Smokey Robinson is an American R&B and soul singer-songwriter, record producer, and former record executive. Robinson is one of the primary figures associated with Motown Records, second only to the company's founder, Berry Gordy. Robinson's consistent commercial success and creative contributions to the label have earned him the title "King of Motown." As a member of the vocal group The Miracles and as a solo artist, Robinson delivered thirty-seven Top 40 hits for Motown between 1960 and 1987. He also served as the company's vice president from 1961 to 1988.
In 1955, Robinson co-founded a vocal group called The Five Chimes with his best friend Ronald White, and Northern High School classmates Pete Moore , Clarence Dawson, and James Grice. By 1957, the group was renamed the Matadors and included cousins Emerson and Bobby Rogers in place of Dawson and Grice. Emerson was replaced by his sister Claudette Rogers, who later married Robinson. Guitarist Marv Tarplin joined the group in 1958.
With Robinson as lead singer, the Matadors began touring Detroit venues. In 1958, Robinson met songwriter Berry Gordy, who co-wrote for them the single "Got a Job," an answer song to the Silhouettes' hit single "Get a Job." The group renamed itself the Miracles, and issued singles on both End Records and Chess Records. Shortly thereafter, Robinson suggested to Gordy that he start a label of his own.
In 1959, Gordy founded Tamla Records, which he soon reincorporated as Motown. The Miracles were among the label's first signees. Gordy and Robinson had a synergistic relationship, with Robinson providing a foundation for Motown's hit-making success and Gordy acting as a mentor for the budding singer and songwriter. By 1961, Gordy had appointed Robinson vice-president of Motown Records, a title Robinson holds for as long as Gordy remains with the company.
In November 2007, Robinson toured Australia and performed with Australian band Human Nature on the set of local television programme Dancing With The Stars. On 22 November 2007, Robinson was interviewed by Bob Rogers (not to be confused with Bobby Rogers of The Miracles) on Sydney radio station 2CH.
On August 6, 2008, Robinson appeared at Harlem's legendary Apollo Theater with English singer-songwriter Elvis Costello to record a television special combining on-stage interview and performance segments.
On March 25, 2009, Robinson appeared as a mentor on the popular television show American Idol. He coached the top 10 contestants of Season 8, who performed classic Motown songs. He also premiered the first single, "You're the One For Me", which features Joss Stone. The song also became available on iTunes and Amazon, March 26, 2009. The song is an updated version of the song "You're The One For Me Bobby," which he wrote and produced for The Marvelettes in 1968 for their album "Sophisticated Soul." On March 20 2009, The Miracles were finally honored as a group with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. Smokey was present with original Miracles members Bobby Rogers,Pete Moore ,ex-wife (and Bobby's cousin) Claudette Robinson, and ,Gloria White, accepting for her husband , the late Ronnie White. Smokey's replacement, 70's Miracles lead singer, Billy Griffin was also honored. Controversially, original Miracle Marv Tarplin was not honored, against the wishes of his fellow Miracles,and the group's fans, who felt that he should have also been there to share the honor.
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