William “Smokey” Robinson Jr. (born February 19, 1940) is an American singer, songwriter, record producer, and former record executive director. He was the founder and front man of the Motown vocal group the Miracles, for which he was also chief songwriter and producer.He led the group from its 1955 origins as “the Five Chimes” until 1972, when he announced his retirement from the group to focus on his role as Motown’s vice president. However, Robinson returned to the music industry as a solo artist the following year. Robinson left Motown Records in 1990, following the sale of the company two years earlier.
Robinson was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1987 and was awarded the 2016 Library of Congress Gershwin Prize for his lifetime contributions to popular music.In 2022, he was inducted into the Black Music & Entertainment Walk of Fame.
William Robinson Jr. was born to an African-American father and a mother of African-American and French descent into a poor family in the North End area of Detroit, Michigan.Robinson’s ancestry is also part Nigerian, Scandinavian, Portuguese, and Cherokee. His uncle Claude gave him the nickname “Smokey Joe” when he was a child.
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