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Smokey Robinson , born as William Robinson Jr. (Detroit, 19 February 1940), is a singer, songwriter and record producer of R & B; soul.
He was born and raised in Detroit, Michigan, and when he was still a child he was nicknamed “Smokey Joe” by an uncle, originated from his love of cowboy movies. In his adolescence, this was reduced to “Smokey”. In an interview, Robinson said he has been a friend of Diana Ross since he was eleven years old. In 1955, Robinson founded a group called The Five Chimes with his best friend Ronald White, and with his high school classmates Pete Moore, Clarence Dawson, Grice and James. In 1957, the group was renamed The Matadors and replaced Dawson and Grice with their cousins Emerson and Bobby Rogers. Emerson was later replaced by his sister Claudette Rogers, who later married Robinson. Guitarist Marv Tarplin joined the group in 1958.
With Robinson as a singer, The Matadors began a tour around Detroit. In 1958, Robinson met the singer-songwriter Berry Gordy, who co-wrote the single “Got a job” for them, in response to the success of The Silhouettes, “Get a job.” The group changed its name to The Miracles, and released singles at two labels, End Records and Chess Records. Soon after, Robinson suggested that Gordy start his own label.
In 1959, Gordy founded Tamla Records, which he soon renamed Motown. The Miracles were among the first groups hired. Gordy and Robinson harvested a synergistic relationship, with Robinson providing a base of success for Motown and Gordy acting as a tutor for the budding singer and songwriter. In 1961, Gordy appointed Robinson as vice president of Motown Records, a title that Robinson held as long as Gordy remained in the company.
In 1962 he published the most well-known and widespread song of which he is a composer, “You’ve Really Got a Hold on Me” (originally translated in Argentina as “You really got me”). It was also performed by The Beatles, released on the vinyl LP With the Beatles, in 1963.
In 1987, Robinson entered the Rock Hall of Fame.
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