Monday, July 16, 2012

40 Year Itch : When Smokey Sings ...Solo


On July 16, 1972 Smokey Robinson and the Miracle performed their last concert together in Washington DC. Robinson said  he was retiring from the Miracles to concentrate on his job as a Motown vice president.
Robinson had first told the band  that he wanted to leave in 1969 to help his wife Claudette with the kids but after the four year old song "Tears of A Clown" hit #1 in 1970, he reconsidered.

Robinson and The Miracles charted about 50 hit singles including Motown's first million selling record "Shop Around", "You've Really Got a Hold On Me", "The Tracks of My Tears", "Tears of a Clown " and "I Second That Emotion".

For the final show Smokey's wife Claudette Robinson rejoined the Miracles onstage for the first time since 1964. Waiting in the wings was Billy Griffin, a Baltimore singer who traveled with the Miracles as Smokey's understudy during the farewell tour. At the end of the concert Robinson introduced Griffin to the crowd. After the show Robinson told reporters most of all he'll miss "the fellows. Just being with them, man. We've had a gas of a time."

 The last Smokey Robinson and The Miracles studio album, Flying High Together, was also released in July of 1972. It featured the R and B top ten "We've Come Too Far To End It All" and a large number of covers that were hits for others like "Oh Girl" ( The Chi Lites), "Got To Be There" ( Michael Jackson) and "Betcha By Golly Wow" ( The Stylistics).

In 1973 Robinson was back on the radio as a solo artist. His singles "Baby That's Backatcha" hit #1 on the R and B charts in 1975. 1981's "Being With You" was an even bigger monster hit .
With Griffin, The Miracles would endure and score a #1 hit in 1976 with the synthesizer driven disco hit  "Love Machine".

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