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Smokey Robinson

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  • Year:
    1987
  • Inducted by:
    Daryl Hall & John Oates
  • Category:
    Performers
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Introduction

America’s greatest poet, according to Bob Dylan.

When it comes to Motown titans, Smokey Robinson is second only to Berry Gordy Jr. Not only did he put the company on the map with his gorgeous, passionate ballads, but he also acted as producer, songwriter, talent scout and vice-president.

Hall of Fame Essay

1987

Michael Hill

William “Smokey” Robinson is a man whose work is synonymous with love - undying love, unrequited love, passionate love—and whose name is synonymous with Motown Records, as leader of the Miracles, as a solo artist, as a songwriter, as a producer and, along with Berry Gordy Jr., as a founding father of the company.

In fact, it was the Miracles’ “Shop Around” that established Motown’s Tamla label. After leasing previous singles to larger labels for distribution, Gordy decided to do it himself in 1959 with the Miracles’ “Way Over There,” which was a modest hit, selling to the tune of 60,000 records.

Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Program 1987
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1987 Inductee Smokey Robinson

Smokey Robinson’s name will forever be linked with the sound of young America.

Jann Wenner

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Collection

 Smokey Robinson Jacket, c. 2008
Smokey Robinson Jacket, c. 2008

Photography: Janet Macoska

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