William "Smokey" Robinson, Jr. (born February 19, 1940) is an R&B and soul singer and songwriter. Robinson is noted for being one of the primary figures associated with the Motown record label, second only to the company's founder, Berry Gordy As both a member of Motown group The Miracles and a solo artist, Robinson recorded seventy Top 40 hits for Motown between 1959 and 1990, and also served as the company's Vice President from 1961 to 1988.
- …I still have a bunch of childlike [energy] in me. I still feel young and vibrant. I don’t ever want to lose that. I still feel that way. I’m 80, but I feel like I’m 30. I really do, physically and emotionally. I was a kid, and I was getting a chance to embark upon a life that I had thought was my impossible dream. Where I grew up, I didn’t think it was going to be possible for me to actually be in show business, to write songs and sing and make records, and all that. But that was my dream. It was what I wanted to do with my life, if possible. And I didn’t think it would be, so no, I wasn’t tripping like that.
- On feeling that he has yet to “grow up” due to still feeling young at heart in “Let Smokey Robinson Tell You About Changing Music The living legend on his life, legacy, and Motown” in New York Magazine (2020 Nov 19)
- …As far as I’m concerned, Motown was a once-in-a-lifetime musical event. Nothing like that happened before. I seriously doubt anything like that will ever happen again...
- On missing his Motown years in “Let Smokey Robinson Tell You About Changing Music The living legend on his life, legacy, and Motown” in New York Magazine (2020 Nov 19)
- …If you had a good song, and you were a producer or writer at Motown, you had access to all the artists. It didn’t matter who had the last hit record. If they liked you at all, you had the opportunity. I wanted to write something sweet for David Ruffin to sing, which became “My Girl.” And he sang the shit out of it, so it was contagious. I don’t regret that whatsoever.
- On whether he ever regretted giving away a song his wrote in “Let Smokey Robinson Tell You About Changing Music The living legend on his life, legacy, and Motown” in New York Magazine (2020 Nov 19)
- …“Who’s Loving You” is about a person who had somebody they really loved but did that person wrong and took them for granted, so that person left. And they’re sitting around later, grieving, thinking about the wrong that they did to this person, and who’s loving that person now. There’s no way an 11-year-old child could know that. But this dude sang that song like he had written it, like he knew all about it. It became his song. If I sing it somewhere now, if I even sing a part of it, young people in the audience come to me and say, “Why are you singing a Michael Jackson song?”…
- On the song “Who’s Loving You” and how Michael Jackson’s version became more popular than his own version in “Let Smokey Robinson Tell You About Changing Music The living legend on his life, legacy, and Motown” in New York Magazine (2020 Nov 19)
- …it’s disappointing for the people who are still of that frame of mind to be in that place where they think that people are different. The only difference between people is the texture and the color of our skin. If you skinned everybody alive, you wouldn’t know who anyone was. All our hearts are in the same place, our organs, our everything is in the same place. We all have red blood. We’re all human beings. It’s almost 2021. It’s a damn shame that all this time’s gone in life, and people still don’t get that. I’ve wished many times that we would get attacked by some outer-space planet or something like that so we can all come together as earthlings and help each other. See, there’s evil, and there’s good, and people who adopt evil, that’s who they are. It ain’t got shit to do with the color of their skin or where they live. And young people are seeing through that shit…
- On the issue of racism and how it was exacerbated during the Trump Administration in “Let Smokey Robinson Tell You About Changing Music The living legend on his life, legacy, and Motown” in New York Magazine (2020 Nov 19)
- …The concept of the United States of America is the greatest concept in the world. It’s beautiful. It’s a wonderful concept. There’s no place like America. So, for people to come in and try to fuck that up is ridiculous. I’m a Black man, and I’m telling you this: I’ve been all over the world. The only places I haven’t been are Africa, China, and Russia. Here, people say “African American.” Don’t call me no African American. I’m a Black American. [You’re not] going to label me to try to say that I don’t belong in this country when my people have fought and died to establish this country. Black soldiers have fought and died for this country. They were doing it for Mississippi and Georgia and Alabama. I’m a Black American.
- On his racial identity in “Let Smokey Robinson Tell You About Changing Music The living legend on his life, legacy, and Motown” in New York Magazine (2020 Nov 19)
- …I don’t think I started [show business], and I know that I’m not going to finish it. I have my place in it, and I’m going to cherish that place. It’s a gift. I’m not going to squander it.
- On what keeps him going as a performer and artist in “Let Smokey Robinson Tell You About Changing Music The living legend on his life, legacy, and Motown” in New York Magazine (2020 Nov 19)
With The Miracles
- She's not a bad girl because
She made me see, hmmm...
How love could be.
But she's a bad girl because (bad girl because)
She wants to be free, hmmmm... (bad girl because)
She wants to be free (bad girl)
- Bad Girl, written by Smokey Robinson and Berry Gordy, Jr. (1959)
- Ah, they tell me that the river's too deep
And it's much too wide for you can't get across to the other side.
