William Robinson Jr. is an American singer, songwriter, record producer, and former record executive director who is professionally known as Smokey Robinson. His interest in music began after hearing the groups Nolan Strong & the Diablos and Billy Ward and his Dominoes on the radio as a child. He was also the vice president of Motown Records from 1961 to 1988. He formed the first lineup of the Five Chimes with childhood friend Ronald White and classmate Pete Moore in 1955. He played with The Five Chimes until 1972 and pursued a solo career and released such popular songs as “A Quiet Storm,” “Tears of a Clown,” “You’ve Really Got a Hold on Me,” and “I Second That Emotion.” He was also inducted into the Black Music & Entertainment Walk of Fame in 2022. Regarding how Robinson got the nickname “Smokey” in an interview in 2012, he revealed it was originally used by his favorite uncle and godfather.
Smokey Robinson famous For
- He is an American singer, songwriter, record producer, and former record executive director.
- He was the founder and frontman of the Motown vocal group the Miracles.
Where is Smokey Robinson from?
Smokey Robinson was born on 19th February 1940 with the real name of William Robinson Jr. in Detroit, Michigan, U.S. He holds American nationality and he came from a mixed ethnic background as his ancestry is also part Nigerian, Scandinavian, Portuguese, and Cherokee. Likewise, his religious belief is in the Christian religion and his race is white. Smokey’s present age is 82 which he celebrated back in 2022 and as per his birthdate, his zodiac sign is Pisces. He is the son of his father, William Robinson, and his mother, Flossie Robinson. He also has two siblings named Geraldine Burston and Rose Ella Jones.
Moving to Smokey’s education, he attended Northern High School, where he was above average academically and a keen athlete. He also went to college and started classes in January 1959, studying electrical engineering. Robinson later dropped out after only two months, following the Miracles’ release of their first record.
Smokey Robinson’s music career
- Smokey Robinson kicks off his singing career by forming the first lineup of the Five Chimes with childhood friend Ronald White and classmate Pete Moore in 1955 which was later renamed the Miracles.
- Then the Miracles released their first single, “Got a Job” with the help of Berry Gordy and became one of the first acts signed to the label.
- The group recorded their first hit single, “Shop Around” in late 1960, which became Motown’s first million-selling hit record.
- Similarly, Smokey produced 26 top forty hits with the Miracles as a lead singer between 1960 and 1970, 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” and many others.
- As well, the Miracles were the first Motown group to change their name in 1966 when they released their 1965 album “Going to a Go-Go” as Smokey Robinson & the Miracles.
- Robinson also wrote lyrics and music for the Contours such as “First I Look at the Purse”, as well as the Four Tops’ “Still Water” and The Supremes’ “Floy Joy”.
- Later by 1969, he 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.
- But, the success of the group’s “Tears of a Clown” made him stay with the group until 1972 as his last performance with the group was in July 1972 in Washington, D.C.
- Subsequently, Smokey announced his comeback with the release of the eponymous “Smokey album”, in 1973, and his second album, “Pure Smokey”, was released but failed to produce hits in 1974.
- Former Beatle George Harrison also featured the track “Pure Smokey” on his 1976 album “Thirty-Three & 1/3” as a tribute to Robinson.
- He wrote the lyrics that became his first solo top ten Pop single, “Cruisin'” which became his first solo number one in New Zealand.
- He made a comeback with the album, One Heartbeat, and the singles, “Just to See Her” and “One Heartbeat” in 1987 which were Top 10 hits on Billboard’s Pop, Soul, and Adult Contemporary charts.
- In 1988, he was inducted as a solo artist to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and relinquished his position as vice president after Motown was sold off to MCA in the following year.
- He apparently left Motown for a deal with SBK Records in 1991 following the release of the album, “Love Smokey”.
Robinson once again split ties with Motown in 2003, releasing the gospel album, “Food for the Soul” on Liquid 8 Records in 2004 and released the standards album, “Timeless Love”, in 2006 on Universal Records.
- He issued the album, “Time Flies When You’re Having Fun” on his own label, Robso Records in 2009, and his first post-Miracles Christmas album “Christmas Everyday” was released on 10th November 2017.
- Also, he visited Fremont-Lopez Elementary School in Stockton, California in April 2017, where he served as a designated arts mentor under Turnaround Arts.
- Additionally, he starred as a special guest on the Fox network’s show “Beat Shazam” as a special guest on 31st July 2018 as well as appeared on the song “Make It Better” from Anderson Paak’s 2019 album “Ventura”.
Awards and Achievements
- Robinson was awarded an individual star on The Hollywood Walk of Fame on 22nd February 1983.
- His single “Just to See Her” from the One Heartbeat album was awarded the 1988 Grammy Award for Best Male R&B Vocal Performance.
- He was awarded a medal at the National Medal of Arts in 1993 and after two years he won the Heritage Award at the Soul Train Music Awards.
- In 2011, he was also awarded the Society of Singers Lifetime Achievement Award.
- He received an honorary doctorate degree along with Linda Ronstadt and gave a commencement speech at Berklee College of Music’s commencement ceremony in 2009.
- He was given a BET Lifetime Achievement Award in 2015 and received the Golden Plate Award from the American Academy of Achievement in 2019.
Is Smokey Robinson still married?
Smokey Robinson is a married singer. He exchanged vows with his beautiful wife Frances Gladney in May 2002. They currently own a home in Pittsburgh and use it as a winery. He was previously married to a fellow Miracles member, Claudette Rogers, in 1959. The couple had two children: a son, Berry Robinson (born 1968), and a daughter, Tamla Robinson (born 1971). Also, Smokey had a son named Trey (born in 1984) with another woman during his marriage to Claudette whose details have not been revealed yet. He filed for legal separation and later filed for divorce after he admitted to having fathered a child with a woman other than his wife. The divorce was finalized in 1986 and he had also separated in 1974; during that separation. Concerning his sexual orientation, he is straight.
What is Smokey Robinson’s net worth?
Smokey Robinson has a net worth of $150 million as of 2023 and he also earns a handsome amount of salary which is around f $13 million per year. Smokey has accomplished heights in his career that normally take an individual a lifetime to achieve. He’s living the American dream and has access to all the world’s luxury and comfort. He has also done endorsement work for several brands from where he gained a fine amount of money. In addition, his major source of income is his singer, songwriter, record producer, and former record executive director career.
How tall is Smokey Robinson?
Smokey Robinson is 179 cm (5 ft 10.5 in) tall and his boy weighs around 82 kg (181 lb). He has attractive golden green eyes, which he believes were passed down from his French great-grandmother. Smokey’s hair color is dark brown and his body build type is average. Furthermore, he has not eaten red meat since 1972 and practices Transcendental Meditation.
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