It was 49 years ago tonight (June 23rd, 1972) that Smokey Robinson performed his final show with the Miracles. The concert, which later was reissued on CD as part of Smokey Robinson & The Miracles: The LIVE! Collection, took place at Washington D.C.’s outdoor Carter Barron Amphitheatre. Joining the Miracles for their set was the group’s co-founder, and Smokey’s then-wife, Claudette Robinson, who had left the road in the mid-’60s to raise a family.
Highlights of the show included the group’s hits “The Tears Of A Clown,” “Shop Around,” and “More Love,” and covers of the Rolling Stones‘ “(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction,” Dion‘s “Abraham, Martin & John,” and Michael Jackson‘s then-current hit “Got To Be There.”
Toward the end of the concert, Smokey introduced his replacement, Billy Griffin, as the new lead singer for the Miracles. With Griffin, the Miracles went on to score a Number One hit in 1976 with “Love Machine (Part 1).”
Smokey Robinson says that performing live is a completely different experience to being holed up in a recording studio for months on end: [“Yeah, it’s a different thing, but I enjoy performing. That’s probably my favorite part of this. Because I get a chance to see and be with the fans, and react to them and have them react to us one-on-one. And that’s my favorite thing.”] SOUNDCUE (:13 OC: . . . my favorite thing)
- Smokey Robinson entered the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1987. The Miracles were inducted separately in 2012.
- Miracles co-founder Bobby Rogers died on March 3rd, 2013 at age 73, due to complications of diabetes. Rogers, who had been dealing with failing health for years, was the only group member to have performed in every Miracles lineup, retired the brand in 2009 due to health issues.
- In addition to their group duties, Rogers and Smokey Robinson also co-wrote the Temptations‘ 1964 breakthrough hit, “The Way You Do The Things You Do,” which peaked at Number 11.