I don’t ever balk at being considered a Motown person, because Motown is the greatest musical event that ever happened in the history of music.
Berry Gordy founded Motown Records, but one could argue that Smokey Robinson was the man who first pushed America’s most iconic soul music label toward greatness.
~Mark Deming (allmusic.com)
The Tracks Of My Tears Live (1965)
|Birth name||William Robinson, Jr.|
|Born||February 19, 1940 (age 73)|
|Origin||Detroit, Michigan, United States|
|Genres||R&B, soul, pop, adult contemporary|
|Occupations||Singer, songwriter, record producer, record executive|
|Labels||Motown, Universal, SBK, Liquid 8, Robso|
|Associated acts||The Miracles, The Temptations, Mary Wells, Marvin Gaye|
William “Smokey” Robinson, Jr. (born February 19, 1940) is an American R&B singer-songwriter, record producer, and former record executive. Robinson was the founder and front man of the popular Motown vocal group The Miracles, for which he also served as the group’s chief songwriter and producer. Robinson led the group from its 1955 origins as The Five Chimes until 1972 when he announced a retirement from the stage to focus on his role as Motown’s vice president.
I Second That Emotion:
However, Robinson returned to the music industry as a solo artist the following year, later having solo hits such as “Baby That’s Backatcha”, “A Quiet Storm”, “The Agony and the Ecstasy”, “Cruisin'”, “Being With You” and “Just to See Her”. Following the sale of Motown Records in 1988, Robinson left Motown in 1990. He was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1987.
Awards and accolades
- In 1987, Robinson was inducted to the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame
- Two years later, in 1989, he was inducted to the Songwriter’s Hall of Fame
- In 1993, Robinson was awarded a medal at the National Medal of Arts
- Two years before, he won the Heritage Award at the Soul Train Music Awards
- At its 138th Commencement Convocation in May 2006, Howard University conferred on Robinson the degree of Doctor of Music, honoris causa
- In December 2006 Robinson was one of five Kennedy Center honorees, along with Dolly Parton, Zubin Mehta, Steven Spielberg and Andrew Lloyd Webber
- On May 9, 2009, Smokey Robinson received an honorary doctorate degree and gave a commencement speech at Berklee College of Music’s commencement ceremony
On March 20, 2009, The Miracles were finally honored as a group with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. Smokey was present with original Miracles members Bobby Rogers, Pete Moore, (Bobby’s cousin) Claudette Rogers, and Gloria White, accepting for her husband, the late Ronnie White, whose daughter Pamela and granddaughter Maya were there representing him as well. Smokey’s replacement, 1970s Miracles lead singer, Billy Griffin was also honored. Controversially, original Miracle Marv Tarplin was not honored, against the wishes of his fellow Miracles, and the group’s fans, who felt that he should have also been there to share the honor. However, later ,Tarplin did receive his star. He was also finally inducted with the rest of the original Miracles, Bobby Bogers, Pete Moore, Ronnie White,and Claudette Robinson, into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame on April 20th, 2012, some 26 years after Robinson’s controversial solo induction in 1987.
Album of the day:
Ooo Baby Baby: The Anthology (2002)