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William "Smokey" Robinson, Jr. (born February 19, 1940) is an American R&B singer-songwriter, record producer, and former record executive. Robinson was the founder and front man of the popular Motown vocal group The Miracles, for which he also served as the group's chief songwriter and producer. Robinson led the group from its 1955 origins as The Five Chimes until 1972 when he announced a retirement from the stage to focus on his role as Motown's vice president.
However, Robinson returned to the music industry as a solo artist the following year, later having solo hits such as "Baby That's Backatcha", "A Quiet Storm", "The Agony and the Ecstasy", "Cruisin'", "Being With You" and "Just to See Her". Following the sale of Motown Records in 1988, Robinson left Motown in 1990. He was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1987.Robinson was born 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 grew up as a fan of Western films.
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 what became The Miracles 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 and started classes in January 1959, studying electrical engineering. Robinson dropped out after only two months following the Miracles' release of their first record.
After a number of failures and difficulties with money, Robinson suggested to Gordy that he start his own label. Gordy formed Tamla Records which was 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".
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This astounding collection of Brazilian-Pop-Jazz compositions by renowned Brazilian keyboardist and pianist Luciano Alves features amazing percussion grooves, top-notch improvisations and sublime keyboard textures.
On this repertoire Luciano showcases his ability to speak a universal musical language and proves why he is considered one of the best Brazilian musician/composers.
He has six CDs: Quartzo, Baobá, Mosaico, Brazil Today, Luciano Alves Interpreta Ernesto Nazareth, Só o que a gente gosta (Luciano & Bettina). More than 60 of his tunes are currently in iTunes, Amazon, Rhapsody, CD Baby, etc.
In 1976, he joined the Os Mutantes (Brazilian pop-group), traveling throughout Brazil and Italy and recording the Mutantes ao Vivo LP. For 10 years he joined the Pepeu Gomes band as keyboardist and arranger, appearing with him three times at the Montreux Festival. He also recorded with Caetano Veloso, Moraes Moreira, Sergio Dias, L. Shankar and Do Um Romão, among others.
Since 1985 he has performed solo or with his band both in Brazil and abroad. In the classical music area, he has performed as a soloist with the Brazilian Symphony Orchestra in many concerts. In 1991 he toured Denmark, spotlighting Afro-Brazilian rhythms and his CDs.
In 2009 was released his CD Luciano Alves Interpreta Ernesto Nazareth and since 2010 he is performing in duo with Brazilian singer Bettina Graziani promoting the jazz/bossa-nova CD "Só o que a gente gosta".