By: Lana K. Wilson-Combs
Smokey Robinson has as many awards to show for his accomplished music career as he does hit records.
While at Motown Records, Robinson—who arguably was as influential as record label founder Berry Gordy--wrote and produced countless hits for his group the Miracles such as "Shop Around," "You Really Got a Hold on Me," "Ooo Baby Baby," "Special Occasion" and "The Tracks of My Tears," among others.
He also penned major chart-topping hits for Motown acts like Marvin Gaye ("I'll be Doggone" and "Ain't that Peculiar), The Temptations ("My Girl," "The Way You Do the things You Do," and "Get Ready"), Mary Wells ("Two Lovers'' and ''My Guy"), The Marvelettes' ("Don't Mess with Bill" and "The Hunter Gets Captured By the Game"), the Four Tops ("Still Water (Love)" and "Love is the Answer") and the Supremes ("Floy Joy" and "Long Gone Lover").
Then of course there's Robinson's own hits such as "Baby Come Close," "Cruisin'" "The Agony and the Ecstasy, "One Heartbeat, "Quiet Storm" and his 1987 Grammy winner, "Just to See Her."
What's even more remarkable than Robinson's phenomenal body of work is that at 71-years old, the singer hasn't slowed down or missed a beat. He still performs regularly and sounds better than ever.
Robinson's summer tour makes a stop at the Thunder Valley Casino Resort Amphitheatre in Lincoln, California on Aug. 11 at 8 p.m.
During a recent telephone interview with N2Entertainment.net Robinson discussed his music career and what motivates him to perform after all these years.
"I really don't see myself doing anything other than singing," said Robinson. "I love what I do; my fans love me doing what I do, so why stop? Performing is my life. I never tire of singing "Cruisin'" or "Ooh Baby Baby." I suppose when I do then I should stop. But after all this time it's not happening."
Robinson, who is a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award recipient, an inductee in the Rock 'n' Roll Hall of Fame (1987) and in the Songwriters Hall of Fame (1990), is celebrating his 50th anniversary in the music business.
His most recent recordings include the discs, "Time Flies When You're Having Fun" which features collaborations with Carlos Santana ("Please Don't Take Your Love"), India.Arie ("You're Just My Life") and Joss Stone ("You're the One for Me."). Robinson also released the CD "Timeless Love," a collection of pop standards from the 1920s, 1930s and 1940s.
The singer's music continues to influence and inspire. In 2003 Robinson appeared as a guest judge on "American Idol" for "Billy Joel Week." And in 2009 (Season Eight) of the show, Adam Lambert performed Robinson's classic song, "Tracks of My Tears."
While many of his peers have passed away—notably Ronald "Ronnie" White of the Miracles—Robinson keeps keeping on producing, writing and singing.
"I'm very blessed and humbled by my success, he says. "One of my greatest joys as an artist is mentoring young people who want to get in to the industry. So much has changed though.
Technology has impacted how music is made and distributed today."
Robinson admits that there can never be another Motown. "It was truly something special; a magical time and one of the reasons why the music continues to touch the hearts and souls of so many people," he said. "To be a part of something that grand and exciting still to this day is something that even I have to sit back and marvel at. And to be able to continue to reach out to people and perform—to some who may be hearing "Baby Come Close" or "I Second That Emotion" for the first time—is still thrilling after all these years."
Editor's Note: Smokey Robinson plays Thunder Valley Casino Aug. 11 at 8 p.m. Tickets are $29.50, $37.50, $49.50, $67.50 and $77.50 (plus taxes and fees). To purchase concert tickets call Ticketmaster at 1-800-745-3000 or visit the Rewards Center inside the Thunder Valley Casino Resort Hotel.
Please Note: Must be at least 21 years of age to attend. Guests ages 13 through 20, however, may attend if accompanied by their parents or legal guardian.