinson continued writing, after the nightly demands of homework had been met, until three years later, as a teenager, he had the good fortune of an accidental meeting with Berry Gordy, Jr., the founder and head of Motown Records. Gordy became the producer for Smokey Robinson and The Miracles, and the combination of talents resulted in many hit recordings, including "Way Over There," the first record released on the Motown subsidiary label, Tamla Records, and "Shop Around," which went to number one on all national charts.

Across the years, Robinson's writing efforts resulted in a bevy of major hits for The Miracles, like "I Second That Emotion," "Going to a Go Go," "You Really Got a Hold on Me," "Tears of a Clown," and one of the most memorable, "The Tracks of My Tears."

But writing for The Miracles ultimately became a kind of springboard for other songwriting successes. Robinson is well-remembered for "My Guy" and "Two Lovers" for Mary Wells; "The Way You Do the Things You Do," for the remarkable and enduring Temptations; "Ain't That Peculiar" and I'll Be Doggone," for the late Marvin Gaye; and "Don't Mess with Bill" and "The Hunter Gets Captured by the Game," for The Marvelettes.


THE 2001 VOCAL GROUP HALL OF FAME BIOGRAPHY

Of all the R&B vocal groups formed in Detroit, Michigan, USA, in the mid-50s, the Miracles proved to be the most successful. They were founded at the city's Northern High School in 1955 by Smokey Robinson (b. William Robinson, 19 February 1940, Detroit, Michigan, USA), Emerson Rogers, Bobby Rogers (b. 19 February 1940, Detroit, Michigan, USA), Ronnie White (b. 5 April 1939, Detroit, Michigan, USA, d. 26 August 1995) and Warren 'Pete' Moore (b. 19 November 1939, Detroit, Michigan, USA). Emerson Rogers left the following year, and was replaced by his sister Claudette, who married Smokey Robinson in 1959. Known initially as the Matadors, the group became the Miracles in 1958, when they made their initial recordings with producer Berry Gordy. He leased their debut, 'Got A Job' (an answer record to the Silhouettes' major hit 'Get A Job'), to End Records, produced a duet by Ron (White) And Bill (Robinson) for Argo, and licensed the classic doo-wop novelty 'Bad Girl' to Chess Records in 1959.

The following year, Gordy signed the Miracles directly to his fledgling Motown Records label. Recognizing the youthful composing talents of Smokey Robinson, he allowed the group virtual free rein in the studio, and was repaid when they issued 'Way Over There', a substantial local hit, and then 'Shop Around', which broke both the Miracles and Motown to a national audience. The song demonstrated the increasing sophistication of Robinson's writing, which provided an unbroken series of hits for the group over the next few years. Their raw, doo-wop sound was further refined on the Top 10 hit 'You Really Got A Hold On Me' in 1962, a soulful ballad that became a worldwide standard after the Beatles covered it in 1963. Robinson was now in demand by other Motown artists: Gordy used him as a one-man hit factory, to mastermind releases by the Temptations and Mary Wells, and the Miracles' own career suffered slightly as a result.

They continued to enjoy success in a variety of different styles, mixing dancefloor hits such as 'Mickey's Monkey' and 'Going To A Go-Go' with some of Robinson's most durable ballads, such as 'Ooh Baby Baby' and 'The Tracks Of My Tears'. Although Robinson sang lead on almost all the group's recordings, the rest of the group provided a unique harmony blend behind him, while guitarist Marv Tarplin - who co-wrote several of their hits - was incorporated as an unofficial Miracle from the mid-60s onwards. Claudette Robinson stopped touring with the group after 1965, although she was still featured on many of their subsequent releases.

Exhausted by several years of constant work, Robinson scaled down his writing commitments for the group in the mid-60s, when they briefly worked with Holland/Dozier/Holland and other Motown producers. Robinson wrote their most ambitious and enduring songs, however, including 'The Tears Of A Clown' in 1966 (a belated hit in the UK and USA in 1970), 'The Love I Saw In You Was Just A Mirage', and 'I Second That Emotion' in 1967. These tracks epitomized the strengths of Robinson's compositions, with witty, metaphor-filled lyrics tied to aching melody lines and catchy guitar figures, the latter often provided by Tarplin.

Like many of the veteran Motown acts, the Miracles went into a sales slump after 1967 - the year when Robinson was given individual credit on the group's records. Their slide was less noticeable in Britain, where Motown gained a Top 10 hit in 1969 with a reissue of 'The Tracks Of My Tears', which most listeners imagined was a contemporary record. The success of 'The Tears Of A Clown' prompted a revival in fortune after 1970. 'I'm The One You Need' became another reissue hit in Britain the following year, while 'I Don't Blame You At All', one of their strongest releases to date, achieved chart success on both sides of the Atlantic.

