How much is Smokey Robinson worth?
|Net Worth:||$155 Million|
|Date of Birth:||February 19, 1940|
|Country:||United States of America|
Who Is Smokey Robinson
Smokey Robinson was raised in Detroit’s North End area. When he was a little boy, an uncle gave him the nickname ‘Smokey Joe,’ which stuck and over time evolved to just ‘Smokey.’ Smokey began singing seriously in his teens and while in high school in 1955 formed a vocal group called The Five Chimes with four friends. The name was eventually changed to The Matadors, and by 1957, they had become The Miracles. In 1958, Smokey was preparing to enter college to study electrical when, after a chance meeting with songwriter Berry Gordy, Smokey decided to put off college and focus on songwriting with Gordy.
Real name: William Robinson Jr. Born: Feb. 19, 1940 in Detroit, Michigan. Raised in the Detroit area.
Early Motown Days
Smokey’s group, The Miracles began its career recording singles for a small, local label called End Records as well as for Chess Records. Eventually, the group signed with Berry Gordy’s first label, Tamla Records, which was later renamed Motown Records. In addition to being part of the group, Smokey was also made vide president of the label and was one of the chief songwriters. Also, The Miracles were not only the label’s first act, but also generated it’s first hit on the Billboard R&B; chart, the 1960 single “Shop Around.” The song, which was written by Smokey and Berry, went on to sell over a million copies.
With The Miracles
The Miracles, which were renamed The Miracles feat. Bill “Smokey” Robinson and then Smokey Robinson & the Miracles, went on to have a successful career on the Motown label. Among the hits the group is known for are the 1962 song “You’ve Really Got a Hold On Me,” “Ooh Baby Baby” and “The Tracks of My Tears” (both 1965). During this time, Smokey also continued his songwriting duties for the label, and penned numerous songs that become hits for others, including The Temptations’ 1964 hit “My Girl,” which Smokey wrote about his then-wife Claudette, a singer who joined The Miracles in 1957 and married Smokey in 1959.
Smokey left The Miracles for a solo career in 1972 and had a string of hit R&B; songs from the mid-1970s to the mid-1980s, including “Crusin” in 1979 and the Rick James duet “Ebony Eyes” in 1983. In the ’70s, Smokey was one of the pioneers of the “Quiet Storm” genre of smooth, soothing, jazz-like R&B.; By the mid-1980s, however, Smokey was deeply addicted to cocaine and was divorced by his wife Claudette in 1986 and left Motown after it was sold to MCA in 1986. Smokey eventually broke his cocaine addiction with the help of friends and religion and went on to revive his career. His most recent album was released in 2009.
Critic: ‘Time Flies When You’re Having Fun’
Smokey Robinson’s still got it. Although he’s almost 70 years old and has spent more than 50 years in the spotlight as a singer and songwriter, Smokey’s still got skills. And although his latest album, Time Flies When You’re Having Fun (released in the U.S. on Aug. 25, 2009), isn’t a perfect album, there’s still more than enough quality material to make his devoted fans happy. Other than one cover song, Time Flies is filled with all-new material, and although Smokey plays it too safe sometimes (resulting in a few boring songs) other tracks are as steamy and sexy as anything he recorded back in his ’70s heyday.
Although there aren’t any bad songs on the album, the really, really good songs on Time Flies aren’t the radio-friendly tracks that are packed up front. After the first four songs, the album really begins to hit its stride, starting with “One Time,” an up-tempo track about a man who’s trying to sweet talk a woman to give him some lovin’: “If what I see is what I get, I’d like to touch it all,” he sings. And on the next song, the sensual “Please Don’t Take Your Love,” Smokey sings in three different languages – Spanish, French and English – to try convincing his love not to leave him: “Por favor, S’il vous plai, please please please, don’t take your love away.” Another hot song is the bass guitar-driven “Love Bath,” wherein Smokey sexily sings about spending some quality time in the tub with a bathing partner.
The thought of a senior citizen getting his groove on may sound weird, but to Smokey’s credit, he sounds as natural now singing about love and romance as he did back when he was a member of the Miracles in the Sixties and Seventies. Even after all these years, he’s managed to retain the essence of what made him great: his tender, romantic voice. The album’s big drawback, as mentioned above, is that the album is front-loaded with generic songs meant for radio airplay.
Smokey’s cover of Norah Jones’ mega-hit “Don’t Know Why” gets credit for being vastly different from the original, but Smokey’s version is as bland as solid beige wallpaper. Also, the usually powerful Joss Stone sounds disappointingly plain on the duet “You’re the One for Me.” Apparently, either she consciously toned down her usual style in order to better mesh with Smokey’s soft vocals, or her vocals were mixed down afterward. On the other hand, India.Arie shines on another duet, “You’re Just My Life,” but it’s too bad that the ballad’s tucked away at the end of the album. In fact, if the album as a whole had it’s entire tracklist reversed, it would probably be a better listen. As is, the most compelling material on Time Flies is the last few songs, while the forgettable material is front and center.
Overall though, the album is a nice, solid addition to Smokey’s discography. Unlike many aging singers, Smokey manages to not embarrass himself by recording material meant for a much younger singer, and he thankfully doesn’t embarrass himself by trying to sound or act much younger than he is in order to try attracting a younger demographic. This album is a classy, dignified, respectful collection of songs that is pretty likely to please most of Smokey’s longtime fans.
Awards & Accolades
2005: Inducted into the Michigan Rock and Roll Legends Hall of Fame.
2002: Received the U.S. National Medal of Arts.
1999: Received the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award.
1988: Won the Best Male R&B; Vocal performance for the song “Just to See Her.”
1987: Inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame.
2009: Time Flies When You’re Having Fun.
2006: Timeless Love.
2004: Food For the Spirit (Gospel album).
1999: Intimate. 1991: Double Good Everything.
1990: Love, Smokey.
1989: One Heartbeat.
1986: Smoke Signals.
1983: Touch the Sky.
1982: Yes It’s You Lady.
1981: Being with You.
1980: Warm Thoughts.
1979: Where There’s Smoke…
1978: Love Breeze.
1977: Deep in My Soul.
1976: Smokey’s Family Robinson.
1975: A Quiet Storm.
1974: Pure Smokey.