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William  Robinson, Jr. was born today in 1940. He’s better known as “Smokey” Robinson to generation’s of fans though.

Photo of Smokey Robinson

Source: Michael Ochs Archives / Getty

From a very young age Robinson’s real passion was music. In high school he formed the band called the Five Chimes. Then in 1955, Smokey formed a band initially called “The Matadors” along with Ronald White, Pete Moore, Bobby Rogers and Claudette Rogers. After some changes, the group renamed itself “The Miracles” and while touring, met Berry Gordy.  Gordy would later offer the group record contract to Motown Records. The Miracles became one of the first bands to be signed to Motown.

During his over 50-year career in music, Robinson has accumulated more than 4,000 songs to his credit and continues to tour around the world. (Sources: blackfacts.com, smokeyrobinson.com and famousafricanamericans.org)

 

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