In 1971, Robinson announced his intention of leaving the Miracles to concentrate on his position as vice-president of Motown Records. His decision belied the title of his final hit with the group, 'We've Come Too Far To End It Now' in 1972, and left the Miracles in the unenviable position of having to replace one of the most distinctive voices in popular music. Their choice was William 'Bill' Griffin (b. 15 August 1950, Detroit, Michigan, USA), who was introduced by Robinson to the group's audiences during a 1972 US tour. The new line-up took time to settle, while Smokey Robinson launched a solo career to great acclaim in 1973. The group responded with Renaissance, which saw them working with Motown luminaries such as Marvin Gaye and Willie Hutch. The following year, they re-established the Miracles as a hit-making force with 'Do It Baby' and 'Don'tcha Love It', dance-orientated singles that appealed strongly to the group's black audience. In 1975, 'Love Machine' became the Miracles' first US chart-topper, while the concept album City Of Angels was acclaimed as one of Motown's most progressive releases.


THE 2006 KENNEDY CENTER HONORS BIOGRAPHY

To hear Smokey Robinson shine his way through his "The Tears of a Clown" is to understand a lovely, perfect moment in American music. A Detroit native and the very soul of Motown, a singer's singer, a poet's own poet, everyone's giving, loving clown—do these begin to describe the miracle that is Smokey Robinson- Fellow Kennedy Center Honoree Bob Dylan once rapturously called Robinson "America's greatest living poet." That is an unguarded, disarmingly emotional response to a musician whose emotions never fail to ring true. Think not only of his lyrics to "Tears of a Clown," but also of "The Track of My Tears," "Shop Around," "You've Really Got A Hold On Me," "My Guy," "The Way You Do the Things You Do," "Get Ready," "It's Growing," "I Second That Emotion," "Sweet Harmony," "Baby Come Close," "Baby That's Backatcha," "I Am I Am," "The Agony And The Ecstasy," "Open," "Quiet Storm," and "Let Your Love Shine On Me." Impressive by any standards as a string of hits, taken together they add up to a body of work that has transformed and defined American music across any pop, soul, R & B, or Rock and Roll divide. Perhaps Bob Seeger put it best in Rolling Stone magazine, when he recalled nostalgically how "I used to go to the Motown revues, and the Miracles always closed the show. They were that good, and everybody knew it. Not flash at all. The Supremes had bigger hits. The Temptations had the better dance moves. The Miracles did it with pure music. Back then the radio played the rougher stuff, [but] Smokey Robinson – they played him all day. Everybody loved his songs, and he had a leg up on all the other singers, with that slightly raspy, very high voice. Smokey was smoky."

That he wrote his own songs seemed like so much icing on a sweet cake. Everybody loved his songs, everybody still does. Together with The Supremes, The Temptations and the Four Tops, Smokey Robinson—with the Miracles and on his own as a composer, producer and hit-maker—was a powerful and influential creative force alongside Motown's visionary Berry Gordy in combining the naïve sweetness of mainstream American pop with the gritty sensuality of the most daring of rhythm and blues. Doo-wop came of age, and the Motown sound was born.

William Robinson was born and raised in Detroit, where as a child he was nicknamed "Smokey" because of his love of Westerns. He was just 15 when he founded a doo-wop group called The Five Chimes with four friends from Northern High School. Playing Detroit clubs, they renamed the group The Matadors in 1957, and were joined by Bobby Rogers, Pete Moore; Ronnie Whites and Smokey Robinson's future wife, Claudette Rogers. They changed names again, to the Miracles, and they met up with the young Berry Gordy, Jr., who in 1958 co-wrote for them the single "Got A Job," a humorous, nevertheless very positive answer song to The Silhouettes' hit "Get a Job." The song came true: young Smokey really got a job. Gordy founded Tamla Records in 1959, soon reincorporating it as Motown Records, with his friend and protégé Smokey Robinson as vice-president by 1961. The rest, it is not exaggeration to note, is music history. The Miracles bridged the worlds of doo-wop and soul, with Robinson as their guiding light. After what proved to be a warm-up single called "Way Over There," Smokey Robinson and the Miracles' second release for Motown, "Shop Around," established a sound that would cool and caress a generation. It was their first million-seller. Throughout the 1960s and early '70s, music and musician alike grew in assurance, from elegant ballads to easy, throbbing dance numbers like "Mickey's Monkey" and "Going To A-Go-Go." Robinson's activity was not limited to The Miracles, either. As a generous songwriter and producer, he created "My Guy" for the sassy Mary Wells, and "My Girl" for the inimitable Temptations. But it was Robinson's own voice, the silky cooing and wooing of everything from "Ooo Baby Baby" right through the immortal "Tears Of A Clown" that forever marked the soundtrack of Baby Boomers' lives.

