Happy Birthday Smokey Robinson, 81 today (2/19)! I worked with Smokey many times over the years.
The Miracles' "Shop Around" was Motown's first million seller in 1960. Over the next 10 years Smokey gave us some truly memorable music: "You've Really Got a Hold on Me" (1962), "Mickey's Monkey" (1963), "Ooo Baby Baby", "Going to a Go-Go", "The Tracks of My Tears" (1965), "(Come Round Here) I'm The One You Need" (1966), "The Love I Saw in You Was Just a Mirage", "I Second That Emotion" and "More Love" (1967) and "The Tears of a Clown" (1970).
Smokey topped the charts as a solo artist with "Cruisin'" (1979) and "Being With You" (1981). "Just to See Her" and "One Heartbeat" were Top 10 hits for Smokey in 1987. Smokey was also a major writer and producer for Motown. He has written 4,000 songs in his distinguished career.
In this interview, recorded at the Legends Of Rock'n'Roll show at EXPO 86 in Vancouver, Smokey recalls meeting Ray Charles, his early days at Motown, working with Mary Wells, the success of "Shop Around", his perspective on Motown founder Berry Gordy, how having kids changed his work ethic.
Smokey Robinson was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1987, and was awarded the 2016 Library of Congress Gershwin Prize for his lifetime contributions to popular music. He recently joined forces with singers Leona Lewis, Tori Kelly and Sam Fischer for a new rendition of Burt Bacharach’s classic “What the World Needs Now,” to benefit the American Red Cross in its disaster relief efforts. Smokey's life story, "Grateful And Blessed" is available now on audible.com.
Catch up with Smokey at smokeyrobinson.com. He's on Facebook at @thesmokeyrobinson and Twitter at @smokeyrobinson. Happy Birthday old friend!