Smokey Robinson

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. ...show more

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. ...show less