After Motown's glory days, Robinson continued to thrive on his own. His final hit with The Miracles was 1972's "We've Come To Far To End It Now" and—like the Supremes' bittersweet "Some Day We'll Be Together"—it signaled the end of an era but also the dawn of reinvigorated artistic maturity. Smokey Robinson grew jazzier, perhaps mellower, certainly never a slave to the disco fashion but very much in touch with the pulse of music lovers. His work became more subtle, still yielding unforgettable hits such as "Sweet Harmony" and "Just My Soul Responding." His album A Quiet Storm turned out to be the apotheosis of a golden era of R & B even as a new generation's hip-hop and rap peered not far in the horizon. It was with A Quite Storm that Robinson gave notice that smooth, lush and gorgeous ballads could never be out of place in our hearts. "As a kid, this is what I wanted my life to be," Smokey Robinson once said, confessing that "Not in my wildest dreams did I ever dare to dream that it would be this." He was voted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1988. In 1991, he won a Soul Train Music Award for Career Achievement. Never one to rest on his laurels, this poet laureate of love released his first Gospel album, Food for the Spirit, in 2004. In 2006, Howard University conferred on Smokey Robinson an honorary Doctor of Music degree.


THE 2009 HOLLYWOOD WALK OF FAME BIOGRAPHY

The Miracles were honored with the 2,381st star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. Hollywood Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Leron Gubler presided over the ceremony. Guests included Berry Gordy and Stevie Wonder.

7060 Hollywood Boulevard on March 20, 2009.

The star honorees are the original Miracles' lineup: Bobby Rogers, Ronnie White (posthumously), Pete Moore, Smokey Robinson, and the First Lady of Motown, Claudette Robinson. Gloria White, wife of the late Ronnie White and Billy Griffin, former lead singer of The Miracles were also on hand for the celebration.

The Motown Sound began in 1959 with The Miracles, the very first of Berry Gordy's massively-successful pool of performers. From their unpolished start, they were special, diamonds in the rough. Gordy, already a successful songwriter with hits by the likes of Jackie Wilson and Etta James, heard it in their voices and in the songs scribbled in Smokey's notebook.

With Gordy, The Miracles launched the "Sound of Young America," and the rest is musical history. From their doo-wop roots, with songs like "Bad Girl" and "Got A Job," to the 60's and 70's smashes "Shop Around," "You Really Got A Hold On Me," "Ooo Baby, Baby," "Tears Of A Clown," "Do It Baby" and "Love Machine," The Miracles tore down barriers of intolerance, and got the people of the world dancing.The group's songwriting talents, close harmonies, precise choreography, and the smooth lead tenor sounds of Smokey Robinson was a combination equivalent to musical dynamite. Add the premier guitar work and songwriting of Marvin Tarplin, career-long companion to The Miracles, and you've got the soundtrack of a generation.

The music has never stopped. Fifty years after they began, original member and beloved tenor/baritone Bobby Rogers still tours and records with a new lineup. Founding members Claudette Robinson and Pete Moore occasionally join them for special performances. She's that lilting voice on the top of the harmonies - her beauty and sweetness made her the crush of countless teenage boys. And yes, she really was the first girl singer ever signed to Gordy's hit-making company. Pete is that irreplaceable smooth, deep bass on the bottom, which made songs such as 'Doggone Right' and 'Got A Job' unforgettable.

Smokey Robinson performs non-stop as a solo artist, his falsetto and charm intact, causing another generation of girls to swoon. Always, all perform in memory of late member Ronnie White.

Even the oldest songs are fresh today. When they began, little did they know that they were singing and writing songs that would become music standards. Everywhere we go in the 21st century, their voices and those songs are heard daily.

Posted by Roy on Thursday, 08.19.10 @ 07:57am


Smokey Robinson is enshrined with a Star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, Smokey Robinson is inducted into the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame, Smokey Robinson is inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame, Smokey Robinson and the Miracles are inducted into the Vocal Group Hall of Fame, Smokey Robinson receives the Kennedy Center Honors, The Miracles are enshrined with a Star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

THE 1983 HOLLYWOOD WALK OF FAME (Smokey Robinson)
THE 1987 ROCK AND ROLL HALL OF FAME (Smokey Robinson)
THE 1990 SONGWRITERS HALL OF FAME (Smokey Robinson)
THE 2001 VOCAL GROUP HALL OF FAME (Smokey Robinson & The Miracles)
THE 2006 KENNEDY CENTER HONORS (Smokey Robinson)
THE 2009 HOLLYWOOD WALK OF FAME (The Miracles)

I guess when The Miracles get inducted into The Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame in the main performers category with Smokey Robinson, the Rock Hall can tell us that the induction of Smokey Robinson in 1987 was an early induction for his solo career. HA HA!

Posted by Roy on Thursday, 08.19.10 @ 13:00pm



ARTISTS WHO WERE INDUCTED INTO THE SONGWRITERS HALL OF FAME AND RECEIVED THE GRAMMY LEGEND AWARD IN THE SAME YEAR:

01. 1990 - Smokey Robinson

Posted by Roy on Monday, 11.15.10 @ 18:53pm


SMOKEY ROBINSON shouldn't have been inducted by himself, except in the NON-PERFORMER category as a songwriter/producer/record executive...and then THE MIRACLES should have gone into the HALL OF FAME as a GROUP.

