Thursday, June 9, 2011

Smokey Robinson

Smokey Robinson

A couple of years ago I climbed aboard a big DFW airliner. I was on my way to a photography gig in California. I came aboard, greeted the stewardess, turned to go down the aisle, I looked at the upturned face in the aisle seat of the first row in business class. 

Smokey Robinson

That face was looking me directly in the eyes. He was locked in. But with those staring eyes came a smile that went from ear to ear. That face was so pleasant it momentarily brighten the drudgery of flying. I recognized the man as if he were a close friend. The man was none other than Smokey Robinson.

Smokey Robinson performing

As is my unfortunate habit, I spoke before thinking. First thing on my mind popped out. I felt I was greeting an old friend even though Smokey hadn't a clue who the hell I was. I said, " Smokey ! My man ! How are you ? Well, I would never have guessed it possible but that smile exploded even bigger. Now his whole face was one huge grin. Smokey Robinson was tickled to death he had been recognized. So unlike so many celebrities who think they are above the public. As I continued my march into first class, Smokey immediately reached up and grabbed my hand. We shook for a moment and the guy thanked me for speaking to him. 

Shazzam ! Folks that is a true star ! Smokey showed class when nobody was looking. That's when it really counts.

Smokey Robinson and part of the Miracles

I had to continue my walk to the rear of the plane and never had a chance to visit with the man. But it is a memory I will keep. A huge star, from a fan's point of view, with the humility of a farmer. You have to respect that.

Smokey Robinson and the Miracles

There is a ton of information available on Smokey Robinson and his accomplishments. I will try to summarize and give you the links for a more in depth look at what I consider to be one of our generation's greatest entertainers. But, the memory of his acceptance of a stranger will always be the my highlight of his great career. His humility will always be appreciated above that stupendous talent. 

Smokey Robinson

Smokey received many awards, among them are:

The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. (Cleveland) ?

The Soul Train Music Award for Career Achievement

A Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award.

Smokey Robinson
The National Medal of the Arts.      

The Michigan Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

An Honorary Doctorate from Howard University.

An Honorary Doctorate from Berklee College of Music.

He was a Kennedy Center Honoree.

He has done extensive television work including working as a judge and featured performer on American Idol.

As a member of the Miracles, he was honored by the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

Smokey's singing career came in three parts. The first as lead singer for the Miracles, the second was when the groups name was changed to Smokey Robinson and the Miracles. The third was his solo career.  

In the Miracle phase they scored 25 Chart hits. 14 were in the Top 40 and 3 were in the Top 10.

In the Smokey Robinson and the Miracles phase, they had 19 hit the charts, 12 were Top 40, 2 were Top 10 and 1 went to #1.

As a single act, Smokey charted 32 hits, 8 were in the Top 40 and 3 made it to the Top 10.

Smokey Robinson
Totals look like this:    

76 charted, 34 Top 40's, 8 Top 10's, and 1 #1.

To be frank, I thought he had a lot more top 10's than that but it's what his discography shows. No matter. Click on the videos and enjoy a wonderful writer, producer, arranger and singer. If you never heard of the guy I can promise, you will be a fan before you've heard the second song.

  Web Site       Videos        Mas Info        R&R         Medal 

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