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Free Download: "Smokey Robinson in Song" Infographic

Friday, November 6: 10 a.m.
Posted by Rock Hall

Click the image below to downland the FREE full-size Smokey Robinson infographic!

free Smokey Robinson infographic Motown and Smokey Robinson history biggest songs and career highlights illustrated Rock and Roll Hall of Fame

What songs define the career of Smokey Robinson? What are Smokey Robinson's most important tracks? From one of Smokey Robinson's first songwriting collaborations with Motown impresario Berry Gordy in 1959 to the Number Two 1981 pop hit "Being With You," this illustrated history and timeline of key musical moments in Smokey Robinson's career showcases the enduring impact of his music.

As part of its Digital Classroom, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame's education department provides an introduction to rock history as told through the songs that shaped rock and roll.  Students and teachers can explore and find tools, strategies and resources including lesson plans, listening guides and exclusive multimedia content, including infographics like the one featured above.


continue Categories: American Music Masters, Inductee, Education

Singer/Songwriter Eric Roberson's Touching Open Letter to Smokey Robinson

Wednesday, November 4: 6:13 p.m.
Posted by Eric Roberson

On Saturday, November 7, 2015, Eric Roberson will perform as part of the Rock Hall's Music Masters tribute to Smokey Robinson presented by Klipsch audio. Get your tickets before they're all gone!

singer songwriter Eric Roberson Rock Hall 2015 Music Masters tribute to Smokey Robinson concert

Motown was like the soundtrack of my household. That's pretty much all we played, so I was enormously familiar with Smokey Robinson, Smokey Robinson and the Miracles, as well as all the Motown stuff that Smokey wrote.

He was my first example of a songwriter. Period. Not only was he an artist that wrote for himself, but he wrote for all these other artists. And there were all these hits, and it was like, man, this guy is like really working towards the betterment of music, and the betterment of like lyrics.

So as I grew and got into poetry, got into music, I was very much a student of Smokey Robinson, very much a big fan of a lot of his songs that he created, and just all the things he was doing.

It really helped me when I got into the industry and became a songwriter and was pretty well-known and was trying to become an artist as well, most of the labels ...


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JoJo Interview: Love, Songwriting, the Jackson 5 and Smokey Robinson

Wednesday, November 4: 3:22 p.m.
Posted by JoJo

On Saturday, November 7, 2015, JoJo will perform as part of the Rock Hall's Music Masters tribute to Smokey Robinson presented by Klipsch audio. Get your tickets before they're all gone!

Video interview with singer JoJo talking love and Jackson 5 and Smokey Robinson and Motown

I didn't even realize the impact that Smokey Robinson had on me until a few years ago, but his influence is so far-reaching. You can't listen to music - particularly American music - without being touched by Smokey.

I think my first introduction to him was through the Jackson 5, through [the Jackson 5 song] "Who's Lovin' You."

And I was just a huge Jackson 5 fan. I knew all the songs. I loved the Motown sound and just music that was coming up from that time.

I didn't know until a few years ago that Smokey Robinson had written ["Who's Lovin' You"].
So, the fact that I'm going get to sing it to honor him at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame is really trippy.

It's such an incredible song. The way he writes about love is unparalleled. He is the original person to sing, to write about, to really capture the feeling of longing, and being in love, and ...


continue Categories: Inductee, Exhibit, History of Rock and Roll, Event, American Music Masters, Exclusive Interviews

From Apollo Theater to Hall of Fame with Smokey Robinson

Tuesday, November 3: 4:25 p.m.
Posted by Smokey Robinson

Smokey Robinson Rock and Roll Hall of Fame 1987

In this interview, 1987 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Inductee Smokey Robinson reflects on first time at the Apollo Theater and being inducted to the Hall of Fame. Don't miss the Rock Hall's Music Masters tribute concert to Smokey Robinson on Saturday, November 7, 2015.

Wow, to be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame was such a surprise to me, it was such an honor, such a joyful time for me.

I believe, if I'm not mistaken, I was inducted on the second induction [in 1987]. The first induction was Elvis Presley and, oh gosh, Little Richard [in 1986]. But I never thought that I would be in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. It just was something that I said, "Oh wow, this is great."

And they started the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. And it's like a dream. It's like you have this thought that you'd like to be there. You'd love to be recognized like that. It's like when the Miracles and I first went to the Apollo Theater, ever. It was our first really professional date.



We had never really been too ...


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Smokey, Leo, Motown and the Coolest Gig in Cleveland

Monday, November 2: 2:19 p.m.