Posted by Bill G. on Saturday, 12.18.10 @ 11:13am


YEAR AFTER YEAR, for OVER TWO DECADES,The Miracles have been ignored...passed over for induction, having not even been NOMINATED, NOT EVEN ONCE in the entire history of the ROCK and ROLL HALL OF FAME.Up until this very day, NO ONE in the ROCK and ROLL HALL OF FAME INDUCTION COMMITTEE has given the slightest explanation for The Miracles' snub, while year after year, less deserving artists, with NOWHERE NEAR the Miracles'credentials, get nominated and/or inducted:

(no offense intended to the following artists or their fans):

1.DARLENE LOVE
2.CHIC
3.JOE TEX
4.CHUCK WILLIS
5.J.GEILS BAND
6.GRANDMASTER FLASH & THE FURIOUS FIVE
7.LL COOL J
8.PERCY SLEDGE
9.LAURA NYRO
10 DR.JOHN
11.THE RONETTES
12.THE PRETENDERS
13 BLONDIE
(there are numerous others).

NONE of these artists can boast of having over 50 chart hits. NONE of these artists can boast of having 4 songs in the GRAMMY HALL OF FAME. NONE of them can boast of having influenced the British Invasion, or being the vanguard act of a musical movement as big or as groundbraking as THE MOTOWN SOUND... and NONE OF THEM HAVE HAD THEIR SONGS COVERED BY as big , or as diverse a group of artists as THE MIRACLES.

Posted by Bill G. on Saturday, 12.18.10 @ 12:01pm


Don't believe it ?

Check out the proof right HERE:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Miracles#Cover_versions

Posted by Bill G. on Saturday, 12.18.10 @ 12:02pm


Numerous publications have asked the same question...why have The Miracles...a group that should be NO-BRAINERS for RRHOF induction, been ignored, blacklisted,NOT EVEN BEEN CONSIDERED for induction ...while almost all of their contemporaries, in and out of Motown...been enshrined into the Hall ?

GOLDMINE MAGAZINE :
http://www.goldminemag.com/tag/claudette-robinson

Posted by Bill G. on Saturday, 12.18.10 @ 12:14pm


NEVER should have been inducted without BOBBY ROGERS ,PETE MOORE, CLAUDETTE ROBINSON, MARV TARPLIN,and the late RONNIE WHITE.
*****THE MIRACLES in 2012 !!!*****

Posted by Bill G. on Wednesday, 08.24.11 @ 14:40pm


From the THIRD ESTATE SUNDAY REVIEW:

Evidence that SMOKEY DIDN'T QUALIFY FOR RRHOF INDUCTION AS A SOLO ARTIST when he was inducted in 1987:

Now might be a good time to note how the rules are regularly bent by the Hall for males.(or ANYONE it sees fit. MY words, not theirs-Willgee). Smokey Robinson was inducted into the Hall in 1987 as a performer. While Smokey is intensely talented and has made many real contributions that qualify him for induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, there's no denying that he wasn't qualified to be inducted in 1987. The Miracles? Absolutely. Smokey? No. The rules dictate that a minimum of 25 years must have elapsed since your first recording was released for you to qualify. That would mean Smokey Robinson (and not the Miracles or Smokey Robinson and the Miracles) would have had to begin his solo career in 1962. As even the Hall notes, "In July 1972, Robinson parted ways with the Miracles, and both entities enjoyed continued success. " As a performer, Smokey Robinson (solo) was not eligible to be inducted until 1997".

SMOKEY did NOT RECORD a SINGLE SONG as a SOLO ARTIST until 1972.Counting ahead 25 years from that date, 1997 (or 1998)would have been THE EARLIEST he would have qualified as a solo artist, NOT 1987, the year he WAS inducted.* The MIRACLES as a GROUP, however, qualified in the VERY FIRST YEAR of RRHOF INDUCTIONS, as they had been around over 30 years by then. This was a deliberate attempt by "CERTAIN INDIVIDUALS" to REWRITE HISTORY,and LEAVE THE MIRACLES OUT as a deleted footnote.
But,it hasn't worked.

*Note:The ONLY way Smokey could , and should have been POSSIBLY inducted into the RRHOF prior to 1992 would have been in the NON-PERFORMER category, as a writer-producer. BUT , that's not how he was inducted. He was inducted as a PERFORMER , which , according to RRHOF rules , requires the 25 year MININUM rule. Thus , the RRHOF violated their OWN rule , and , in so doing, did a SERIOUS INJUSTICE to PETE MOORE, BOBBY ROGERS, MARV TARPLIN , the late RONNIE WHITE, and CLAUDETTE ROBINSON.

It will be interesting to see how the RRHOF reacts now that THE MIRACLES have recieved their STAR on the Hollywood Walk Of Fame. That honor is only reserved for artists that have reached the PINNACLE of show business success, something that would NEVER have been bestowed upon a group that is a "DELETED FOOTNOTE" .

Posted by Bill G. on Saturday, 08.27.11 @ 21:03pm


THE ROCK AND ROLL HALL OF FAME BROKE ITS OWN RULES!

The Miracles (First Eligible for the Rock Hall in 1984-1985) Not inducted yet!!

