Recently, Maestro Media featured Tunde Folawiyo in the news section of their site. This man is a lover of many types of music, but is particularly fond of R&B and soul artists like William Robinson. Known to his fans as ‘Smokey’ Robinson, this singer-songwriter hails from the USA, and is perhaps most famed for the role he played in helping to operate the Motown label with his friend Berry Gordy. Over the course of his career – as both a solo artist, and as a band member of The Miracles – Robinson has released seventy hits, all of which have made it into the Top 40 charts. Between 1961 and 1988, he also served as the vice president of the above-mentioned record label.
Robinson was born in 1940, in the city of Detroit. He was raised in a housing project known as Brewster, and was nicknamed ‘Smokey Joe’ by his uncle. His love for music developed after he began to listen to performers such as Billy Ward and His Dominoes, and Nolan Strong and The Diablos. At the age of 15, he formed a band of his own, which he called The Miracles. After two years, they changed the name to The Matadors; however, this was a short-lived title, as Robinson and his band mates decided to return to their original name during the late fifties.
As a history buff, Tunde Folawiyo might know that in 1959, Ben Gordy founded the label Motown, and The Miracles became the company’s first client. Robinson and Gordy worked well together, with the latter serving as a mentor to the young singer-songwriter. Throughout the next ten years, the band rose to fame, enjoying a considerable amount of success on both the R&B and pop charts, with singles such as ‘Going to a go-go’, ‘You’ve really got a hold on me’ and ‘Tracks of my tears’. Robinson’s stage presence, coupled with his voice and song-writing abilities, led to him emerging as the star of the band, so much so that in 1966, they changed their name to Smokey Robinson & The Miracles.
Robinson started to work on his solo career during the early seventies, releasing his first single, ‘Sweet Harmony’ in 1973. By 1975, he had established himself as a solo artist, having had a Number 1 hit on the R&B charts with the song ‘Baby that’s backatcha’. The following year, he released his album, ‘Quiet Storm’, along with a single of the same name. This was very well received by his fans, as were his subsequent songs, ‘Tell me tomorrow’, ‘Being with you’ and ‘Cruisin’.