 

Smokey Robinson and the Miracles live concert at Leo's Casino in Cleveland in 1965 newspaper review Motown

Ask any Clevelander who heard Smokey Robinson perform here early on in his career, and they’ll likely tell you about Leo’s Casino.

Leo’s Casino, designated a historic rock and roll landmark by the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1999, stood at 7500 Euclid Avenue on Cleveland’s east side. From the time it opened in 1963, Leo’s featured Motown artists on a regular basis. “It was a very important club to us,” Motown founder Berry Gordy, Jr., told The Plain Dealer. The Supremes, the Four Tops, the Temptations, Stevie Wonder, and – of course – Smokey Robinson and the Miracles were among the acts that played there, often using the 700-seat, racially integrated venue to hone their acts.

Smokey Robinson and the Miracles live in Cleveland in 1968 at Leo's Casino concert performance newspaper advertisementThroughout the 1960s, the Miracles returned to Leo’s Casino at least once a year for a four-evening stint, performing as many as three shows each night. One of these performances was even filmed in 1966 for a nationally televised documentary on the Miracles. In addition to playing Leo’s traditional “Sweater Night” Thursdays, men’s nights and ladies’ nights, the Miracles – described as “a handsome young group of vocalists” by Cleveland’s Call and Post in 1965 ...


continue Categories: American Music Masters, Hall of Fame, Inductee, History of Rock and Roll, Event

Smokey Robinson Answers the Question: What is "The Tears of a Clown" Really About?

Wednesday, October 28: 2:07 p.m.
Posted by Smokey Robinson

Smokey Robinson and the Miracles "Tears of a Clown" meaning and history of Motown soul Stevie Wonder

"The Tears of a Clown," which is one of the biggest songs and the biggest records that I have ever been associated with as a record artist.

We used to have social gatherings. We had Christmas parties every Christmas. And like I said, all of the others are Motown were very, very, very close. One of my closest brothers is Stevie Wonder. I love Stevie Wonder, okay. And so Stevie came to me at a Christmas party, he said, "Smoke man, I got this track, man, that I've recorded here."

And he said: "It's a great track… but I can't think of a song to go with this track. … listen to this for me and see if you can come up with a song for it." So I said okay. So I took the track, and I took it home and I listened to it.

And when I first heard the track, the track that he gave me that night was complete. It's the one that's on the record. He had already recorded the track and did the music and all that. And so the first thing I hear is [the main theme] – so that ...


continue Categories: Inductee, History of Rock and Roll, Event, Hall of Fame, American Music Masters, Exclusive Interviews

Songs That Shaped Rock and Roll: "My Girl"

Thursday, March 6: 4:45 p.m.
Posted by Rock Hall
On March 6, 1965, The Temptations hit #1 with "My Girl".

Debates about the predominance of singer over song (or vice versa) reign eternal. The Temptations' "My Girl" makes a case for the song. It has one of the most memorable melodies of the rock era, one of Smokey Robinson's most memorable lyrics, and a choral structure that could serve any harmony group from early-1950s doo-woppers to Boyz II Men. Here, meaning comes just as much from atmospheric production and arrangement (also by Robinson, with fellow Miracle Ronnie White) as it does from the song itself. The sound has the ozone-intoxicated feeling you get after a summer thunderstorm. Bass and guitar parts –  particularly that unforgettable intro – rank with the era's most exquisite, and also set up the declamatory crooning of lead vocal. Perhaps the most thrilling moment comes with the soaring bridge: strings and guitar shimmer against the Temptations' hey hey hey, out of which Ruffin emerges with a swooping yet understated oooh yeah. The offhanded ejaculation gives the rest of the lyrics' romanticism complete credibility.

The Temptations are among the artists featured in the Detroit section of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum's Cities and Sound exhibit, part of the Museum's permanent collection.


continue Categories: Songs That Shaped Rock and Roll, History of Rock and Roll, Hall of Fame, Today in Rock, Exhibit, Inductee

Smokey Robinson on songwriting and the women of Motown

Thursday, July 21: 1:35 p.m.
Posted by Rock Hall

No single figure has been more closely aligned with Motown than indcutee Smokey Robinson. In addition to leading the Miracles, he served as a Motown producer, songwriter, talent scout and Berry Gordy’s most trusted confidant and right-hand man. On Saturday, June 18, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum welcomed Robinson for a special live interview as part of the Museum's Hall of Fame Series. Dr. Lauren Onkey, vice president of education and public programs at the Rock Hall, interviewed Robinson - watch below for highlights from the event.

WATCH: Smokey Robinson discusses the art of songwriting


WATCH: Smokey Robinson talks about the women of Motown


WATCH: Smokey Robinson offers songwriting advice to aspiring musicians


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