SMOKEY ROBINSON FACTS:
Genre: R&B, Soul
Hometown: Detroit, Michigan
Hits (with The Miracles): “My Girl,” “Get Ready,” “You Really Got A Hold Of Me,” “Tears Of A Clown.”
When anyone mentions Motown, there are a few names that immediately come to mind. The Supremes, Marvin Gaye and Stevie Wonder are all legends of the genre, but they don't hold a candle to one of the founders of the movement - Smokey Robinson. Commonly referred to as the King of Motown, Robinson has been a force within the music industry for more than 50 years, and though he is over 70 years old, he remains an iconic figure to this day.
Robinson got his start performing soon after he graduated high school as one of the founding members of The Miracles. Widely known for being the first commercially successful Motown group, The Miracles were among the biggest acts of the early '60s. With Robinson providing lead vocals, they released a number of popular hits including "You Really Got a Hold On Me," "The Tracks of My Tears" and "Ooh Baby Baby," all of which proved to have a significant influence on pop music of the following decades, with The Beatles claiming that the music of The Miracles, and of Robinson in particular, was among their favorites.
Though he enjoyed a successful career with The Miracles for more than 15 years, by 1972 Smokey Robinson decided it was time to test the waters of a solo career - and it was a good thing he did. By the middle of the decade he was a bona fide solo star, with songs such as "Quiet Storm," "Cruisin’" and "Being With You" taking his popularity well into the '80s.
Despite a career lull during the mid-80s, Smokey re-emerged by the latter part of the decade and enjoyed somewhat of a career revival. With songs including "Just To See Her" and "One Heartbeat" cracking into the top 10, he also earned a Best Male R&B Vocal Performance. Although his career slowed down during the '90s, he was no less a part of the music and continue to be among the most recognizable artists around.
Over the last decade, he remains a visible performer, often appearing alongside other music legends or on television shows. His stint on American Idol opened up his music to a entirely new generation of listeners, ensuring that his smooth vocals and indelible influence on music are felt for years to come.
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