William "Smokey" Robinson, Jr. (born February 19, 1940) is an American R&B and soul singer-songwriter, record producer, and former record executive. Robinson is noted for being one of the primary figures associated with Motown Records, second only to the company's founder, Berry Gordy. Robinson's countless hits, and consistent contributions to the Motown label earned him the title of the "King of Motown". As both a member of Motown group The Miracles and a solo artist, Robinson recorded thirty-seven Top 40 hits for Motown between 1960 and 1987, and also served as the company's vice president from 1961 to 1988.
The 1960 single "Shop Around" was Motown's first number one hit on the R&B singles chart, and the first big hit for The Miracles.The song was also Motown's first million-selling hit single. They scored many more hits over the years, including the much-covered "Who's Loving You" (1960), "You've Really Got a Hold on Me" (1962), "What's So Good About Goodbye" (1962),"I'll Try Something New" (1962), "Mickey's Monkey" (1963),"I Like It Like That" (1964), "Ooo Baby Baby (1965), "The Tracks of My Tears" (1965), "Going to a Go-Go" (1965),"My Girl Has Gone" (1965), (Come Round Here) I'm The One You Need" (1966), "More Love" (1967), "I Second That Emotion" (1967), "If You Can Want" (1968}, "Baby, Baby Don't Cry" (1969), and the international # 1 smash, "The Tears of a Clown" (1970).
Bob Dylan famously pronounced Smokey Robinson America’s “greatest living poet.” As a singer, Robinson could evoke joy, sadness and their bittersweet combination with his velvety high tenor. Legend has it that audience members would break into tears when Robinson and the Miracles sang “The Tracks of My Tears.” Even the notoriously hard-to-please Berry Gordy proclaimed the song a masterpiece.