Songcraft: Spotlight on Songwriters Podcast

Smokey Robinson

Ep. 109 - Smokey Robinson

"The Tracks of My Tears"- The Songwriting Legend of Songwriting Legends!

Scott and Paul chat about Pearl Snap Studios and share the behind-the-scenes details of how the Smokey interview came about.

PART TWO -  8:07 mark
The long-awaited conversation with the great Smokey Robinson

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Scott and Paul sit down with Smokey to get the inside scoop on the first song he ever wrote; how his love of Gene Autry and Roy Rogers gave him his identity; the songwriting advice from Berry Gordy that changed his life; which song he calls his international songwriting anthem; the collaborator he referred to as his "music mountain;" the hit he wrote onstage; the tragic story behind his most personal song; the artists he had in mind when he wrote "Shop Around" and "Being with You;" which of his hits took less than 30 minutes to write - and which one took five years!

Ranked in the Top 5 of Rolling Stone magazine’s Greatest Songwriters of All Time, Smokey Robinson is an American Musical Icon. Practically synonymous with the legendary Motown Records, Robinson wrote most of the hits associated with his own group, The Miracles, including “Shop Around,” “You’ve Really Got a Hold On Me,” “Going to a Go-Go,” “Ooo Baby Baby,” “The Tracks of My Tears,” “I Second That Emotion,” “Baby, Baby Don’t Cry,” and “The Tears of a Clown.”

Beyond writing for himself, Smokey penned a long list of hits for other Motown artists, including “You Beat Me to the Punch” and “My Guy” for Mary Wells; “The Way You Do the Things You Do,” “My Girl,” and “Get Ready” for The Temptations, “Don’t Mess with Bill” and “The Hunter Gets Captured by the Game” for The Marvelettes; and “I’ll Be Doggone” and “Ain’t That Peculiar” for Marvin Gaye.

In later years, Smokey launched a successful solo career, scoring self-penned hits with “Baby That’s Backatcha,” “Quiet Storm,” “Cruisin’,” and “Being With You.”

The Grammy-winning songwriter, producer, and performer was inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame and the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. He is a National Medal of Arts Recipient and a Kennedy Center Honoree. Smokey has additionally been honored with the Library of Congress’ Gershwin Prize for Popular Song, the Soul Train Heritage Award, the BET Lifetime Achievement Award, the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award, and countless other honors. Five of his songs are on the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame’s list of 500 Songs That Shaped Rock & Roll, and five have been inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame. Four of his compositions can be found among Rolling Stone magazine’s 500 Greatest Songs of All Time.

The long list of other artists who’ve drawn from the Smokey Robinson songbook includes The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, Michael Jackson, Ella Fitzgerald, Aretha Franklin, Otis Redding, The Supremes, The Four Tops, Stevie Wonder, Gladys Knight, Dionne Warwick, Dusty Springfield, Linda Ronstadt, Dolly Parton, George Benson, D’Angelo , Ne-Yo, and more.

Songcraft's Smokey Robinson Playlist: Spotify users can select the song you'd like to hear below, or simply start the player and enjoy a playlist of nearly four hours of Billboard chart hits from Smokey's pen. If you don't have a Spotify account, follow the prompts to sign up for free. Click this link to take you directly to the playlist in the Spotify web player.