Smokey Robinson grew up in north Detroit on Belmont Street, just a block away from Diana Ross. He and Diana met in the neighborhood when they were children, somewhere between the ages of 4 and 8.

It was during this time that he acquired the nickname “Smokey”. Aside from being African-Americian, he was also Cherokee, French, Nigerian, Portuguese, and Scandinavian. Whether his mixed ancestry had a part in his nickname is not known, but his uncle began calling him “Smokey Joe”.

He was an excellent student and athlete – but his strongest desire was music. He didn't believe he would actually have a lasting career in music, but he gave it a shot and succeeded beyond his wildest hopes.

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In 1955 while in high school, Smokey formed his first group, The Five Chimes. In 1957 their name was changed to The Matadors. In 1958 they began performing in several Detroit clubs and shows and soon changed their name for the last time to The Miracles.

After auditioning and getting rejected by Brunswick Records, they met Berry Gordy. Gordy was impressed with the group's vocals and Smokey's insatiable passion for songwriting, and soon he helped them release their very first single, “Got A Job” in 1959. In fact, The Miracles were one of the very first acts to be signed, recorded, and released by Motown. In 1960, they released “Shop Around” which became a monster hit and started the ball rolling for Smokey and the group.

The gallery below shows Smokey's old childhood home, his high school, and a few others, plus I've included some videos of Smokey & The Miracles that you can enjoy.

You can also check out the Michigan homes of these Motown stars:
The Supremes
Marvin Gaye
Stevie Wonder
Gladys Knight
Diana Ross


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