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Publisher's Summary

If any artist could brag about his contribution to the pop culture canon, it’s Smokey Robinson. His career is filled with so many “he was there” moments it’s a wonder he doesn’t recall them with the swagger of a conquering hero: songwriting and singing as a teenager in Detroit; co-founding Motown Records with Berry Gordy; creating 26 Top 40 hits with his group The Miracles; helping to spark racial integration of popular music in the 1960s; discovering hitmakers like Diana Ross and the Supremes; penning tunes for a jaw-droppingly diverse group of artists including Marvin Gaye, The Beatles, The Jackson Five, Kim Carnes, Linda Ronstadt; and releasing smash hits as solo artist well into the 1980s.

But surprisingly, and delightfully, Robinson is as awed by his success as we are listening to him describe it. He guides us through his extraordinary career with the same giddy sense of discovery and delight that music fans recall the first time they heard one of his infectious tunes.

He takes us back to his group’s first, disastrous performance at the Apollo Theater, opening for a brilliant and generous Ray Charles. He describes daily life at the famed Hitsville studio in Detroit, where a young Diana Ross or Martha Reeves could be found working as the receptionist. He shares his pride in being an influence on the Beatles and hearing his songs on their album - a transforming moment for the Motown sound. “I ain't never heard no popular white boys say anything like that ever. For them to come out and tell the world? They were my guys from then on.”

And, of course, he takes us inside his songs. He describes where he was - shaving in the mirror at home - when “The Tracks of My Tears” finally came together. He remembers taking the wheel on the last 150 miles back to Detroit after a tour, humming the melody that would become the Temptations hit “The Way You Do the Things You Do.” He recalls being floored by the way a 10-year-old Michael Jackson brought a depth and soul to “Who’s Loving You.” And he explains where the term “Quiet Storm” originated, a song title that went on to become an entire musical genre.

It’s a journey Robinson revisits with a grateful, humble heart. He has no agenda to push, no axes to grind, no scores to settle. He reflects on the ups as well as downs, and looks back with appreciation for the people who put love in his life. That makes listening a distinct pleasure: You get to spend time with a hugely influential artist who is warm, upbeat, and proud to have built a life and career through his art.

©2020 Smokey Robinson (P)2020 Audible Originals LLC

About the Creator and Performer

William "Smokey" Robinson, Jr., is a legendary singer-songwriter, record producer, record executive, and co-founder of Motown Records. Robinson and his group, The Miracles, met Berry Gordy who was impressed with Robinson's vocals and ambitious songwriting. With his help they released "Got a Job." It was the beginning of a successful collaboration and the beginnings of Motown.
In 1960, The Miracles recorded their and Motown’s first million selling hit, "Shop Around." Between 1960 and 1970, Robinson would produce 26 Top 40 hits with the Miracles including "You've Really Got a Hold on Me", "I Second That Emotion" and the group's only number-one pop hit, "The Tears Of A Clown."
Robinson was one of the major songwriters and producers for Motown, penning several hit singles such as "Who’s Loving You," "My Guy," "The Way You Do The Things You Do", "My Girl", "Get Ready," and "Ain't That Peculiar." His most successful solo album, A Quiet Storm, yielded three hit singles, "Baby That's Backatcha", "The Agony & The Ecstasy," and "Quiet Storm." He hit the top of the charts again several years later with "Cruisin'," "Being with You," and teamed up with fellow Motown label mate Rick James for the R&B ballad, "Ebony Eyes".
Robinson made a triumphant return in the 80s with the album One Heartbeat and the singles "Just to See Her," which earned Robinson his first Grammy Award, and "One Heartbeat," both Top 10 hits. In the same year, he was inducted as a solo artist to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. In recent years, Robinson released the standards album, Timeless Love, Time Flies When You're Having Fun, Now And Then, and Smokey & Friends. He released his first ever solo Christmas album, Christmas Everyday in November 2017 as an Amazon exclusive.

What listeners say about Smokey Robinson: Grateful and Blessed

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Just incredible!!!!!

Smokey Robinson is an icon and all around talent. Thank you for this it was wonderful. God bless you Smokey ❤️

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Loved it!

As a kid Smokey's voice was too much! All the slow songs and how it held a key for minutes. Too smooth. Ha! My family LOVED him, especially my granny. As a kid you don't appreciate soul music as you should and not as interested in the value of a wonderful back story. So glad I've matured and understand history is life. This book provides heritage and history of a powerhouse genre. I remember very song, but learning the back story and Smokey's contribution was wonderful. Thank you Audible for giving us more insight to a phenomenal living legend.

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Man Crush

I've loved Smokey Robinson since I first heard "Shop Around." I've seen him 4 times in concert over 5 decades and I'm not quick to tears but "Ooo Baby Baby" brought raindrops to my eyes at each performance. The story he tells about the inspiration for Ooo Baby Baby is so cool. And his inspiration from a Sam Cooke record to write, "You Really Got A Hold On Me." is just another great story. He sings a number of his songs on this recording and his voice is ageless. If he ever does a reprise, I would like to hear the story behind "Just To See Her." I know Smokey didn't write it but he sure did sing it. He closed two of the shows I saw with it and people were on their feet singing along. The first time I saw him was in 1965 at the Uptown Theatre in Philadelphia. I was one of 4 white people in the audience - me and three friends. The lineup that night was Charley and Inez Fox, Ike and Tina Turner, a couple of Philly groups: The Volcanos and the Intruders, and the Four Tops. Smokey and the Miracles closed the show. After the 4 Tops went off, all the lights in the house dimmed, and very large police officers made their way towards the stage. I thought there was a bomb scare or something. Then the off-stage announcer Georgie Woods said, "The Uptown Theater in association with WDAS radio and Georgie Woods productions is proud to present SMOKEY ROBINSON AND THE MIRACLES!" The drums started banging, the curtain opened, the band was playing "Going To A Go-Go" and Smokey was out front singing. What happened next is forever inscribed in my mind. Girls came flying out of their seats rushing the stage longingly saying, "Smokey" and these police offers were throwing them back towards their seats. I knew I liked Smokey but to these young women, he was the Black Elvis. Bob Dylan called him the "Master Poet From The Motor City." You will love this recording if you love Smokey.

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The story behind the music is fun

I did tell my family to skip Part 12 where he became addicted and how religion saved him. I'm happy for him and it's great he kicked drugs but it became a bit too religious for me. He's an amazing talent. I went to a Sesame Street letter U performance when he got to the song You Really Got a Hold On Me.

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Loved it.

A great summary covering at least 4 decades of life. I would certainly recommend listening to this book. It's amazing how God works miraculously in our lifes and it's wonderful to celebrate His greatness.

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Must listen!

This is a very worthwhile listen.The words and music of Smokey Robinson! I just keep listening and will enjoy this a second time.

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Love Love Love Smokey!

I really enjoyed Smokey's story along with his beautiful singing and lyrics. Excellent Excellent job!

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Marvelous Smokey. Keep on keepin on

His history as remembered by Smokey and told by him is a marvelous story. Having grown up in the 50’s on I was a huge fan of him and Motown. I’ve seen him in concert numerous times during my years in high school and some college. Love you bro. Tracks of My Tears was my favorite.

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love me some Smokey

I find Smokey's story captivating. Love the music. It was a nice cruise down memory lane.

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Loved This!!

Hearing the history behind his music Is amazing. I wish this was much more longer. Great listen!!

1 person found this helpful