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Smokey Robinson


1940

William “Smokey” Robinson is born in Detroit, Michigan.

1955

Smokey Robinson forms a group - first named the Matadors, then the Miracles - at Detroit’s Northern High School.

1958

“Got a Job,” the first single by the Miracles, is released on the End label. Its release coincides with leader Smokey Robinson’s eighteenth birthday.

1959

Smokey Robinson marries fellow Miracle Claudette Robinson. The marriage will last twenty-seven years and yield two children, Berry and Tamla.

1960

“Shop Around,” credited to “The Miracles (featuring Bill “Smokey” Robinson),” is released. The first national hit for Berry Gordy’s Tamla label, it tops the R&B chart for eight weeks.

1961

Hi We’re the Miracles, the first album by the Smokey Robinson-led group, is released.

1962

The first live “Motortown Revue,” featuring such Motown artists as the Miracles, opens in Boston.

1962

“You’ve Really Got a Hold On Me,” by the Miracles, enters R&B chart, where it will become the group’s second Number One R&B hit.

1965

“My Girl,” written by Smokey Robinson and Ronnie White of the Miracles, becomes a #1 hit for the Temptations.

1965

Going to a Go-Go, by Smokey Robinson and the Miracles, is released. It reaches #8 and yields four hits

1967

The release of “The Love I Saw in You Was Just a Mirage” marks a change in artist credit from “The Miracles” to “Smokey Robinson and the Miracles.” The song will peak at #20.

1968

Greatest Hits, Vol.2, by Smokey Robinson and the Miracles, reaches #7. It will be the highest-peaking album of the group’s career.

1970

“The Tears of a Clown,” by Smokey Robinson and the Miracles, reaches Number One for the first of two weeks.

1972

Smokey Robinson and the Miracles’ concert performances in Washington D.C. are recorded for the album 1957-1972, which ends Robinson’s quarter century with the band he founded. Robinson graduates to a solo career, and the Miracles replace him with Billy Griffin.

1972

Smokey Robinson’s final single without the Miracles, “I Can’t Stand to See You Cry,” is released.

1974

The Miracles’ “Love Machine,” the group’s biggest hit of the post-Smokey Robinson era, reaches Number One.

1975

A Quiet Storm, the third solo album by Smokey Robinson, is released. The title would be adapted as both the name of a radio format and a romantic subgenre of soul, as defined by Robinson.

1981

The biggest hit of Smokey Robinson’s solo career, “Being With You” (#1 R&B, #2 pop), is released.

1987

Smokey Robinson is inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame at the second annual induction dinner. Daryl Hall and John Oates are his presenters.

1994

Motown issues The 35th Anniversary Compilation, a four-CD overview of Smokey Robinson and the Miracles’ remarkable career.

1997

Smokey Robinson reunites with the Miracles to be honored at the eight annual Rhythm and Blues Foundation’s Pioneer Awards in New York.

1999

Smokey Robinson receives a Lifetime Achievement Award at the 41st annual Grammy Awards in Los Angeles.

2004

Smokey Robinson releases Food for the Spirit, his first gospel album and first album of any kind in five years.

Smokey Robinson