Smokey Robinson & The Miracles (First Eligible for the Rock Hall in 1990-1991)

Smokey Robinson (First Eligible for the Rock Hall in 1997-1998) Inducted ten years too early in 1987!!

THE ROCK AND ROLL HALL OF FAME BROKE ITS OWN RULES!

Posted by Roy on Saturday, 08.27.11 @ 21:26pm


Roy, Smokey recorded solo for End records in 1958 before recording with the Miracles. It's a borderline obscene technicality, but he was inducted when eligible.

Posted by Philip on Saturday, 08.27.11 @ 23:36pm


After Smokey Robinson left the Miracles, he was considered by many to be "The George Harrison of Motown" because the number of top 10 hits Smokey had were dwarfed by Stevie Wonder and Marvin Gaye. Smokey had only four top ten hits as a solo artist.

Cruisin' (#4, 1980)
Being With You (#2, 1981)
Just To See Her (#8, 1987)
One Heartbeat (#10, 1987)

Posted by Aaron O'Donnell on Saturday, 10.29.11 @ 01:33am


On December 26, 1970 George Harrison's "My Sweet Lord" knocked Smokey Robinson & the Miracles' "The Tears of A Clown" out of the number one spot

Posted by Aaron O'Donnell on Saturday, 10.29.11 @ 01:38am


From Wikipedia:

During this period,(1959-65) The Miracles were the most popular group on the (Motown) label. The Miracles' success paved the way for all future Motown stars, and, as a result, the group was the headlining act of the Motor Town Revue, a nationwide package concert touring show which showcased Motown artists. Their exciting live performances earned them the nickname, "The Showstoppers".Commenting to Rolling Stone Magazine, Bob Seger said, "I used to go to the Motown revues, and the Miracles always closed the show. They were that good, and everybody knew it."[6] The group also influenced a significant number of outside performers as well, particularly The Beatles, who covered The Miracles' "You Really Got a Hold on Me" on their second album, With the Beatles. John Lennon of the Beatles acknowledged Smokey Robinson as one of his favorite writers, and named the Miracles' "I've Been Good To You" as one of his favorite songs. Another Beatles song, Ask Me Why, also written by Lennon, was influenced by The Miracles' hit "What's So Good About Goodbye". George Harrison also greatly admired Robinson and paid tribute to him in his 1976 song 'Pure Smokey', while The Rolling Stones covered the group's 1965 hit "Going to a Go-Go". The Hollies covered the group's 1963 smash "Mickey's Monkey". The Zombies also covered "You've Really Got a Hold On Me", while The Who covered The Miracles' hit, "I Gotta Dance to Keep From Crying". While the British Invasion meant the end of many American artists' recording careers, it had very little effect on The Miracles, who continued having hits throughout this period. In fact, The Miracles were a major influence on many British Invasion groups in particular.In addition, artists of many diverse musical genres have covered their songs, including Jazz, Country & Western, MOR, Reggae, Hip-Hop, Rock, and Pop, as well as R&B/Soul.

Posted by Bill G. on Monday, 10.31.11 @ 17:53pm


He NEVER should have been inducted without CLAUDETTE,BOBBY,RONNIE,PETE,and MARV. PERIOD.

Posted by Bill G. on Sunday, 12.18.11 @ 15:29pm


Wait a minute, Smokey Robinson was nominated in 86 and 87, and inducted in 87. Why didn't he say anything to the Rock Hall to stop them from nominating him as Smokey Robinson again, and nominate The Miracles?

Posted by Roy on Sunday, 12.18.11 @ 16:45pm


http://www.youtube.com/rocknrolluniverse

Email from Tom Meros of Rock And Roll Universe

The Miracles will be given an automatic induction in the main performers category as "The Miracles" in 2012. Smokey Robinson will be given a second induction. Technically, inducting Smokey again violates the Rock Hall's own rules. Because of the 25 year rule, Smokey either should not have been inducted the first time, or cannot be inducted the second time, but Smokey will indeed be a two time inductee. It will probably be Berry Gordy who gives the induction speech, if not, then they could bring back Hall & Oates to give the induction speech again to poke fun at the first induction of 1987. All 7 members of The Miracles will be inducted.

THE 2012 ROCK AND ROLL HALL OF FAME INDUCTEES

THE MIRACLES

01. William "Smokey" Robinson
02. Warren "Pete" Moore
03. Robert "Bobby" Rogers
04. Ronald "Ronnie" White
05. Claudette Rogers
06. Marvin "Marv" Tarplin
07. Billy Griffin

Posted by Roy on Tuesday, 02.7.12 @ 08:38am


ARTISTS INDUCTED INTO THE ROCK AND ROLL HALL OF FAME BY SMOKEY ROBINSON

01. Little Anthony & The Imperials (2009)
02. The Miracles (2012)

Posted by Roy on Tuesday, 03.6.12 @ 21:26pm


ARTISTS INDUCTED INTO THE ROCK AND ROLL HALL OF FAME BY SMOKEY ROBINSON

01. Little Anthony & The Imperials (2009)
02. The Miracles (2012)
03. The Crickets (2012)
04. The Comets (2012)
05. The Blue Caps (2012)
06. The Midnighters (2012)
07. The Famous Flames (2012)

Posted by Roy on Wednesday, 03.21.12 @ 23:03pm


So the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame inducts Smokey Robinson in 1987 without The Miracles, and they induct The Miracles in 2012 without Smokey Robinson and Billy Griffin as members of The Miracles. Nice job Rock Hall, nice job!

