Smokey Robinson is one of the most celebrated performers in the world. As the lead singer of the Miracles and as a solo artist, he’s notched dozens of hit singles. He also wrote classic songs for Motown acts like the Temptations, Mary Wells and Marvin Gaye.
Given Robinson’s youthful appearance and exuberance, some fans may be surprised to learn that he’s 79 years old. He was born William Robinson, Jr. on February 19, 1940, and began his singing career at the age of 15, when he joined the Five Chimes. The group eventually became known as the Miracles, which he was a member of until 1972. Robinson also became the Vice President of Motown Records in his 20s, and held the position for the next two decades.
Robinson Is 79 & Has Been Making Music for Over 60 Years
Robinson made his solo debut at the age of 33 with the album Smokey. Since then, he’s released several hit singles and sang alongside artists like Rick James, Elton John and James Taylor. His latest album, Smokey & Friends, was released when he was 74. In a recent interview with AARP, Robinson spoke about his lengthy career, and the fact that his Motown recordings have stood the test of time.
“That means everything to me, man. That’s beyond our wildest dreams,” he said. “Berry [Gordy] and I talk about it all the time. We never dared to dream that Motown would become what it has become. The very first day of Motown, there were five people there. Berry Gordy sat us down and said, ‘I’m going to start my own record company. We are not just going to make black music — we’re going to make music for the world.’ That was our plan, and we did it.”
He Stands At 6’0″ Which Is the Same Height As Fellow Motown Legend Stevie Wonder
Robinson is 6’0″, which makes him taller than several of his Motown affiliates. Michael Jackson was 5’9″ and Aretha Franklin was 5’5″. Robinson was shorter than Marvin Gaye, was stood at 6’1″ before his untimely death. That said, the “Cruising” singer is the same exact height as Stevie Wonder.
Robinson has also spoke at length about the passing of famous peers like Gaye, Jackson, and most recently, Franklin. The former Miracle said that he regretted never making music with the latter given their lifelong friendship. “I kind of have regrets that we never recorded anything together. I’ve known her since I was eight years old. She was one of the greatest singers ever,” he said.
Robinson Was Close Friends With Aretha Franklin Before Her Death
“I’m very happy for her and I’m very happy she was my lifelong friend,” he added. “I’m still in recovery mode, because I love her and I’m going to miss our conversations and our getting together,” Smokey told AARP. “But I know that spiritually she’s in a better place.”
Robinson is one of the singers who appeared on the TV special Aretha! A Grammy Celebration for the Queen of Soul.