Saturday, August 09, 2014

What Happened? Natalie Cole

Natalie Maria Cole (born February 6, 1950)
Natalie Cole was born in Los Angeles, the daughter of crooner Nat King Cole and former Duke Ellington Orchestra singer Maria Hawkins Ellington, and raised in the affluent Hancock Park district of Los Angeles. Regarding her childhood, Cole has referred to her family as "the black Kennedys" and was exposed to many great singers of jazz, soul, and blues. At the age of six Natalie sang on her father's Christmas album and later began performing at age 11.
 
Cole grew up with older adopted sister Carole "Cookie" (1944–2009) (her mother Maria's younger sister's daughter); adopted brother Nat "Kelly" Cole (1959–95), and younger twin sisters Timolin and Casey (born 1961).
 
Her paternal uncle Freddy Cole is a singer and pianist with numerous albums and awards. Cole enrolled in Northfield Mount Hermon School, an elite New England preparatory school, at age 15 after her father died of lung cancer in February 1965. Soon afterwards she began having a difficult relationship with her mother. She enrolled in the University of Massachusetts Amherst. She transferred briefly to University of Southern California where she pledged the Upsilon chapter of Delta Sigma Theta sorority. She later transferred back to the University of Massachusetts, where she majored in Child Psychology and minored in German, graduating in 1972.
 
Following graduation, Cole, who grew up listening to a variety of artists from soul artists such as Aretha Franklin to psychedelic rock icon Janis Joplin, began singing at small clubs with her band, Black Magic. Clubs initially welcomed her due to her being Nat King Cole's daughter, only to be disappointed when she began covering R&B and rock numbers. While performing, she was noted by a couple of producers in the Chicago area, Chuck Jackson and Marvin Yancy, who then approached her to do records. After cutting several records together, they passed off the music to several record labels. Most labels turned them down with one ironic exception. Capitol Records, her father's label, heard the records and agreed to sign her.
 
Cole, Yancy and Jackson went into studios in Los Angeles to polish the recordings they had shipped, resulting in the release of Cole's debut album, Inseparable, which included songs that reminded listeners of Aretha Franklin. In fact, Franklin later contended that songs such as "This Will Be (An Everlasting Love)", "I Can't Say No" and others were originally offered to her while she was recording the You album. Franklin turned most of the songs down but agreed to record the title track for her album. Cole also recorded "You". Released in 1975, the album became an instant success thanks to "This Will Be", which became a top ten hit and later winning Cole a Grammy Award for Best Female R&B Vocal Performance. A second single, "Inseparable", also became a hit. Both songs reached number-one on the R&B chart. Cole also won Best New Artist at the Grammy Awards for her accomplishments. Due to the media's billing of Cole as the "new Aretha Franklin", it inadvertently started a rivalry between the two singers.
 
Becoming an instant star, Cole responded to critics of an impending sophomore slump with Natalie, released in 1976. The album, like Inseparable, became a gold success thanks to the funk-influenced cut, "Sophisticated Lady (She's a Different Lady)" and the jazz-influenced "Mr. Melody".
 
Cole released her first platinum record with her third release, Unpredictable, mainly thanks to the number-one R&B hit, "I've Got Love on My Mind". Originally an album track, the album's closer, "I'm Catching Hell", nonetheless became a popular Cole song during live concert shows.
Later in 1977, Cole issued her fourth release and second platinum album, Thankful, which included another signature Cole hit, "Our Love". To capitalize on her fame, Cole starred on her own TV special, which attracted such celebrities as Earth, Wind & Fire, and also appeared on the TV special, "Sinatra and Friends." In 1978, Cole released her first live album, Natalie Live!
 
In early 1979, the singer was awarded a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. That same year, she released two more albums, I Love You So and the Peabo Bryson duet album, We're the Best of Friends. Both albums reached gold status in the U.S. continuing her popularity.
 
Following the release of her eighth album, 1980's Don't Look Back, Cole's career began to take a detour. While Cole scored an adult contemporary hit with the soft rock ballad "Someone That I Used To Love" off the album, the album itself failed to go gold. In 1981, Cole's personal problems including battles with drug addiction began to take public notice and her career suffered as a result. In 1983, following the release of her album, I'm Ready, released on Epic, Cole entered a rehab facility in Connecticut reportedly staying there for a period of six months.
 
