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Life IS history in the making. Every word we say, everything we do becomes history the moment it is said or done. Life void of memories leaves nothing but emptiness. For those who might consider history boring, think again: It is who we are, what we do and why we are here. We are certainly individuals in our thoughts and deeds but we all germinated from seeds planted long, long ago.

Friday, December 12, 2014

King of Motown

Today in Music History: December 12, 1970

From Tamla to Motown...Names such as Barrett Strong, The Marvalettes, Mary Wells, Four Tops, Marvin Gaye, Jackson Five, Supremes, Diana Ross, The Temptations are all connected with Motown Records. One extraordinary musician is synonymous with Motown...in fact, he is second only to Berry Gordy in the founding of Motown and served as the company's vice-president for over 25 years. As a singer, prolific songwriter and record producer, he is credited with 4,000 songs.

Welcome into the spotlight..

 Smokey Robinson in Concert on August 17, 2006

"Motown will always be a heavy-duty part of my life because those are my roots."
~Smokey Robinson
Smokey Robinson: Known as the "King of Motown," Smokey Robinson founded the R&B group The Miracles, which delivered 37 Top 40 hits for Motown Records.

The voice of Smokey Robinson is smooth and soulful.
Growing up in a rough neighborhood, Robinson started out singing in local groups. In the early 50s, he formed the Matadors, which later became the world-famous group The Miracles. The Miracles scored their first big hit with "Shop Around" (1960) and developed quite a following with their energetic R&B sound. Robinson also worked behind the scenes, composing and producing for The Miracles and other Motown artists, such as Mary Wells and The Temptations. His work contributed to the success of Motown Records and helped advance the popularity of soul music.

1970 Smokey Robinson and the Miracles started a two week run at No.1 on the US singles chart with 'Tears Of A Clown'. It was the group's 26th Top 40 hit and first No.1, and also a No.1 hit in the UK.
Songfacts: Stevie Wonder came up with the music for this song with a top Motown producer named Hank Cosby. They recorded an instrumental demo and asked Robinson to complete the song - it was common practice for Motown writers to work on each other's songs at the time.

on listened to the song for a few days and decided it sounded like a circus - he came up with the lyrics based on the clown. "I was trying to think of something that would be significant, that would touch people's hearts, but still be dealing with the circus," said Smokey. "So what is that? Pagliacci, of course. The clown who cries. And after he makes everyone else happy with the smile painted on his face, then he goes into his dressing room and cries because he's sad. That was the key." 
More No.1s on this day, December 12th...

  • 1963 The Beatles were at No.1 on the UK singles chart with 'I Want To Hold Your Hand', the group's third No.1 (and first American No.1) and this year's UK Christmas No.1.
  • 1964 Bobby Vinton went to No.1 on the US singles chart with 'Mr Lonely', his second No.1 of the year. 
  • 1981 The Human League had their only UK No.1 single with 'Don't You Want Me'. The Christmas hit of 81, the biggest seller of 1981 and Virgin Records first No.1 UK single. The group's singer Phil Oakey disliked the song so much that it was relegated to the last track on their latest album' Dare'.
  • 1987 George Michael started a four week run at No.1 on the US singles chart with 'Faith'. Taken from the album of the same name, it became the top-selling single of the year in the US in 1988.

1957 Still married to his first wife Jane Mitcham, Jerry Lee Lewis secretly married his 13-year old second cousin Myra Gale Brown. Lewis's personal life was hidden from the public until a May 1958 British tour where Ray Berry, a news agency reporter at London's Heathrow Airport learned about Lewis's third wife. The publicity caused an uproar and the tour was canceled after only three concerts. 

And the music goes on beating to the rhythm of the changing times...