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Smokey Robinson began his career in the ‘50s while in high school, later becoming a part of one of Motown Record’s first recording acts. Today is the talented singer, songwriter, and producer’s birthday.

William Robinson was born February 19, 1940 in Detroit, Mich. His first group, then known as the Matadors, began making noise around Detroit and a chance meeting with record producer Berry Gordy Jr. would change their lives forever. Changing the group’s name to the Miracles, Robinson and Gordy would embark a prolific hit-making journey that dominated the ‘60s.

Chief in the success of the Miracles was the songwriting talent of Robinson, which Gordy relied on early to great benefit. His impressive credits include writing or co-writing over 4,000 songs, and 37 Top 40 hit songs. Some of these tracks include the likes of “Shop Around” and “You’ve Really Got A Hold On Me” with the Miracles, and hits for Marvin Gaye, The Temptations, Mary Wells, and several others.

In 1972, Robinson went solo and also began serving as the Vice President of Motown Records. As the ‘80s rolled around, Robinson famously battled drug addiction overcoming his issues by way of his faith.

In 1988, he won his first Grammy Award for Best Male R&B Vocal Performance for the song “Just To See Her” and went on to win the Grammy Legend and Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award in 1991 and 1999 respectively. He is also part of the 1987 inductee class of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame to go along with countless honors and awards.

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