Smokey Robinson

Singer + Songwriter + Record Producer + Record Executive

William "Smokey" Robinson, Jr. 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.… Read More

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News + Updates

Browse recent news and stories about Smokey Robinson.

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    How Hit Pop Songs Became The Soundtrack Of American History
    Huffington Post - Dec 05, 2016
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  • Adam White's Motown Book Is A Stunner
    Huffington Post - Sep 19, 2016
  • The Fears Of A Clown
    NPR - Aug 06, 2016


Learn about the memorable moments in the evolution of Smokey Robinson.


1940 Birth Born on February 19, 1940.


1955 15 Years Old 1 More Event
Robinson led the group from its 1955 origins as the Five Chimes until 1972 when he announced a retirement from the group to focus on his role as Motown's vice president. … Read More
1957 17 Years Old In August 1957, Robinson and the Miracles met songwriter Berry Gordy after a failed audition for Brunswick Records. … Read More
1959 19 Years Old 1 More Event
During this time, Robinson attended college and started classes in January 1959, studying electrical engineering. … Read More


1960 20 Years Old Between 1960 and 1970, Robinson would produce 26 top forty hits with the Miracles as lead singer, chief songwriter and producer, including several top ten hits such as "You've Really Got a Hold on Me", "Mickey's Monkey", "I Second That Emotion", "Baby Baby Don't Cry" and the group's only number-one hit during their Robinson years, "The Tears of a Clown". … Read More
1962 22 Years Old Between 1962 and 1966, Robinson was also one of the major songwriters and producers for Motown, penning several hit singles such as "Two Lovers", "The One Who Really Loves You", "You Beat Me to the Punch" and "My Guy" for Mary Wells; "The Way You Do The Things You Do", "My Girl", "Since I Lost My Baby" and "Get Ready" for the Temptations; "When I'm Gone" and "Operator" for Brenda Holloway; "Don't Mess With Bill", "The Hunter Gets Captured by the Game" and "My Baby Must Be a Magician" for the Marvelettes; and "I'll Be Doggone" and "Ain't That Peculiar" for Marvin Gaye. … Read More
1969 29 Years Old By 1969, Robinson wanted to retire from touring to focus on raising his two children with his wife Claudette and on his duties as Motown's vice president, a job he had taken on by the mid-1960s after Esther Gordy Edwards had left the position.


1972 32 Years Old 1 More Event
However, the success of the group's "Tears of a Clown" made Robinson stay with the group until 1972.
1973 33 Years Old After a year of retirement, Robinson announced his comeback with the release of the eponymous Smokey album, in 1973. … Read More
1974 34 Years Old 1 More Event
In 1974, Robinson's second album, Pure Smokey, was released but failed to produce hits. … Read More
1975 35 Years Old Robinson answered his critics the following year with A Quiet Storm, released in 1975. … Read More


1981 - 1983 2 More Events
1986 46 Years Old After Robinson admitted this, he filed for legal separation and, later, divorce, which was granted in 1986.
1987 47 Years Old In 1987, following a period of personal and professional issues, Robinson made a comeback with the album, One Heartbeat and the singles, "Just to See Her" and "One Heartbeat", which were Top 10 hits on Billboards Pop, Soul, and Adult Contemporary charts.
They were aided by hugely popular music videos. "Just to See Her" won Robinson his first Grammy Award in 1988. … Read More


1990 50 Years Old Following the release of the album, Love Smokey, in 1990, Robinson left Motown for a deal with SBK Records in 1991. … Read More
1999 59 Years Old Robinson remained virtually quiet during the nineties (though he would make a notable cameo appearance in The Temptations 1998 miniseries), making a brief comeback in 1999 when he re-signed with Motown and issued the album, Intimate, which included the song "Easy to Love".


2002 - 2004 3 More Events
2006 66 Years Old Two years later, Robinson released the standards album, Timeless Love, in 2006 on Universal Records.
2009 69 Years Old In 2009, he issued the album, Time Flies When You're Having Fun on his own label, Robso Records. … Read More
2010 70 Years Old He subsequently released "Now And Then" in 2010, which peaked at number 131. … Read More
Though Robinson was not listed as an inductee, he was due to induct his former group at the ceremony in April 2012. … Read More
2015 75 Years Old In 2015, he was given a BET Lifetime Achievement Award.
2016 76 Years Old In 2016 Robinson will be awarded the Gershwin Prize for his lifetime contributions to popular music.
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