Robinson, Smokey (orig. William Robinson Jr.)
Currently alive, at 75 years of age.
1940 – He was born on the 19th day of February this year in Detroit, Michigan, and when still a child was nicknamed "Smokey Joe" by an uncle because of his love of westerns.
1955 – He founded a group he called "The Five Chimes" with his best friend Ronnie White, and Northern High School classmates Pete Moore, Clarence Dawson, and James Grice.
1957 – The group was called "The Matadors". He included two cousins named Bobby Rogers and Claudette Rogers in place of Dawson and Grice.
1958 – He met songwriter Berry Gordy, Jr., who co-wrote for them the single "Got a Job," an answer song to The Silhouettes' hit single "Get a Job.
1959 – He recorded seventy Top 40 hits for Motown from this year until 1990.
1961 – He served as the President of Motown Recording until 1988.
1969 – The group's fortunes began to falter, and Robinson decided to quit The Miracles so that he could remain at home with his family and concentrate on his duties as vice president.
1970 – Their 1966 recording of "The Tears of a Clown" was released as a single this year. It became a number 1 hit in both the United States and the United Kingdom. Due to the surprise success of the song, he was convinced to remain with The Miracles for a few more years.
1972 – He followed through on his original plans to leave the group, and The Miracles began a six-month farewell tour.
1973 – He began a low-key solo career while concentrating on his duties as vice-president of Motown, releasing his first solo LP, Smokey.
1975 – His solo career went into full-drive after the success of the number 1 R&B hit "Baby that’s Backatcha.”
1980 – In the mid part of this year, he was hooked to cocaine addiction. His recording slowed, and his marriage to Claudette faltered.
1986 – They got divorced this year.
1988 – He published his autobiography, Smokey, and was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
2003 - Since then, Smokey has continued to periodically perform and tour. In this year, Robinson served as a guest judge for American Idol during "Billy Joel Week."
2004 – He issued a gospel LP, Food for the Spirit.
2006 – At its 138th Commencement Convocation, Howard University conferred on Robinson the degree of Doctor of Music.
2007 – He sang 'Tracks of My Tears' at the 49th annual Grammy Awards, as part of an R&B Trio that included Lionel Ritchie performing Hello and Chris Brown performing a Hip-Hop version of his single 'Run It'.
Page last updated: 4:09am, 06