10 interesting facts about Motown and its incredible artists - did you know…?
As the legendary Smokey Robinson turns 75 on February 19, we share a few interesting facts about the award-winning singer-songwriter.
During his time at Motown Records, Robinson helped to changed music forever and helped turn the label into a global phenomenon.
- He wasn't always 'Smokey'. The singer's birth name is William Robinson Jr. He was often called 'Smokey Joe,' by an uncle and eventually shortened his nickname to Smokey in his teenage years. Robinson has spoken frequently in the past that he thought it sounded like a cowboy name, which he liked.
- He went to school with The Miracles. Then, however, they were known as the Five Chimes. Then they became the Matadors, before eventually becoming The Miracles.
- Smokey Robinson was a key player in Motown. He wrote songs for other artists that went on to become classics. These included ‘My Guy’ (Mary Wells), ‘My Girl’ and ‘The Way You Do the Things You Do’ (The Temptations) and ‘Ain't That Peculiar’ (Marvin Gaye).
- He was vice-president of Motown from 1960 to 1988. He left Motown when the company was sold to MCA.
- Smokey Robinson is a recovered drug addict. In his autobiography, ‘Smokey: Inside My Life,’ Robinson admitted that he was addicted to crack cocaine for a couple of years. He eventually quit thanks to ‘having a religious experience.'
- 'America's greatest living poet.' This is how Bob Dylan described Smokey Robinson.
- Smokey Robinson starred in Sesame Street. He sang 'You've Really Got a Hold on Me,' whilst being accosted by the letter U - look: