Most celebrities have had very difficult childhoods. In fact, most of them wonder just how the tables turned to their advantage. While for others it was good luck, others struggled to be where they are.
One of the stars who rose from grass to grace is Smokey Robinson. The popular musician was born into a poor family and was brought up by a generous elder sister and her husband after the death of his mother from a brain hemorrhage.
At school, Smokey Joe; as he was nicknamed by his uncle, stayed above average academically. While at Northern High School, the adolescent boy then was a very astute athlete, though his love for music was unquestionable as well.
He therefore formed the Five Chimes doo woo group. One of his acquaintances was Diana Ross who lived just a few blocks from where he stayed. He says he knew Ross when she was about eight years.
His greatest inspiration was from the group Nolan Strong & the Diablos. Another was Billy Ward and his Dominoes whose music was played on the radio. He formed a line up with childhood friends Ronald White and Pete Moore who doubled as a classmate.
After two years, they were renamed Matadors and incorporated Bobby Rogers. One member was replaced by Bobby Rogers’ cousin Claudette Rogers. Sometime in 1958, Marv Tarplin joined the group as a guitarist. After touring Detroit venues, they changed the group name to Miracles.
William Robinson Jr. was born in 1940 in the north end area of Detroit. When he was 17, he met songwriter Berry Gordy. This was soon after a failed audition during a Brunswick Recording episode. Gordy was very much impressed by Robinson’s vocals as well as his song writing prowess. Miracles produced their first single, Get A Job, with the help of Smokey Robinson. It was at this time that Robinson had started taking lessons in Electrical Engineering but had to drop out following the single’s release.
When Gordy formed Tamla Records that was later on incorporated into Motown, Miracles was one of the first groups to sign to the label. Their first hit single was Shop Around. It became a multi-million selling hit record. Between 1960 and 1970, he produced 26 hits with Miracles. During the time, he was the lead singer, producer and songwriter. Some of their top hits include Mickey’s Monkey, Baby Baby Don’t Cry, You’ve Really Got a Hold On Me, Tears of a Clown and Going to A Go-Go among others.
He married Claudette Rogers in 1959 and together they got two children namely Berry Robinson, a boy, and Tamla Robinson, a daughter. He had another son from an affair with another woman.
After admitting this, he filed for separation from his wife. After his second separation, he wrote the song The Agony & The Ecstasy. He was also very considerate of his diet and lifestyle during his early adult life.
However, he became addicted to marijuana in his late twenties. He also got addicted to cocaine and crack due to his marital problems and the death of his dad. While he has taken a break off music, his fame can still be felt. His name is inscribed on the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.