But they don't know I've got to get there and hold her in my arms
Just a one more time like I did before when she was mine all mine.
Cause I can hear her saying (come to me baby)
I'm going away.
I'm going to stay.
I'm gonna get to you, no matter what I have to do.
- Way Over There, written by Smokey Robinson and Berry Gordy, Jr. (1960)
Just because you've become a young man now,
There's still some things that you don't understand now.
Before you ask some girl for her hand now,
Keep your freedom for as long as you can now.
My mama told me...'you better shop around'
(Shop, shop around) a-whoa-yeah
You better (uh-huh) shop around.
- Shop Around, written by Smokey Robinson and Berry Gordy, Jr. (1960)
If ever I have a son in life, I'll call him in one day
Sit him down upon my knee and here is what I'll say.
You might lose your lover, people do sometime.
Oh, but it won't make sense for you to sit around cryin'.
Son, don't you know that when you fall in love,
Sometimes, you're gonna have the blues.
Well it may take years, but you're gonna shed some tears.
'Cause everybody's got to pay some dues, now, now.
Everybody's got to pay some dues.
- Everybody's Gotta Pay Some Dues, written by Smokey Robinson and Ronald White (1961)
What's so good about goodbye?
All it does is make you cry.
Well, if leaving causes grieving,
And depart can break you heart,
Tell me (what's so good about it)
I could have done without it.
What's so good about goodbye?
- What's So Good About Goodbye (1961)
- I will build you a castle with a tower so high
It reaches the moon.
I'll gather melodies from birdies that fly
And compose you a tune.
Give you lovin' warm as Mama's oven.
And if that don't do,
Then I'll try something new.
- I'll Try Something New (1962)
- I don't like you
But I love you.
See that I'm always
Thinking of you.
Oh, oh, oh,
You treat me badly;
I love you madly.
You've really got a hold on me.
You've really got a hold on me, baby.
- You better beware, my friends all told me
When they saw that I was falling for you.
You better beware they told me that girl ain't gonna be true.
She'll have you walking with your head in the air,
Have you thinking that she really, really care.
Then-a, then she'll let you down, she'll really let you down.
She's a girl with no understanding.
And when she's getting tired of you hanging around,
She'll let you drop and say... have a happy landing (happy landing).
- Happy Landing, written by Smokey Robinson and Ronald White (1962)
- No don't you know my daddy told me,
Told me right from the start
He said no matter how old a man is,
He's partly a boy in his heart.
Yeah, and that's the truth.
Ooo la la la la
I did you wrong; my heart went out to play.
But in the game I lost you.
What a price to pay, hey I'm crying.
Ooo baby baby.
Ooo baby baby.
- Ooo Baby Baby, written by Smokey Robinson and Pete Moore (1965)
People say I'm the life of the party
'Cause I tell a joke or two.
Although I might be laughing loud and hearty,
Deep inside I'm blue.
So take a
good look at my face.
You know my smile looks out of place.
If you look closer, it's easy to trace
The tracks of my tears.
- The Tracks of My Tears, written by Smokey Robinson, Marvin Tarlin, and Pete Moore (1965)
- My girl has gone, and said goodbye.
Don't you cry, hold your head up high.
Don't give up, give love one more try,
'Cause there's a right girl for every guy.
- My Girl Has Gone, written by Smokey Robinson, Ronald White, Pete Moore, and Marvin Tarplin (1965)
- Maybe you want to give me kisses sweet,
But only for one night with no repeat.
Maybe you'd go away and never call,
And a taste of honey is worse than none at all (oh little girl)
Oh little girl, in that case I don't want no part. (I do believe that)
That would only break my heart.
Oh, but if you feel like loving me,
If you got the notion,
I second that emotion.
- I Second That Emotion, written by Smokey Robinson and Al Cleveland (1967)
- Now if there's a smile on my face,
It's only there tryin' to fool the public,
But when it comes down to foolin' you;
Now honey, that's quite a different subject.
But don't let my glad expression
Give you the wrong impression.
Really I'm sad.
I'm sadder than sad.
You're gone and I'm hurtin' so bad.
Like a clown I pretend to be glad.
- The Tears of a Clown, written by Smokey Robinson, Stevie Wonder, and Hank Cosby (1970)
Baby, let's cruise away from here.
Don't be confused, the way is clear.
And if you want it, you got it forever.
This is not a one night stand, babe, yeah.
So let the music take your mind, whoa.
Just release and you will find
You're gonna fly away, glad you're going my way.
I love it when we're cruisin' together.
The music is playing for love.
Cruisin' is made for love.
I love it when we're cruisin' together.
- Cruisin' (1979)
- I don't care what they think of me,
And I don't care what they say.
I don't care what they think if you're leavin'.
I'm gonna beg you to stay.
I don't care if they start to avoid me.
I don't care what they do.
I don't care about anything else
But bein' with you,
Bein' with you.
- Being with You (1981)
- Official Website of Smokey Robinson
- Smokey Robinson interviewed on the Pop Chronicles (1969)