Posted by Roy on Thursday, 04.19.12 @ 10:26am


Smokey Robinson's initial induction had everything to do with his work with The Miracles- his solo career doesn't really warrant induction consideration. So, the 2012 induction of The Miracles goes along with Robinson's induction.

Not sure what's the story with Billy Griffin.

Posted by JR on Thursday, 04.19.12 @ 12:44pm


Actually, I think his solo career does merit induction, which is why I would have made the Miracles go through the ballot process, but I'm happy they're in, and yeah, I would have put them on the ballot back for the class of '87

Posted by Philip on Thursday, 04.19.12 @ 14:36pm


Smokey Robinson is a two-time Hollywood Walk of Fame inductee! 1983 and 2009.

Posted by Roy on Friday, 04.20.12 @ 21:19pm


Boy, the Rock Hall's nominating committee back in 1985-1987 must have had a real man-crush on Smokey Robinson. Imagine if The Miracles name had never been changed to Smokey Robinson and the Miracles, but the Rock Hall still inducted Smokey Robinson alone in 1987. That would have been so weird! Man-crush indeed!

The people responsible for not nominating and inducting The Miracles as The Miracles in 1987-you would think these people would know what to do:

The 1986 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Nominating Committee:

Ahmet Ertegun
John Hammond
Robert Hilburn
Bob Krasnow
Kurt Loder
Norm N. Nite
Nile Rodgers
Seymour Stein
Jann Wenner
Jerry Wexler

None of these people spoke up and said-hey, wait a minute! It's The Miracles, not Smokey Robinson!

Posted by Roy on Monday, 07.23.12 @ 22:20pm


Kinda makes you wonder , doesn't it.

But even that is not my REAL concern, Roy. What I'm concerned with is that Smokey was NOT inducted with The Miracles even THIS year. Which means that , from now on, future generations will ALWAYS view Smokey Robinson and the rest of the Miracles as SEPARATE ENTITIES.

I went to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame for the Inductions this year. Not a big stretch, because Cleveland is my home town. On the wall of the Inductees where all of their names and signatures are listed, Smokey Robinson's name and signature is listed in a totally different section that the other Miracles , Warren "Pete"Moore, Claudette Rogers-Robinson, Marvin "Marv" Tarplin, Robert "Bobby" Rogers, and Ronald "Ronnie" White. SO WHAT if they were inducted separately...they were all part of the SAME GROUP. James Brown is listed separately from The Famous Flames as well.

What image does this convey to the public ?

1) The Miracles were simply "Back-Ups"

2) Smokey was never a member of the group.

3) The Rock Hall has NO INTENTION of correcting their screw-up, and

4) They're making THE GROUP PAY FOR IT.

5) Smokey was ALWAYS and ONLY a "Solo'' artist.

In an organization which has charged itself with preserving the HISTORY ,ESSENCE, AND IMPORTANCE of Rock and Roll and those who made it, It is essential that such organization does so ACCURATELY.

What they're doing HERE is NOT ACCURATE.

And, unless they changed the picture of the group since I was there in April, MARV TARPLIN was NOT in the group picture I saw hanging on the wall at the Miracles' exhibit .

Again, more inaccuracy. When will these people ever LEARN ??

Posted by Bill G. on Wednesday, 07.25.12 @ 00:29am


The Miracles' snubbing was one of the oldest running beefs (against the R&R HoF). Year after year, Internet petitions and letter campaigns pushed for recognition of a group whose hits started with 1960's "Shop Around" -- Motown's first million-seller.

"Everybody was really working for us, and the message got through," says Claudette Robinson.


Paul Barker, a friend of the group who will be on hand tonight, says it's a lesson about the rock hall's power to shape perceptions.

"Being the institution they are, they run the risk of REWRITING HISTORY (my caps- Bill) , and that can be scary. The hall maybe unintentionally rewrote history when Smokey was inducted solo," he says. "I don't think it was intentional, but it was inaccurate. To refer to the Miracles as just a "BACKING GROUP" is a flat-out CLEAR INJUSTICE."

Indeed, Barker has lingering concerns about tonight's ceremony -- because Smokey was tapped to induct the group.

"That's the one that bothers me as a fan," he says. "I think it's odd that they're not honoring the Miracles as a group with Smokey. In their attempt to make things right, I hope they're not actually digging a bigger hole."

Posted by Bill G. on Wednesday, 07.25.12 @ 00:43am


If Smokey Robinson has anything to do with it, Mary Wells and The Marvelettes will be nominated this year.

