Smokey Robinson Biography
Smokey Robinson (born; William Robinson Jr.) is an American singer, songwriter, record producer, and former record executive born on 19th February 1940 in Detroit, Michigan, U.S. He was the founder and frontman of the Motown vocal group the Miracles until 1972. In 2016 he was awarded the 2016 Library of Congress Gershwin Prize for his lifetime contributions to popular music.
How Old is Smokey Robinson/ Smokey Robinson Age
Robinson was born on 19th February 1940 in Detroit, Michigan, U.S. (78 years as of 2018)
Smokey Robinson Family
Smokey Robinson was born to William Robinson and Flossie Robinson. His father was African-American while his mother was also African-American with French ancestry. He has two siblings Rose Ella Jones and Geraldine Burston.
His uncle Claude who was also his godfather nicknamed him ‘Smokey Joe’ when he was young.
‘My Uncle Claude was my favorite uncle, he was also my godfather. He and I were really, really close. He used to take me to see cowboy movies all the time when I was a little boy because I loved cowboy movies. He got a cowboy name for me, which was Smokey Joe. So from the time I was three years old if people asked me what my name was I didn’t tell them my name was William, I told them my name was Smokey Joe. That’s what everyone called me until I was about 12 and then I dropped the Joe part. I’ve heard that story about him giving it to me because I’m a light skinned Black man but that’s not true.’
Smokey Robinson Ethnicity
Robinson is African -American as his parents are also African -American and 1/8th French as his maternal great-grandmother is said to have been of French descent.
Smokey Robinson Wife
Smokey Robinson married Frances Glandney, a fashion designer, in May 2002. He was previously married to his fellow Miracles member Claudette Rogers. They got married in 1959 but their marriage ended in 1986. The marriage broke after Smokey admitted that he had an extramarital affair which had resulted in a son while he was still married. They had previously separated in 1974 due to an extramarital affair that became the concept of the song, “The Agony & The Ecstasy”.
Is Smokey Robinson Gay?
Smokey Robinson is not gay, he is married to his wife Frances Glandney.
Smokey Robinson Children/ Smokey Robinson Kids
Smokey has two children from his first marriage to Claudette Rogers; son Berry Robinson who was born in 1968 (he was named after Motown’s first label founder Berry Gordy), and daughter Tamla Robinson born in 1969 (she was named after the original “Tamla” label set up by Gordy that would eventually become Motown).
Robinson has a third child Trey who was born in 1984. The son was born from an extramarital affair Smokey had while he was still married to Claudette.
Smokey Robinson & The Miracles/ Smokey Robinson Group
Smokey has had an interest in music since he was young. While at Northern High School he formed a doo-wop group named the Five Chimes. He formed his first line up with Five Chimes in 1955 with Ronald White, a childhood friend, and Pete More, his classmate.
In 1957, after Bobby Rodgers joined the band, it was renamed to Matadors. Claudette Rogers later joined the band as a replacement of Emerson Rogers. In 1958 Marv Tarplin, band’s guitarist joined the group. The band later changed their name to ‘The Miracles’.
In 1957 the band released their first single, “Got a Job” on End Records. The single was released after the band met songwriter Berry Gordy who produced them. Gordy formed Tamla Records which was later reincorporated as Motown. He signed The Miracles as his first acts.
In late 1960 the band released their first hit single “Shop Around”. In the mid-1960s, Robinson became the vice president of Motown. He wanted to retire from The Miracles by 1969 to focus more on his duty as the vice president of Motown but he stayed with the group until 1972 due to the success of the group’s “Tears of a Clown”.
Smokey Robinson Motown
Smoke was signed to Motown after he met Berry Gordy in 1957. In the late 1960’s ‘The Miracles’ became Motown’s first act. In the mid-1960’s he became Motown’s vice president. He relinquished his position in 1988 after the company was sold off to MCA in 1988. In 1991 he left Motown record as an artist for a deal with SBK Records. He made a brief comeback to Motown records in 1999 and released his album’Intimate’ on the record. In 2003 he split from the record again.
Smokey Robinson Solo Career
In 1973 Robinson released his solo eponymous come back album ‘Smokey’. The album included the Miracles tribute song, “Sweet Harmony” and the hit ballad “Baby Come Close”. He released his second album in 1974, ‘Pure Smokey’.
