Full Name: William Smokey Robinson
Occupation: Song Writer, Record producer, Former Record Executive
Marital Status: Married to Frances Robinson
Born on the 4th of February 1940, the R&B singer Smokey Robinson’s net worth is $100 million. He is one of the richest American artistes who have accumulated lots of wealth from their musical talent. Apart from singing, the iconic musician is also a song-writer, record producer as well as former executive recording artiste.
He is well known for being the front man and founder of Miracles, the Motown Vocal Group. He was also its songwriter and producer. He led it from 1955 to 1972 when he decided to retire from stage to take charge of Motown as its president.
He did not stay out for long because in 1973, he made a comeback on the music scene as a solo singer. His first song after the short absence was Cruisin’ which he produced in 1979. His other hits include Being With You in 1981 and Just to See Her in 1987. Robinson later left Motown in 1990, though this was after its sale which was finalized in 1988.
Birth, Childhood and Early Career
William Smokey Robinson Jr. was born into a very poor family to a mother of French descent and African American father in North End Detroit. He lost his mother to brain hemorrhage and was later raised by an elder sister and her husband. His Smokey nickname was given him by his uncle who often referred to him as “Smokey Joe“. At sometime there were rumors that the uncle gave him the name to refer to his Afro-American roots, something he denied, saying the name was given to him because he loved cowboy movies.
Robinson went to Northern High School. While there, he was described as an above average student with passion for athletics. His major interest however, was music. He soon formed a doo-wop group known as The Chimes.
Musical Interests and Exploits
Robinson says his interest in music was piqued after hearing the groups Billy Ward and his Dominoes as well as Nolan Strong and the Diablos perform over the radio. He formed his first line up of Five Chimes together with his childhood friends like Ronald White in 1955. Another notable person in the squad was a classmate named Peter Moore. After exactly two years, the group was renamed Matadors. This time Bobby Rodgers was included in it. In 1958, a guitarist by the name Marv Tarplin joined the Matadors and together they began touring venues in Detroit. Soon after the tours, the name was changed to Miracles.
Smokey was a well known songwriter in Motown. In 1957 after a failed audition, he carried along with him a notebook that had 100 songs written by him while in high school. He met a fellow songwriter Berry Gordy, who took an interest in his talent as well as vocals. He helped the Miracles to release a single, Get a Job. This actually marked the beginning of a successful collaboration. During the time of the release, Smokey was attending college for an engineering course. After only two months in school, he withdrew to concentrate in his singing.
Between 1962 and 1968, Robinson wrote several songs. Some of the hits he penned include The One Who Really Loves You, My Guy, For Mary, The Way You Do The Things You Do among others. All these songs became great hits, explaining the huge wealth the musician has accumulated.
Awards and Accolades
Robinson has been awarded a star at the Hollywood Walk of Fame. He has been inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. He was awarded a medal in 1987 for both the honors. Smokey was awarded a medal at the National Medal of Arts in 1993. He had also won the Heritage Award two years before at the Soul Train Music Awards. The Howard University conferred the degree of Doctor in Music during their 138th Commencement Convocation.
Marriage and Relationships
Robinson is at the moment married to Frances Gladney. They tied the knot in 2002. His previous relationships include marriage to Claudette Rodgers in 1959 with whom they have two children Berry and Tamia. He has another son, Trey, born in 1984 with another woman after an extra marital affair when he was married to Claudette.