Appreciating all that makes America special

Smokey Robinson


Smokey Robinson had most of his hits with the Miracles, a group he helped form in high school. Uploaded by

Smokey Robinson and Berry Gordy, Jr. have each had a tremendous impact on the other’s career. Gordy liked Smokey’s group The Miracles, and became the group’s manager. Smokey saw Gordy’s frustration at not getting proper distribution for his records, and suggested that he start his own label. Gordy started Motown, and within two years, Robinson was a V.P., a post he held for 27 years.

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In 1960, The Miracles released “Shop Around,” which became Motown’s first number one hit. As lead singer, Smokey’s smooth voice was instantly recognized, and his soulful phrasing has often been imitated. Smokey Robinson and the Miracles went on to have sixteen Top 20 hits, and Smokey had a couple more as a solo artist. Among the best-loved are:

  • “Shop Around” (#2, 1960)
  • “You’ve Really Got a Hold on Me” (#8, 1962)
  • “Mickey’s Monkey” (#8, 1962)
  • “Ooo Baby Baby” (#16, 1965)
  • “The Tracks of My Tears” (#16, 1965)
  • “Going to a Go-Go” (#11, 1966)
  • “I Second That Emotion” (#4, 1967)
  • “The Tears of a Clown” (#1, 1970)
  • “Being with You” (#2, 1981 solo)
  • “Just to See Her” (#8, 1987 solo)

Smokey has been well-honored for his wonderful contribution to popular music. The Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award. The National Medal of Arts. The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. And, what must surely have been the pinnacle of his career, a guest judge on American Idol in 2003 during Billy Joel week.


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One Comment

  1. Tears of a Clown is one of my favorite songs of all time, And Smokey was fabulous on The Sing-Off this week, with Afro Blu