Smokey Robinson Biography

The vice president of Motown


Watch this video

Smokey Robinson live

Smokey Robinson

Smokey Robinson is a singer, songwriter, producer who started working with Berry Gordy before Motown was even founded.

Smokey’s band, The Miracles, were actually one of the first signings to the label.

During the 60s, Smokey Robinson and his Miracles released smash hits such as ‘Shop Around’, ‘You’ve Really Got a Hold on Me’, and The Tears of a Clown’.

Smokey also worked as a songwriter and producer for Motown. In this role, he is responsible for ‘My Guy’, ‘My Girl’ and ‘Get Ready’. He also wrote songs for Marvin Gaye and witnessed the development of little Stevie Wonder.

As if that wasn’t enough, Robinson also filled the position as the Vice president of Motown from 1965.

This was seemingly too much on Smokey’s plate as in 1972, he announced that his singing career was over and that he was to be only Vice President and a devoted father from now on.

A year later Smokey announced his comeback with a new album but by now, his former students, Marvin Gaye, and Stevie Wonder had become so successful that anything Smokey released paled in comparison.

The sweet, somewhat innocent sound of the 60s that Smokey was king of was gone, popular music had become more political.

What started out as “black music for white radio” had grown up and was now rebelling.

The new kings in town were Smokey’s students, Marvin and Stevie.

Related Pages

Get Ready – Guitar Lesson

‘Get Ready’ is a song that moves from a repetitive Minor Pentatonic verse riff to a simple four-chord chorus progression.

In the course, we’ll first play the chorus chords all over the neck before I show you how to construct your own chorus part.

When the solo comes along we take the original sax and string ideas and put them on the guitar.

Finally, you get to play the entire song with a live band!

Preview video lessons: Get Ready

Get Ready – Lyrics

I never met a girl who makes me feel the way that you do (you’re alright)
Whenever I’m asked who makes my dreams real I say that you do (you’re outta sight)
So fee di fi, fo di dum. Look out baby ’cause here I come
And I’m bringing you a love that’s true so get ready, so get ready
I’m gonna try to make you love me too so get ready, so get ready, here I come

For complete lyrics, go to Get Ready lyrics.

My Guy – Guitar Lesson

My Guy was an early Motown hit from Mary Wells who was the first female Motown star.

Using more jazz-influenced harmony and playing, when you learn this song you’ll get an introduction to “playing over changes” as the licks use new scales for each chord.

The good news is that when playing like this, you can still use your barre chord shapes and pentatonic scales as the framework when you map out the fretboard.

Preview video lessons: My Guy

My Guy – Lyrics

Nothing you could say could tear me away from my guy
Nothing you could do ’cause I’m stuck like glue to my guy
I’m sticking to my guy like a stamp to a letter
Like birds of a feather, we stick together
I’m tellin’ you from the start I can’t be torn apart from my guy

For complete lyrics, go to My Guy lyrics.

Sign Up Now

A monthly subscription with access to all acoustic and electric step by step lessons, each one designed to bring your guitar playing skills to the next level.

Including detailed, but bite-sized explanations on how the music theory of each song is applied to the neck.

To sign up now, go to Monthly Subscription