Smokey Robinson & The Miracles
About Smokey Robinson & The Miracles
The legendary R&B group Smokey Robinson & the Miracles scored 26 Top 40 hits during their initial 15-year run and helped turn Motown Records into a music powerhouse in the 1960s.
• Founding members Smokey Robinson, Warren “Pete” Moore, and Ronnie White first began singing together when they were 11. By the late-’50s, after several name changes and shifting lineups, they were calling themselves The Miracles and singing with Marv Tarplin, Bobby Rogers, and Claudette Rogers (Bobby’s sister), who married Robinson in 1959.
• They first cracked the charts in 1959 with their second single, “Bad Girl,” which reached No. 93 on the Billboard Hot 100. Smokey Robinson co-wrote the song with Berry Gordy Jr., the future Motown impresario, who began collaborating with Robinson in 1958.
• The Miracles broke through in 1960 with their fifth single, “Shop Around,” which reached No. 1 on the R&B chart and No. 2 on the Hot 100. “Shop Around” was the first Motown single to sell a million copies, and it got The Miracles invited onto Dick Clark’s TV show American Bandstand by the end of 1960.
• They next reached the Top 10 in 1962 with “You’ve Really Got a Hold on Me.” “Mickey’s Monkey,” written by Motown’s ace songwriting team Holland-Dozier-Holland and released by The Miracles in 1963, also went Top 10.
• In 1964, Claudette Robinson retired from touring with The Miracles, though she continued to record with the group until 1972. The same year, The Miracles appeared in the concert film The T.A.M.I. Show, alongside The Rolling Stones, James Brown, Chuck Berry, Marvin Gaye, and The Supremes.
• Robinson received top billing in 1965, when the group released their album Going to a Go-Go under the name Smokey Robinson & the Miracles. It was their first Top 10 album on the Billboard 200.
• The Miracles’ greatest run of chart success came in the latter half of the ’60s. Starting with “Ooh Baby Baby” in 1965 (No. 16), the group released 16 Top 40 pop singles through 1969, including the Top 10 hits “I Second That Emotion” and “Baby, Baby Don’t Cry.”
• Their biggest came in 1970 with “The Tears of a Clown,” which topped the pop and R&B charts in the US and reached No. 1 in the UK. In 2002 the song was added to the Grammy Hall of Fame, one of four Miracles songs inducted. (“You’ve Really Got a Hold of Me,” “The Tracks of My Tears,” and “Shop Around” are the others).
• Worn out by life on the road, Smokey Robinston (and Claudette Robinson) left the group in 1972. Billy Griffin stepped in for Smokey Robinson and the group carried on until disbanding in 1978.
• Smokey and Claudette Robinson reunited with Moore, Rogers, and Tarplin to perform on the 1983 TV special Motown 25: Yesterday, Today, Forever. In 2012, The Miracles were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.