Following her release, she signed with the Atco imprint, Modern Records, releasing Dangerous, which started a slow resurgence for Cole in terms of record sales and chart success.
In 1987, she changed to EMI-Manhattan Records and released the Everlasting album, which returned her to the top of the charts thanks to singles such as "Jump Start (My Heart)", the top ten ballad, "I Live For Your Love" and her dance-pop cover of Bruce Springsteen's "Pink Cadillac". That success helped Everlasting reach one million in sales becoming Cole's first platinum album in ten years. In 1989, she released her follow-up to Everlasting, Good to Be Back, which produced the number two hit, "Miss You Like Crazy", which also achieved international success reaching the top ten in the United Kingdom.
In 1990, she (along with jazz vocalist Al Jarreau) sang the song "Mr. President" (written by Ray Reach, Mike Loveless and Joe Sterling) on HBO's Comic Relief special, hosted by Whoopi Goldberg, Robin Williams and Billy Crystal.  
Cole released her best-selling album with 1991's Unforgettable... with Love on Elektra Records, which saw Cole singing songs her famous father recorded, nearly 20 years after she initially had refused to cover her father's songs during live concerts. Cole produced vocal arrangements for the songs, with piano accompaniment by her uncle Ike Cole. Cole's label released an interactive duet between Cole and her father on the title song, "Unforgettable". The song eventually reached number fourteen on the Billboard Hot 100 and number ten on the R&B chart, going gold.
 Unforgettable...with Love eventually sold more than seven million copies in the U.S. alone winning several Grammys including Album of the Year, Record of the Year and Best Traditional Pop Vocal Performance for the top song.
In 1992, following the success of the Unforgettable: With Love album, PBS broadcast a special based on the album. Unforgettable, With Love: Natalie Cole Sings the Songs of Nat "King" Cole received Emmy nominations for Outstanding Variety, Music or Comedy Program; and Cole received a nomination for Outstanding Individual Performance, losing to Bette Midler.
 
Cole followed that success with another album of jazz standards titled Take a Look, in 1993, which included her recording of the title track in the same styling that her idol Aretha Franklin had recorded nearly 30 years earlier. The album eventually went gold while a holiday album, Holly & Ivy, also became gold. Another standards release, Stardust, went platinum and featured another duet with her father on a modern version of "When I Fall in Love", which helped Cole earn another Grammy for Best Pop Collaboration with Vocals.
 
In 1999, Cole returned to her 1980s-era urban contemporary recording style with the release of Snowfall on the Sahara on June and second holiday album The Magic of Christmas on October, which recorded with London Symphony Orchestra.
A year later, the singer collaborated on the production of her biopic, Livin' For Love: The Natalie Cole Story, which featured Theresa Randle in the role of Cole. She also released the compilation Greatest Hits, Vol. 1 to fulfill her contract with Elektra. She changed to Verve Records and released two albums. 2002's Ask a Woman Who Knows continued her jazz aspirations.
 In 2006's Leavin' again featured Cole singing pop, rock and R&B standards. Her cover of Aretha Franklin's "Daydreaming", became a minor hit on the R&B charts.
 In 2008, seventeen years after Unforgettable... with Love, Cole released Still Unforgettable, which included not only songs made famous by her father but other artists, including Frank Sinatra. The album later resulted in Grammy wins for Cole.
 
In April 2012, she appeared as a Pennington Great Performers series artist with the Baton Rouge Symphony Orchestra.
Cole has carved out a secondary career in acting. Cole has made a number of dramatic appearances on television, including guest appearances on I'll Fly Away, Touched by an Angel, and Law & Order: Special Victims Unit.
 
Cole has also made several appearances in feature films, most recently in the Cole Porter biopic De-Lovely. She has appeared in several made-for-TV movies, most notably as the lead in Lily in Winter. Cole was featured on Macy Gray's album Big, singing "Finally Make Me Happy".
 
In 2001 she starred as herself in Livin' for Love: the Natalie Cole Story, for which she received the NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Actress in a Television, Mini-Series of Dramatic Special.
 
She also sang the national anthem with the Atlanta University Center Chorus at Super Bowl XXVIII.
In 2006, she made a memorable guest appearance on the popular ABC show Grey's Anatomy as a terminally ill patient. Her character visited Seattle Grace Hospital to have a fork removed from her neck that her husband had stabbed her with during a mishap; the couple had been having sex in public.
On December 2, 2006, Cole performed for the first time in Grand Cayman, Cayman Islands, as part of the annual Cayman Jazz Fest.
 
