About Smokey Robinson
Legendary R&B singer and songwriter Smokey Robinson helped to define the sound of Motown in the ’60s. He subsequently built an impressive solo career that’s kept him relevant well into the 21st century.
• In 1955, at age 15, the Detroit native formed The Five Chimes—later known as The Matadors and ultimately The Miracles.
• The Miracles signed with Motown and broke through with 1960’s “Shop Around,” the label’s first single to sell a million copies.
• The group—renamed Smokey and the Miracles in 1965—notched 16 Top 40 pop hits during their initial 15-year run. The list includes classics like “You’ve Really Got a Hold On Me,” “I Second That Emotion,” and “Tears of a Clown.”
• Robinson left the group in 1972 to focus on his duties as the VP of Motown, a position he’d landed in the ’60s. He soon reemerged as a solo act, and in 1975, he released the groundbreaking album A Quiet Storm. The LP’s laid-back sound spawned an entire R&B radio format.
• The 1975 single “Baby That’s Backatcha” was his first of two solo No. 1 hits on the Billboard R&B chart.
• Robinson returned to the Top 5 of the pop charts with the 1979 smash “Cruisin’.” His next major hit came with 1981’s “Being With You,” an R&B chart-topper that crossed over to No. 2 on pop.
• His 1987 album One Heartbeat features the single “Just to See Her,” which earned Robinson his first Grammy, for Male R&B Vocal Performance.
• Featuring the likes of Elton John, Mary J. Blige, and Miguel, 2014’s star-studded Smokey & Friends hit No. 1 on Billboard’s Top R&B Albums.
• In 2019, Robinson appeared on “Make It Better,” a single from Anderson .Paak’s Grammy–winning album Ventura.
• Robinson was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1988. He’s also received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, a Lifetime Achievement Grammy, and a Library of Congress Gershwin Prize. He was given the National Medal of the Arts in 2003, and he was recognized at the Kennedy Center Honors in 2006.
BORNFebruary 19, 1940