Posted by Roy on Saturday, 08.11.12 @ 09:13am


While Berry Gordy was the father of Motown Records, no one can argue that Smokey Robinson is the perfromer who made Motown famous. Being the leader for the Miracles, he was one of the first singers who was sighed to the Motown label in 1959. Through the 60s and early 70s, Smokey racked up hits first with the Miracles and then as a solo artist, but he was also a behind the scenes man who worte songs and and served as the vice president of Motown for three decades. He's also the most iconic singers in American soul music. His songs like "Track Of My Tears" helped define soul and his lush, romantic ballads give quiet storm its title and eneve Bob Dylan has called Smokey "America's greatest living poet".

Out of all the 60s and 70s soul singers, Smokey Robinson is one of my top favorties and my favortie Motown song of all time is "Taers Of A Clown".

Posted by Andrew on Friday, 10.19.12 @ 12:58pm


Berry Gordy may have founded Motown Records, but no can argue that William "Smokey" Robinson was the one who pushed America's most famous soul label to greatness.

He is also one of the most iconic singers of American soul music and his songs helped define soul with his lush, romantic soul ballads gave Quiet Strom its name. Even Bob Dylan went so far as to call Robinson "America's greatest living poet."

Apart from being the frontman for The Miracles, Smokey was also a producer, songwriter and Berry Gordy's right-hand man at Motown for three decades. Gordy once said that Smokey reminded him of himself.

Back in the early 60s, everything at Motown was a family affair and Smokey was one of the first artists sighed to the label in 1959. The Supremes ended up auditioning at Motown because Diana Ross was Robinson's neighbor.

Smokey Robinson & the Miracles racked up 37 soul hits between 1960 and 1971, such as "You've Really Got A Hold on Me," "Mickey's Mouse," and "I Second That Emotion." The group's finest moments were on record as "Ooh Baby Baby," and "I Second That Emotion" still bring memories back from the 60s.

Smokey's lyrics combined sincerity and eloquence, often speaking about love with unique messages. As a singer, Robinson could evoke joy or sadness with his high tenor.

Legend has it that whenever The Miracles sang "Track of My Tears," the audience would break into tears and even the hard-to please Berry Gordy called the song a masterpiece. It led to another tear-jerking classic called “Tears of a Clown," which gave the Miracles their First Number one soul hit in 1971.

Many people don't know that Smokey also wrote songs like “I’ll Be Doggone” for Marvin Gaye, “The Way You Do The Things You Do” for The Temptations, “My Guy” for Mary Wells and “Don’t Mess With Bill” for The Marvelettes.

Lastly, Smokey's influence on rock n' roll has been high as singers from The Commodores and The Jackson 5 to The Bee Gees and Hall & Oates have drawn from Robinson's tenor voice and his songwriting.

Thank you, Smokey for all you've done!

Posted by Andrew on Thursday, 08.15.13 @ 19:33pm


"Smokey Robinson & the Miracles racked up 37 soul hits between 1960 and 1971, such as "You've Really Got A Hold on Me," "Mickey's Mouse," and "I Second That Emotion." The group's finest moments were on record as "Ooh Baby Baby," and "I Second That Emotion" still bring memories back from the 60s."

Dude.

"Mickey's Mouse ?"

I've heard of a Miracles song called "Mickey's Monkey".

But .Berry would'a got SUED by Walt Disney....if he used the title YOU stated....

Posted by Bill G. on Friday, 08.16.13 @ 02:47am


Berry Gordy may have founded Motown Records, but no can argue that William "Smokey" Robinson was the one who pushed America's most famous soul label to greatness.

He is also one of the most iconic singers of American soul music and his songs helped define soul with his lush, romantic soul ballads gave Quiet Strom its name. Even Bob Dylan went so far as to call Robinson "America's greatest living poet."

Apart from being the frontman for The Miracles, Smokey was also a producer, songwriter and Berry Gordy's right-hand man at Motown for three decades. Gordy once said that Smokey reminded him of himself.

Back in the early 60s, everything at Motown was a family affair and Smokey was one of the first artists sighed to the label in 1959. The Supremes ended up auditioning at Motown because Diana Ross was Robinson's neighbor.

Smokey Robinson & the Miracles racked up 37 soul hits between 1960 and 1971, such as "You've Really Got A Hold on Me," "Mickey's Monkey," and "I Second That Emotion." The group's finest moments were on record as "Ooh Baby Baby," and "I Second That Emotion" still bring memories back from the 60s.

Smokey's lyrics combined sincerity and eloquence, often speaking about love with unique messages. As a singer, Robinson could evoke joy or sadness with his high tenor.

Legend has it that whenever The Miracles sang "Track of My Tears," the audience would break into tears and even the hard-to please Berry Gordy called the song a masterpiece. It led to another tear-jerking classic called “Tears of a Clown," which gave the Miracles their First Number one soul hit in 1971.

Many people don't know that Smokey also wrote songs like “I’ll Be Doggone” for Marvin Gaye, “The Way You Do The Things You Do” for The Temptations, “My Guy” for Mary Wells and “Don’t Mess With Bill” for The Marvelettes.