On the February 5, 2007 episode of Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip, Cole sang "I Say a Little Prayer" at a benefit dinner for Harriet Hayes (Sarah Paulson).
 
She can also be seen in the last scene of Nas' music video for "Can't Forget About You". The song uses a sample of her father's song "Unforgettable". Cole is sitting at a piano in a cabaret-style lounge mouthing her father's song with Nas standing beside her.
 
Natalie Cole also performed "Something's Gotta Give" on American Idol on April 29, 2009.
 
In September 2010, Cole performed with Andrea Bocelli in a concert at the Kodak Theatre, for his album My Christmas, in which she recorded a duet with him, and on December 10–13, 2009, she appeared with the Mormon Tabernacle Choir and Orchestra at Temple Square in their annual Christmas concerts. Both were videotaped for presentation on PBS in December 2010.
2013 Natalie Cole appeared on the Wendy Williams Show claiming she was upset at Jennifer Hudson and Fox’s American Idol for not inviting her to sing her song “Inseparable” on the final of the show.
Also in 2013 Natalie Cole album “Natalie Cole En Espanol” was nominated for two Latin Grammys including Best Album of the Year.
 

Monday, March 24, 2014

What Happened ? The Dramatics

The Dramatics (formerly The Dynamics)

The Dramatics originally formed in 1962, the vocal sextet comprised of Rob Davis, Ron Banks, Larry Reed, Robert Ellington, Larry "Squirrel" Demps, and Elbert Wilkens initially recording as the Dynamics in 1965. Their first release in 1965 was entitled "Bingo" and the B-side was entitled "Somewhere". It was recorded for the late Ed Wingate's "Wingate" record label, a division of Golden World Records in Detroit, Michigan. Wingate changed the name of the group by misprinting the name of the group from The Dynamics to The Dramatics.

In 1966 the group's second release: "Inky Dinky Wang Dang Doo", the B-side was entitled: "Baby I Need You". In 1967, Motown had absorbed the entire Golden World Records operation, including their publishing: Myto Music BMI, The Golden World, Ric Tic, and Wingate Record labels, as well as recording artists. The Dramatics, however didn’t stay long at Motown quickly moving to Sport Records where they garnered their first minor hit single, "All Because of You."

 Even though the group managed to stay together, the ensuing years were unproductive for chart action and sales. Between 1967 and 1971, the Dramatics made very little noise on the national scene. By the end of 1971, Davis summoned the group to the studio to record producer/songwriter Tony Hester's The Dramatics signed to Stax-Volt Records in 1968. However, the group did not break through until their 1971 single, "Whatcha See Is Whatcha Get," a latin-tinged cut lyrically based on a comic phrase popularized by Flip Wilson.

It was an instant hit on both the pop and soul charts. "Whatcha See Is Whatcha Get," which broke into the Top 10 of the Billboard Hot 100, peaking at #9. Their first million selling disc "Whatcha See Is Whatcha Get" was awarded gold disc status by the R.I.A.A. in December 1971.

The following year the Dramatics released "In the Rain," which was also penned by Hester. The single torpedoed its way to the number one spot on the R&B charts, maintaining that position for four consecutive weeks; the single also peaked at number five on the pop charts. Ironically, in spite of the national attention the group was receiving, another personnel shuffle was simmering.

Shortly after the success of their first album, some group members became discouraged, which facilitated a major personnel change. William "Wee Gee" Howard replaced lead singer Reed, and Willie Ford of the Capitols replaced bass Rob Davis. Also during this time, the Dramatics had signed with producer Don Davis' production company.

Larry "L.J." Reynolds, who had been a member of Chocolate Syrup and was pursuing a solo career during this time, met Dramatics member Banks at the Apollo following a performance by the group. Howard was absent that night and Reynolds auditioned for Banks backstage; it wasn’t long afterwards that Reynolds, who was also signed to Don Davis' production company, began to occasionally sit in with the Dramatics during Howard's absences.

In 1973 Howard and Wilkens left the group. They were replaced by Larry James "L.J." Reynolds and Leonard "Lenny" Mayes. While the group has had various compositions, once L.J. Reynolds replaced William Howard, the core of the group was set. With Reynolds' gruff baritone and Ron Banks' soaring falsetto, a unique group harmony was created that is still recognizable today.

In 1973, Reynolds' vocal presence and permanent entry into the group was manifested with the release of the R&B Top Ten single "Hey You! Get Off My Mountain". Wilkens formed his own version of the Dramatics and began touring. During this time and pending legal procedures, the name of the group was changed to Ron Banks & the Dramatics.

