Artists   >   R   >  Smokey Robinson
Smokey Robinson

Smokey Robinson

Fact Sheet

Musical genre:R&B  
For the past four decades, singer-songwriter Smokey Robinson has dramatically influenced the face of popular music. He has earned 36 Top 40 hits, a "Living Legend" Grammy Award, a Soul Train "Heritage Award", a NARAS "Lifetime Achievement Award" and berths in both the Rock 'n' Roll Hall of Fame and the Songwriters' Hall of Fame. In February 2003, Smokey was given the most prestigious honor that an artist can receive, a National Medal of Arts Award from the office of President Bush. This velvet-voiced crooner has always been- and continues to be- essential to the soundtrack of our lives.

"My songs are written about love," says Smokey, revealing the deceptively simple secret of his success. "It's an ever-lasting subject. Love always has significance and it never goes out of style."

As timeless as the passions he sings about, Smokey's voice has never lost its smoldering allure. Forty years after his emergence, Smokey still sings with the same sensual passion he is famous for. The singer inadvertently describes his voice on one of his new tracks, "Sleepin' In": "Like butter on a biscuit, hot and sweet, what a tasty treat."

A founding Motown executive, songwriter and producer, Smokey began his career fronting the Miracles, as well as composing tunes for other Motown acts (most notably his work on The Temptations' classic "My Girl"). Now, at the dawn of a new century, the Miracle Man is still going strong. A Quiet Storm, one of Smokey's debut solo albums, was such an influential recording that it spawned its own eponymous radio format.

As frontman for the Miracles, Smokey's song-writing credits include R&B and rock standards like "Shop Around," "Going to a Go-Go," "You've Really Got a Hold On Me," "Tears of a Clown," "Ooh Baby Baby," "I Second That Emotion," and "More Love."

The singer is also renowned for the songs he composed for other Motown artists, including classics like The Temptainons' "My Girl," "Get Ready" and "The Way You Do The Things You Do"; Mary Wells' "You Beat Me To The Punch," "My Guy" and "Two Lovers"; Marvin Gaye's "Ain't That Peculiar" and "I'll be Doggone"; and The Marvelettes' "Don't Mess With Bill." His solo career includes mega hits "Cruisin'," "Being With You," "Just To See Her" and "One Heartbeat."

Over the years, Smokey has maintained a close rapport with his fans. During his performances, the singer displays a sharp comic wit that complements his music. Smokey's Motown recordings have become radio staples in their own night and his songs have been recorded by The Beatles, D'Angelo, Terence Trent D'Arby, Aretha Franklin, Jackson 5, Massive Attack, Dolly Parton, The Rolling Stones and others. Smokey mania reached a new peak in 1987 when new wave rockers ABC scored a hit with their stylish tribute to the Motown legend, "When Smokey Sings." Despite his success, Smokey went into self-imposed exile at the outset of the Nineties to focus on family. Still, as he enters his fourth decade as a professional singer, songwriter and producer, Smokey Robinson refuses to rest on his laurels. The singer recently scored the music for the acclaimed NBC television feature, "The Temptations." He also wrote two songs- "Be Careful What You Wish For" and "Really Gonna Miss You."