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Artist: Smokey Robinson

Smokey Robinson

Bio

William "Smokey" Robinson, Jr. (born February 19, 1940) is an American R&B and soul singer and songwriter. Robinson is noted for being one of the primary figures associated with the Motown record label, second only to the company's founder, Berry Gordy. As both a member of Motown group The Miracles and a solo artist, Robinson recorded seventy Top 40 hits for Motown between 1959 and 1990, and also served as the company's Vice President from 1961 to 1988. Early years and formation of the Miracles Robinson was born and raised in Detroit, Michigan, and was nicknamed "Smokey" as a child, because of his love of westerns. The name originally came when an uncle (who would take a young Robinson to see westerns) gave him the name "Smokey Joe", Robinson began being called "Smokey" whilst in his teens. In 1955, Robinson founded a group he called "The Five Chimes" with his best friend Ronnie White, and Northern High School classmates Pete Moore, Clarence Dawson, and James Grice. By 1957, the group was called "The Matadors" and included cousins Bobby Rogers and Claudette Rogers in place of Dawson and Grice. With Robinson as lead singer, the Matadors began touring the local Detroit venues. In 1958, Robinson met songwriter Berry Gordy, Jr., who co-wrote for them the single "Got a Job," an answer song to The Silhouettes' hit single "Get A Job." The group renamed itself The Miracles, and issued singles on both End Records and Chess Records before Robinson suggested to Berry Gordy that he start a label of his own. In 1959, Gordy founded Tamla Records, which he soon reincorporated as Motown. The Miracles were among the label's first signees. Gordy and Robinson had a synergistic relationship, with Robinson providing a foundation for Motown's hit-making success and Gordy acting as a mentor for the budding singer and songwriter. By 1961, Gordy had appointed Robinson vice-president of Motown Records, a title Robinson held for as long as Gordy remained with the company. Motown and The Miracles The 1960 single "Shop Around" was Motown's first #1 hit on the R&B singles chart, and the first big hit for The Miracles. They scored many more hits over the years, including "You've Really Got a Hold on Me" (1962), "Mickey's Monkey" (1963), "Ooo Baby Baby (1965), "The Tracks of My Tears" (1965), "Going to a Go
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News

Smokey & Friends by Smokey Robinson - ArtistDirect

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09/09/2014
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Articles

Smokey Robinson: Quiet Storm NME, May 1975

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HOW MUCH SUGAR do you take?

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Smokey Robinson has soft-shoe-shuffled the thin line between the shiveringly intimate and the shudderingly sentimental for nigh on fifteen years – and, if you've never been prepared to court a surfeit of sweetness in order to savour the bonbon bon-mots of this poet of the close-up zone, you may find yourself spluttering for a brown ale at the mere taste of Smokey's cool-of-the-evening cocktails.

(Ouch. This stuff is catching).

In the case of Quiet Storm you'd be perfectly within your rights to request a stomach-pump for the duration of at least half the programme. When the creator of 'Going To A-Go-Go' gets chumsy-wumsy with Michel Legrand to produce saccharine drivel like 'Happy' (the Love Theme from Lady Sings The Blues no less), it's time to cease seconding that emotion and start talking about his degeneration.

But we've been through all this several times – each time he or his ex-group release a new album in fact – so let's cancel the usual reservations (even though they still apply) and sort out what survives the ever increasing avalanche from Mr. Robinson's own private sugar-mountain.

Namely: 'Baby That's Backatcha' (the U.S. single), 'Love Letters', and 'Coincidentally' – all, significantly, up-tempo numbers. The slightly effete instrumentation – saliently, flute and skylarking synthesizer – works to the detriment of all three, but Smokey's delivery evens the score and generally speaking they hit their discreet light-blue groove just right.

'Happy', 'Quiet Storm', 'The Agony and The Ecstasy' – these are only for those who feel Barbra Streisand to be central to their musical universe. (Fringe NME readers may delete Streisand and instate Roberta Flack; it all simmers down to the same thing eventually).

'Wedding Song' falls midway between the acceptable and the rejectable by virtue of its attractive melody and off-putting lyrics, which revolve around the occasion of Jermaine Jackson's conjoinment with Hazel Joy Berry a couple of years backatcha. Wish The Miracles had been here – a harmony is sobbed for.

Those linking sound-effects are the only other-major drag.

Newcomers may need some lyric litmus, so how's about: I feel like a love letter that you/Pencilled into your life forever/And then decided to erase.

Or: Fancy bumping into you right outside your apartment door/You're the last person that I expected I might see.

No? Ah well – be off with you back to your Blue Oyster Cult then, and let me be a slob in peace.

Also, if anybody has a line on how to develop a special stylus that automatically skips schmaltzers, give me a ring. I need one for my Delfonics' Greatest Hits, you know...?

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Top Albums

The Ultimate Collection cover art

The Ultimate Collection

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A Quiet Storm cover art

A Quiet Storm

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Love Songs cover art

Love Songs

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Top Songs

Cruisin' cover art

Cruisin'

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Being With You cover art

Being With You

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Shop Around cover art

Shop Around

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Quiet Storm cover art

Quiet Storm

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Ooo Baby Baby cover art

Ooo Baby Baby

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Just To See Her cover art

Just To See Her

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The Agony And The Ecstasy cover art

The Agony And The Ecstasy

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