In the mid-seventies the group switched to ABC records where, with producer Don Davis, they released a number of relatively successful albums, though their coverage was, at that point, limited to the Soul radio. Hits like "In the Rain", "Toast to the Fool", "Me and Mrs. Jones" (originally by Billy Paul), "I'm Going By The Stars In Your Eyes" and "Be My Girl." "In the Rain" also sold over one million copies, and was awarded a gold disc. Many of the Dramatics' songs were written by Tony Hester, a Detroit writer/producer who was shot to death in a street robbery in 1980.

In the meantime, Howard and Wilkens formed a Dramatics splinter group, and came up with a minor R&B hit, "No Rebate on Love." The Dramatics split up in 1982 as Reynolds and Banks both embarked on solo careers.

Reynolds had partial success with mild hit called “Key to The World” but reunited in 1986 with Ron Banks and Howard for two albums, the be forth mentioned Somewhere in Time: A Dramatic Reunion and Positive State Of Mind, before Howard departed again.

The Dramatics also were guests on the Snoop Doggy Dogg song, "Doggy Dogg World". The song appeared on Snoop's 1993 debut album, Doggystyle. Elbert Wilkens (who died of a heart attack on December 13, 1992, at the age of 45) While other popular 70s groups have had trouble sustaining recording careers, the Dramatics have continued to cut a new LP every few years, right up through 2002's Look Inside, a surprisingly strong record that has only received limited distribution in the U.S.

They received national attention for their professionalism in 2001 when they performed for "Fly Jock" Tom Joyner, singing two sets during his show's appearance in Detroit on less than 12 hour notice after a cancellation by DeBarge.

 In 2002 The Dramatics appeared on Snoop Dogg's sixth studio album Paid tha cost to be tha boss on the song "Ballin'". The group continues to tour and presently consists of Reynolds, Ford, Winzell Kelly and Michael Brock, who replaced Mayes (who died of lung cancer on November 8, 2004, at the age of 53). The Dramatics were officially inducted into the R&B Music Hall of Fame at Cleveland State University's Waetejen Auditorium on Saturday August 17, 2013. While never reaching "supergroup" status in the public's eyes, the Dramatics have been one of the most prolific, consistently entertaining groups of the last three decades.

In 2003, the group, consisting of Reynolds, Banks, Winzell Kelly, Willie Ford and Lenny Mayes, released "Greatest Hits Live," a terrific peek at a 2001 Dramatics performance that shows the group still in fine form and a testament to the longevity of this Sadly, group member Lenny Mayes died on November 7, 2004, after a long illness.

In 2006, local Detroit developer Herb Strather honored the Dramatics (along with Freda Payne, the Four Tops and others), with a street named after the group in one of the newest neighborhoods being built in the city. The Dramatics were honored for their careers when they received the "Lifetime Achievement Award" at the 2008 SoulTracks Readers' Choice Awards. All of the current members came to the awards as well as the mother of deceased member Lenny Mayes. Sadly, on March 4, 2010, group falsetto lead Ron Banks died of an apparent heart attack at his Detroit home. He was replaced by singer Michael Brock, who in turn was replaced in November, 2011 by singer Donald Albert.

The group managed to stay active, reuniting to record new material every three or four years since the early '80s. They occasionally reunite for concert events.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

What Happened? Smokey Robinson

Smokey Robinson
William "Smokey" Robinson, Jr. (born February 19, 1940) in Detroit and raised in the city's North End section. At one point, he and Diana Ross were next-door neighbors; he said he has known Ross since she was eight. Robinson later told reporters when he was a child, his uncle christened him "Smokey Joe", which Robinson assumed was a "cowboy name for me" until he was later told that Smokey was a pejorative term for dark-skinned Blacks. Robinson, who is mainly of African American descent and is light-skinned, remembers his uncle saying to him, "I'm doing this so you won't ever forget that you're black." Robinson said his interest in music started after hearing the groups Nolan Strong & The Diablos and Billy Ward and His Dominoes on the radio as a child.

