Thursday, June 18, 1970

Musical Artist - Robinson, Smokey

William "Smokey" Robinson is an American singer, songwriter, and music executive. He is one of the pivotal figures in music in the second half of the twentieth century, and should be regarded as one of the architects of modern popular music. Robinson, along with his band the Miracles, was one of the first acts Berry Gordy signed when he founded Motown Records - in fact, Robinson had been working with Gordy prior to the existence of Motown.

In the early years of Motown, Robinson was one of the labels primary songwriters, writing or co-writing several hits that were recorded by other artists such as The Way You Do the Things You Do, My Girl, and Get Ready for the Temptations, I'll Be Doggone and Ain't That Peculiar for Marvin Gaye, and My Guy for Mary Wells. Although he was later eclipsed by other songwriters for the label, it seems clear that without Robinson's work setting the tone and establishing the Motown "sound", Motown would not have been nearly as successful and may not have even existed long enough for other songwriters to eclipse Robinson.

In addition to his songwriting, Robinson also fronted the Miracles, which were eventually renamed Smokey Robinson and the Miracles. With Robinson at the head, the Miracles turned out a couple dozen hits in the 1960s and early 1970s, including Shop Around, You've Really Got a Hold on Me, I Second That Emotion, Baby Baby Don't Cry, The Tears of a Clown, Ooo Baby Baby, and The Tracks of My Tears. Robinson left the Miracles in 1972 and carved out a solo career over the next decade and a half that featured highlights such as Cruisin', Being with You, Just to See Her, and One Heartbeat. Several hits penned and originally recorded by Robinson were also recorded by other artists who had hits with them, such as Captain and Tennille's cover of Shop Around, Linda Ronstadt's cover of Tracks of My Tears, and Huey Lewis and Gwyneth Paltrow's cover of Cruisin'.

In addition to his songwriting and recording efforts, Robinson was also a record executive, serving at the vice-president of Motown records from the mid-1960s until 1988. He also worked as a producer for the label.

Robinson has been inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, the Songwriters Hall of Fame, and has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. He won a Grammy in 1988 for his vocal on the single Just to See Her.

Robinson has a web site named Smokey Robinson. He can also be found on Twitter and Facebook.

Musical Monday Selections:

06/04/18: Cruisin'

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