Celebrating "America's Greatest Living Poet".
“As a kid, this is what I wanted my life to be. Not in my wildest dreams did I ever dare to dream that it would be this.” – Smokey Robinson
In the mid-1960’s, a lie about our featured artist was attributed to him by none other than Bob Dylan. It has since been exposed decades later as a publicity stunt by the former promotional head at Motown during that time, Al Abrams. As the story goes, when someone asked Dylan who he felt was America’s greatest living poet, he responded Smokey Robinson. It was taken as the gospel truth for many years. Adding to the legend was a journalist asking Dylan some time later if he actually said it. Dylan’s response was that he was on LSD at the time.
The odd thing is, he never denied it. Maybe Dylan bought into it because maybe, just for the sake of argument, this lie might have been the most honest statement anyone could have said at the time.
A major figure in Black History in the United States, William “Smokey” Robinson was born in Detroit, MI, and lived in the Brewster Projects, the same housing complex that also gave us Diana Ross. One of the founders of Motown Records, and its Vice-President for many years, he was directly responsible for scouting talent, writing material and producing many of the acts that formed the foundation of the label’s early success. Ever the workaholic, he and his group, The Miracles, were also one of Motown’s most consistent hitmakers during the 1960’s.
Smokey Robinson performs at the BET Awards on June 28, 2015 in Los Angeles. MPI10/MediaPunch/IPX
In the early 1970’s he embarked on a solo career, creating a whole sub-genre of R&B called Quiet Storm, which eventually morphed into Urban Contemporary music. He staged a solo comeback at the end of the 1970’s and continued to have high charting hits long into the late 1980’s. Focused on behind the scenes development projects currently, he remains one of the most successful songwriters in history, and still thrills audiences with the occasional live performance and short tour.
Our tracks this week: Title, Artist
1. More Love, Kim Carnes
2. Ain’t That Peculiar, Marvin Gaye*
3. Cruisin’, D’Angelo
4. Tears of A Clown, The (English) Beat
5. I’ll Try Something New, The Temptations with Diana Ross and The Supremes+
6. Dinah, David Ruffin*
7. You Really Got a Hold On Me, The Beatles
8. My Guy, Mary Wells*
9. Still Water (Love), The Four Tops*
10. My Girl, Eddie Floyd
11. Ooh Baby Baby, Linda Ronstadt
12. Going to A Go-Go, The Rolling Stones
13. Who’s Loving You, The Jackson Five
14. First I Look at the Purse, The Contours*
15. If You Can Want, Smokey Robinson and The Miracles*
16. Being With You, Smokey Robinson*
Smokey Robinson wrote or co-wrote all of these tracks; those with an asterisk (*) are ones he also produced and the one with a plus sign (+) is one he co-produced with Frank Wilson, Nickolas Ashford and Deke Richards.
Love to you all.
Ben “Bear” Brown Jr., owner
Ace of Spades PDX
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