 Robinson later listed Strong, a Detroit native, as a strong vocal influence during an interview with Goldmine as he and Strong shared similar vocals. In 1955, he formed the first lineup of the group with childhood friend Ronald White and classmate Pete Moore. Two years later, in 1957, they were renamed The Matadors and included Bobby Rogers. Another member, Emerson Rogers, was replaced by Bobby's cousin Claudette Rogers. The group's guitarist, Marv Tarplin, joined them sometime in 1958. The Matadors began touring Detroit venues around this time.
They later changed their name to the Miracles, taking inspiration from the name, "Miracletones". In August 1957, Robinson and The Miracles met songwriter Berry Gordy after a failed audition for Brunswick Records. Gordy was impressed with Robinson's vocals and even more impressed with Robinson's ambitious songwriting. With his help, the Miracles released their first single, "Got a Job", an answer song to the Silhouettes' hit single "Get a Job" on End Records. During this time, Robinson attended college, starting classes in January 1959, studying electrical engineering. However, after the Miracles released their first record, Robinson dropped out after only two months. Robinson married his fellow Miracles member Claudette Rogers in 1959.

After a number of failures and difficulties with money, Robinson suggested to Gordy to start his own label, which Gordy agreed. Following the forming of Tamla Records, later reincorporated as Motown, the Miracles became one of the first acts signed to the label. In late 1960, the group recorded their first hit single, "Shop Around", which became Motown's first million-selling single. Between 1960 and 1970, Robinson would produce 26 top forty hits with the Miracles as lead singer, chief songwriter and producer, including several top ten hits such as "You've Really Got a Hold on Me", "Mickey's Monkey", "I Second That Emotion", "Baby Baby Don't Cry" and the group's only number-one hit during their Robinson years, "Tears of a Clown", while other notable hits such as "Ooo Baby Baby", "Going to a Go-Go", "The Tracks of My Tears", "(Come Round Here) I'm The One You Need", "The Love I Saw in You Was Just a Mirage" and "More Love" peaked at the top twenty.
In 1965, the Miracles was the first Motown group to adapt a name change when they were listed as Smokey Robinson & The Miracles on the cover of their 1965 album, also titled, Going to a Go-Go. Their name change would be confirmed on singles after 1966.

Between 1962 and 1966, Robinson would also be one of the in-demand songwriters and producers for Motown, penning several hit singles such as "The One Who Really Loves You", "You Beat Me to the Punch" and "My Guy" for Mary Wells, "The Way You Do The Things You Do", "My Girl", "Since I Lost My Baby" and "Get Ready" for The Temptations. "When I'm Gone" and "Operator" for Brenda Holloway, "Don't Mess With Bill", "The Hunter Gets Captured by the Game" and "My Baby Must Be a Magician" for The Marvelettes and "I'll Be Doggone" and "Ain't That Peculiar" for Marvin Gaye. His top rank as songwriter and producer however dropped by the arrivals of Holland–Dozier–Holland and the team of Norman Whitfield and Barrett Strong, and even Motown artists such as Gaye and Stevie Wonder. He later contributed lyrics and musical composition for the works of The Contours' "First I Look at the Purse", the Four Tops' "Still Water" and The Supremes' "Floy Joy".
In 1968 Smokey and his wife Cluadette gave birth to son Berry Robinson name after Berry Gordy. By 1969, Robinson had voiced his opinion on wanting to retire from the road to focus on raising a family with wife Claudette and their two children, and also focus his duties as Motown's vice president, a job he earned by the mid-1960s after Esther Gordy Edwards had left the position and began mentoring Motown acts on the label's Motortown Revues.

In 1969 Smokey’s second child Tamala was born named after the successful label that anchored the hit single of the Miracles. However, the late success of the group's track, "Tears of a Clown", caused Robinson to stay with the group until 1972. Robinson's last performance with the group was in July 1972 in Washington, D.C.

After a year of retirement, Robinson announced his comeback with the release of the eponymous titled Smokey album, in 1973. The album included the Miracles tribute song, "Sweet Harmony" and the hit ballad "Baby Come Close"
In 1974, Robinson's second album, Pure Smokey was released but failed to produce hits. Robinson struggled to compete with his former collaborators Marvin Gaye, Stevie Wonder and former Temptations member Eddie Kendricks as all three had multiple hit singles during this period.
Robinson answered his critics the following year with A Quiet Storm, released in 1975. The album launched three singles - the number-one R&B hit "Baby That's Backatcha", "The Agony & The Ecstasy" and "Quiet Storm". However, Robinson's solo career continued to struggle as Robinson mainly focused as Motown's vice president, rather than work on his own career. As a result, several albums including Smokey's Family Robinson, Deep in My Soul, Love Breeze and Smokin, suffered from dismal promotion and even more dismal reviews from critics. Robinson had by then relied on other writers and producers to help with his albums.