Lastly, Smokey's influence on rock n' roll has been high as singers from The Commodores and The Jackson 5 to The Bee Gees and Hall & Oates have drawn from Robinson's tenor voice and his songwriting.

Thank you, Smokey for all you've done!

Sorry about that, Bill G. It was an accident that I fixed, so don't worry about it.

Posted by Andrew on Friday, 08.16.13 @ 19:32pm


"Sorry about that, Bill G. It was an accident that I fixed, so don't worry about it."

Okie Doke !!

Posted by Bill G. on Saturday, 08.17.13 @ 11:45am


While Berry Gordy may have founded Motown Records, no single person has been more closely allied with the Detroit record empire than William "Smokey" Robinson as the one who first pushed the most iconic soul label in America to greatness. Robinson is one of the most iconic singers in American R&B as his songs helped define pop-oriented soul and his lush, romantic ballads literally gave Quiet Storm its name. Even Bob Dylan has called Robinson "America's greatest living poet."

Along with fronting The Miracles, Robinson was a valuable behind the scenes person who wrote songs, produced records, scouted and groomed talent, served as vice-president of Motown for 26 years, and was Berry's most trusted friend and right-hand man. Gordy once said that Smokey "reminded me of myself, he was so excited and passionate about his music."

Smokey Robinson and The Miracles were one of the first groups sighed to Gordy's management and production company. In the early days of Motown, everything was a family affair. The Supremes ended up auditioning at Motown because Diana Ross and Smokey were neighbors, and the group's original guitarist Marv Tarplin later became a backing musician, arranger and co writer for The Miracles.

Smokey Robinson and the Miracles scored 37 soul hits with Motown between 1960 and 1971, including the classics like "You've Really Got a Hold on Me," "Mickey's Monkey" and "Going to a Go-Go." The group also explored the sweeter side of soul with a string of ballads sung by Robinson in a smooth falsetto. The Miracles' brightest moments on songs like "Ooh Baby Baby," "I Second That Emotion," and "The Track of My Tears" still rekindle memories for those who came of age in the 60s and those of us who enjoy listening to old soul music.

The Miracles' first hit "Shop Around," put Motown on the national music scene and opened the door for future success for the label and sold a million copies in 1961 alone. The group was founded upon the basis of devotion and loyalty. They recorded with Motown until 1976, although Robinson remained on the label as a solo artist through the mid- 80s.

In his songs, Robinson's lyrics mingle sincerity and expressiveness, often speaking about love with unique messages. As a singer, Smokey could bring to mind joy, sadness, and the bittersweet combination of the two with his smooth tenor.

According to legend, audience members would break into tears when Robinson and the Miracles sang "The Track of My Tears." Even the hard-to-please Berry Gordy considered the song a masterpiece. It also foretold of another tear-jerking classic "The Tears of a Clown," which gave the Miracles their First Number one soul hit in 1971.

The period from 1963 to 1966 found the group operating on a creative and commercial peak, including the hit filled album, Going to a Go-Go.

During their time with Motown, The Miracles released 19 albums for the label and Smokey Robinson released 16 albums for Motown. He also wrote and produced songs for other Motown artists, including "Ain't That Peculiar" for Marvin Gaye, “The Way You Do The Things You Do” and "My Girl" for The Temptations, "You Beat Me to the Punch" for Mary Wells, and "The Hunter Gets Captured by the Game" for The Marvelettes.

In 1972, Robinson left The Miracles, and both sides continued to enjoy success. Smokey's two biggest solo hits, "Crusin'" and "Bring With You" came in the late 70s and the early 80s. Despite a battle with cocaine, Smokey Robinson is still alive and kicking.

Out of all the soul artists, Robinson is one of my top three favorites. His soulful voice and lush ballads are, to me, the true essence of what soul music is all about. There are tons of other great Smokey Robison songs that I still have yet to listen to. These days, there are a lot of “soul” artists, but to me, Smokey is one of those singers who is a true soul artist.

Of course, Robinson’s influence on soul and rock is long-lasting as artists from Marvin Gaye and The Jackson 5 to The Commodores and Hall & Oates have drawn from Smokey’s velvety voice and lush lyrics.

Posted by Andrew on Wednesday, 04.9.14 @ 23:38pm


Smokey Robinson was just announced as this year's Rock Hall Music Masters series. I think this is an excellent honor for Robinson given his legendary career (in addition to his work with the Miracles, he wrote and produced many of Motown's biggest hits). The tribute concert will take place on November 7 at the Playhouse Theatre in Cleveland.

Posted by Nick on Friday, 07.31.15 @ 06:41am


Leave your comment:

Name:

Email:

Comments:


Security Question:

Which letter is Springsteen's band named after?
 

Note: Emails will not be visible or used in any way, but are required. Please keep comments relevant to the topic. Any content deemed inappropriate or offensive may be edited and/or deleted.

No HTML code is allowed.




This site is not affiliated with the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum.