Born on this day in 1940, Smokey Robinson is one of the most well-known and commercially successful singers of his time. He was the founder, leader, and songwriter of The Miracles, a staple of the iconic Motown Records‘ lineup from the late 50’s to the early 70’s. He was once referred to as America’s “greatest living poet” by Bob Dylan–high praise from the man whom many believe holds that title himself. He would also go on to have an illustrious solo career, as well as work his way up to high-level executive positions at Motown. Despite his wide-ranging successes as a songwriter, producer, record executive, and more, Smokey’s legacy is and will always be his incomparable smooth, silky voice. In honor of his birthday today, take a look back at some classic videos of Smokey wooing crowds with his one-of-a-kind pipes:
First, check out footage of Smokey performing “Cruisin” in 1979, courtesy of YouTube user Jorge Hits Official:
Next, take a listen to “The Tears of a Clown” performed by Smokey Robinson and the Miracles on the Andy Williams show in 1971, via YouTube user WARHOL IS OVER:
Finally, check out this 70’s-era TV performance by Robinson and George Michael at the iconic Apollo Theater, thanks to YouTube user Claudia Hernandez. The number’s introduction by the now-defamed Bill Cosby is a little strange to viewers in 2017, but the soulful performance by the two superstar singers more than makes up for that. Enjoy!
A very happy birthday to Smokey Joe!