A radio format created Melvin Lindsey which featured R&B slow tunes with jazz started surfacing around the country called “Quiet Storm”. The title of the format was inspired by the song and album created by Smokey. Following these albums, Robinson got out of a writer's block after his close collaborator Marv Tarplin, who joined him on the road in 1973 after Robinson left the Miracles, presented him a musical composition he had composed on his guitar. Robinson later wrote the lyrics that became his first top ten pop single, "Cruisin'". The song peaked at number four on the Billboard Hot 100 and became his first solo number one hit ever in New Zealand. Robinson would follow a similar approach with his next album, Warm Thoughts, which produced another top 40 hit, "Let Me Be the Clock", though it didn't repeat the success of "Cruisin'". By the early eighties, Smokey had begun developing a cocaine addiction. Following the deaths of his father and close label mate Marvin Gaye, the demise of his marriage and his own career troubles, Robinson developed an addiction to crack.
In 1981, Robinson achieved a massive hit with another ballad, "Being with You", which peaked at number two on the Billboard Hot 100 and reached number-one in the UK, becoming his most successful single to date. The parent album sparked a partnership with George Tobin and with Tobin, Robinson released his next several Motown albums, Yes It's You Lady, which produced the hit, "Tell Me Tomorrow"; Touch the Sky and Essar.
In 1983, Robinson teamed up with fellow Motown label mate Rick James recording the R&B ballad, "Ebony Eyes". In 1983 Smokey Robinson with several Motown acts returned to perform on Motown 25 special. He performed with his group the Miracles and with Linda Rodstadt. Robinson got clean in 1986 after visiting a church under the advice of longtime friend Leon Kennedy.
In 1987, following a period of personal and professional issues, Robinson made a comeback with the album, One Heartbeat and the singles, "Just to See Her" and "One Heartbeat", which both peaked at the top ten, with "Just to See Her" winning Robinson his first Grammy Award in 1988. The album became Robinson's most successful to date, selling half a million copies.
In the same year Robinson released One Heartbeat, he was inducted as a solo artist to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, later igniting controversy as the committee had only inducted Robinson but not members of his group, the Miracles, which Robinson himself was personally offended by.
In 1989, Robinson wrote the memoirs, Inside My Life, in which he opened up about his drug use.
In 1989, he was inducted to the Songwriter's Hall of Fame.
After Motown was sold off to MCA in 1988, Robinson relinquished his position as vice president. Following the release of the album, Love Smokey, in 1990, Robinson left Motown for a deal with SBK Records in 1991. However, the album, Double Good Everything failed to chart. Robinson remained virtually quiet during the nineties making a brief comeback in 1999 when he re-signed with Motown and issued the album, Intimate, which included the song "Easy to Love".
In 1998 Smokey was featured in the telling of The Temptations, a mini-series based on a book written by Otis Williams. Smokey Robinson is shown singing an original son written for the movie at the funeral of Melvin Franklin.
In 2003, he once again split ties with Motown, releasing the gospel album, Food for the Soul on Liquid 8 Records in 2004.
Two years later, Robinson released the standards album, Timeless Love, in 2006 on Universal Records.
In 2007 Smokey Robinson made a public outcry about “Dreamgirls” , movie starring Jamie Foxx and Beyonce. He stated that the movie tarnished the Motown legacy.
In 2009, he issued the album, Time Flies When You're Having Fun on his own label, Robso Records. Time Flies has been the last album Robinson has released.
2009 at Michael Jackson memorial services Smokey explain his admiration of Michael how he finesse the song “Who’s Loving You”
 On March 20, 2009, The Miracles were finally honored as a group with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. Smokey was present with original Miracles members Bobby Rogers, Pete Moore, (Bobby's cousin) Claudette Rogers, and Gloria White, accepting for her husband, the late Ronnie White, whose daughter Pamela and granddaughter Maya were there representing him as well. Smokey's replacement, 1970s Miracles lead singer, Billy Griffin was also honored.

 
2010 Smokey Robinson appeared on Daryl Hall webcast show Live from Daryl’s House. He and Hall performed “Ooh Baby Baby” and “Sarah Smile”. 2011 Smokey Robinson was honored by President Barrack Obama at the 34th Kennedy Honors along with Meryl Streep, Neil Diamond and others.

 2014 Smokey Robinson alongside Steve Tyler presented the award for Best Record of the Year. Steve Tyler broke into impromptu version of “You Really Got a Hold of Me”.