Smokey Robinson has a net worth of $150 million and is an American R&B and pop singer-songwriter, record producer, and former record executive. Robinson is credited with inventing the Motown sound, which was hugely successful from the 1950s until the 1970s.
Smokey was a crucial member of the Miracles, a singing group who enjoyed a lot of success during the Motown era. Robinson went on to have a successful solo career after leaving the group. He also worked for Motown Records as a vice president. The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inducted Smokey Robinson in 1987.
William “Smokey” Robinson Jr. was born in Detroit, Michigan on February 19, 1940. William was born into an impoverished family in Detroit’s North End and was given the nickname “Smokey” by his uncle Claude.
Claude introduced William to cowboy movies and eventually gave him his own “cowboy name,” “Smokey Joe.” From that time forward, the young William was known as Smokey Joe to everyone. He eventually ditched the “Joe” moniker and went by “Smokey.”
Smokey formed the Five Chimes, a doo-wop group, while still in high school. As a child, Robinson was a huge music fan who listened to a wide range of performers on the radio. Nolan Strong & the Diablos, Billy Ward & His Dominoes, and many others were among them. His doo-wop trio was called the Matadors later on.
Accolades and honors
Smokey Robinson received his own star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame on February 22, 1983. Robinson was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame four years later, in 1987.
Robinson won the Grammy Award for Best Male R&B Vocal Performance in 1988 for his tune “Just to See Her” from the One Heartbeat album. Robinson’s first Grammy Award came in this category. He was elected into the Songwriters Hall of Fame a year later, in 1989.
Robinson received a medal from the National Medal of Arts in 1993. He had earned the Heritage Award at the Soul Train Music Awards two years prior. Robinson was inducted into Michigan’s Rock and Roll Legends Hall of Fame in 2005.
Robinson received the honorary degree of Doctor of Music, honoris causa, from Howard University during its 138th Commencement Convocation in May 2006. Robinson, together with Dolly Parton, Zubin Mehta, Steven Spielberg, and Andrew Lloyd Webber, was one of five Kennedy Center honorees in December 2006.
The Miracles were ultimately honored with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame on March 20, 2009. Original Miracles members Bobby Rogers, Pete Moore, (Bobby’s cousin) Claudette Rogers, and Gloria White, who accepted the award on behalf of her late husband, Ronnie White, whose daughter Pamela and granddaughter Maya were also present.
Billy Griffin, the main singer of the Miracles in the 1970s, was also hailed as Smokey’s replacement.
Original Miracle Marv Tarplin was not acknowledged, despite the pleas of his fellow Miracles and the group’s fans, who believed he should have been present to share the honor. Tarplin did eventually obtain his star.
In 2012, he was inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame alongside the rest of the original Miracles, Bobby Rogers, Pete Moore, Ronnie White, and Claudette Robinson, 25 years after Robinson’s controversial solo induction in 1987. In 2011, he received the Society of Singers Lifetime Achievement Award.
Robinson, along with Linda Ronstadt, got an honorary doctorate degree and gave a commencement speech at Berklee College of Music’s commencement event in 2009. He received the BET Lifetime Achievement Award in 2015.
Robinson earned the Gershwin Prize for Popular Song from the Library of Congress in 2016, and he was inducted into the Rhythm & Blues Hall of Fame in his hometown of Detroit on August 21, 2016.
In 2019, he was honoured with the American Academy of Achievement’s Golden Plate Award by members of the Awards Council Jimmy Page and Peter Gabriel.
Robinson married Claudette Rogers, a fellow Miracles member, in 1959. Berry Robinson (born 1968), the couple’s son, was named after Motown’s first label founder Berry Gordy, and Tamla Robinson (born 1971), the couple’s daughter, was named after Gordy’s initial “Tamla” label, which would ultimately become Motown.
During his marriage to Claudette, Robinson had a son named Trey (born 1984) with another lady. Robinson filed for formal separation and then divorce after admitting to fathering a kid with a woman other than his wife.
In 1986, the divorce was finalized. In 1974, the Robinsons divorced, and around that time, Robinson had an extramarital affair, which inspired the song “The Agony & The Ecstasy” (later featured on A Quiet Storm).
In May 2002, Robinson married Frances Gladney. They have a house in Pittsburgh that they rent out as a winery.
Since 1972, Robinson hasn’t eaten red meat. He is a Transcendental Meditation practitioner. Robinson’s emerald green eyes, which he claims he inherited from his French great-grandmother, are striking.