He released his third album A Quiet Storm in 1975. His solo career, however, suffered as he relied on other writers and producers to help him with his albums as he was still the vice president of Motown. The company was later sold off to MCA in 1988 and Robinson renounced his position as the vice president.
Robinson wrote ‘Cruisin’ which became a massive hit reaching number one in Cash Box and peaked at number four on the Billboard Hot 100. It was also his first solo number one in New Zealand.
Robinson released ‘One Heartbeat’ in 1987 and the singles, “Just to See Her” and “One Heartbeat” became Top 10 hits on Billboard’s Pop, Soul, and Adult Contemporary charts.
Smokey Robinson and Diana Ross
Smokey Robinson and Diana Ross were friends from since they were pre-teens as they lived down the street from each other. The had a love affair during Diana’s pre-Supreme days as she confirmed in her book ‘Secrets of a Sparrow.’
Smokey was asked if he ever felt jealous when Diana hooked up with his best friend, Berry Gordy, which he said he didn’t mind as he just wanted to see both of his close friends happy. He and Diana had also moved past their relationship at the time.
It was also rumored that Smokey’s first wife, Claudette, knew of his relationship with Diana which prompted her to forbid him from working with Diana. Smokey obliged but when Diana left Supremes he produced one of their hits “Floy Joy” in 1972.
Smokey Robinson Dead/ Is Smokey Robinson Alive
Smokey Robinson is alive. On 2013 it was his friend Bobby Rogers, who was born on the same day in the same Detroit hospital as Smokey Robinson whom he harmonized in high school and eventually in the Hall of Fame singing group the Miracles.
Smokey Robinson Albums/ Smokey Robinson Discography
- 1973: Smokey
- 1974: Pure Smokey
- 1975: A Quiet Storm
- 1976: Smokey’s Family Robinson
- 1977: Deep in My Soul
- 1977: Big Time (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack)
- 1978: Love Breeze
- 1978: Smokin’
- 1979: Where There’s Smoke…
- 1980: Warm Thoughts
- 1981: Being with You
- 1982: Yes It’s You Lady
- 1983: Touch the Sky
- 1984: Essar
- 1986: Smoke Signals
- 1987: One Heartbeat
- 1990: Love, Smokey
- 1999: Intimate
- 2005: My World (The Definitive Collection)
- 1991: Double Good Everything
- 2004: Food for the Spirit
- 2006: Timeless Love
- 2009: Time Flies When You’re Having Fun
- 2010: Now And Then
- 2014: Smokey & Friends
Smokey Robinson Songs
- Sweet Harmony
- Baby Come Close
- It’s Her Turn to Live
- Just My Soul Responding
- Virgin Man
- I Am I Am
- Baby That’s Backatcha
- The Agony and the Ecstasy
- Quiet Storm
- When You Came
- An Old Fashioned Man
- There Will Come a Day (I’m Gonna Happen to You)
- Vitamin U
- Theme from Big Time, Part I
- Daylight and Darkness
- Why You Wanna See My Bad Side
- Shoe Soul
- OOO Baby Baby
- Pops, We Love You (A Tribute to Father)
- Get Ready
- Let Me Be the Clock
- Heavy on Pride (Light on Love)
- Wine, Women, and Song
- Being with You
- Aquí Con Tigo
- You are Forever
- Who’s Sad
- Tell Me Tomorrow – Part I”
- Old Fashioned Love
- Yes It’s You, Lady
- Blame It on Love
- I’ve Made Love to You a Thousand Times
- Touch the Sky
- Ebony Eyes
- And I Don’t Love You
- I Can’t Find
- First Time on a Ferris Wheel
- Hold on to Your Love
- Sleepless Nights
- Because of You (It’s The Best It’s Ever Been)
- Love Will Set You Free (Theme from Solarbabies)
- Just to See Her
- One Heartbeat
- What’s Too Much
- I Know You by Heart
- Love Don’t Give No Reason
- We’ve Saved the Best for Last
- Everything You Touch
- (It’s the) Same Old Love
- Take Me Through the Night
- Double Good Everything
- I Love Your Face
- Easy to Love
- Our Love Is Here To Stay
- You’re The One For Me
- Don’t Know Why
- Love Bath
- Mama, You’re My Daddy Too
Smokey Robinson Net Worth
He has an estimated net worth of $100 Million.