Smokey Robinson is a legendary singer-songwriter, record producer, and former lead vocalist of the Motown group The Miracles. He has written and produced countless hits that have become timeless classics in the history of American music. Known for his silky smooth voice and soulful lyrics, Robinson has left an indelible mark on the music industry and continues to inspire and influence generations of musicians to this day.
This list of the top 10 Smokey Robinson songs of all time pays tribute to his incredible musical legacy. From his early hits with The Miracles to his solo career, this list includes some of Robinson’s most beloved and enduring tracks. The songs showcase Robinson’s versatility as an artist, spanning across various genres like soul, R&B, and pop. They also highlight his exceptional songwriting skills and ability to connect with listeners on an emotional level.
Some of the songs on this list include “The Tears of a Clown,” a playful and upbeat tune with a hidden melancholic message, “Tracks Of My Tears,” a heart-wrenching ballad that showcases Robinson’s emotive vocals, and “Shop Around,” a catchy and upbeat song that became Motown’s first-ever million-selling record. Each of these songs and the others on this list has helped to shape the landscape of popular music and cemented Smokey Robinson’s place in music history.
1. “The Tears of a Clown”
“The Tears of a Clown” is a classic Motown song written by Smokey Robinson, Stevie Wonder, and Hank Cosby. The song was originally recorded by Smokey Robinson and the Miracles in 1967, but it was not released as a single until 1970, when it became a massive hit in the United States, reaching number one on the Billboard Hot 100 chart. The song features a catchy melody, Motown’s signature harmonies, and a bouncy beat, while the lyrics tell the story of a man who is hiding his true emotions behind a smile. The song is a testament to Smokey Robinson’s songwriting skills and his ability to capture the essence of Motown’s sound and style. “The Tears of a Clown” has since become a beloved classic, covered by numerous artists and featured in various films and TV shows. The song’s upbeat tempo and catchy chorus make it a timeless classic that continues to be a fan favorite and a staple of Motown’s legacy.
2. “Tracks Of My Tears”
“Tracks of My Tears” is a soulful ballad by Smokey Robinson and The Miracles, released in 1965. The song features a poignant melody, memorable lyrics, and Robinson’s signature falsetto. The lyrics describe a man who is masking his pain with a smile and pretending to be happy in front of others. The song’s title and lyrics are a metaphor for the man’s tears, which are invisible to others as they are hidden behind his facade. The song was a commercial success, reaching number 16 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart and became one of The Miracles’ most beloved and enduring hits. Its influence can be heard in countless covers and samples, including by the likes of Linda Ronstadt, Boyz II Men, and Dolly Parton. “Tracks of My Tears” is often cited as one of the greatest songs of all time and is a testament to Robinson’s gift for crafting timeless, emotional songs that resonate with audiences across generations.
3. “You’ve Really Got A Hold On Me”
“You’ve Really Got A Hold On Me” is a soulful love song that was released by Smokey Robinson and The Miracles in 1962. The song features Robinson’s distinct falsetto voice and harmonious background vocals, accompanied by a slow and smooth beat. The lyrics speak of a love that has a tight grip on the singer’s heart, making it impossible for him to let go. The song became a hit, reaching number eight on the US Billboard Hot 100 and becoming one of Robinson’s most iconic songs. The song’s popularity also led to numerous covers by other artists, including The Beatles, who recorded their own version for their second album, “With the Beatles.” Smokey Robinson’s “You’ve Really Got A Hold On Me” is a timeless classic that continues to captivate audiences with its emotive lyrics and soulful sound
4. “Ooo Baby Baby”
“Ooo Baby Baby” is a soul ballad by Smokey Robinson and the Miracles, released in 1965. The song features Robinson’s smooth and emotional vocals over a slow, gentle melody. The lyrics tell the story of a man who has hurt his lover but is begging for her forgiveness and another chance. The iconic opening line “Ooo, la la la la” is instantly recognizable and draws listeners into the song’s nostalgic and romantic atmosphere. The arrangement is filled with lush strings, gentle percussion, and a classic Motown bassline that perfectly complements Robinson’s vocals. The song has been covered by many artists over the years and has become a staple of the soul and R&B genres. Its enduring popularity is a testament to Smokey Robinson’s enduring talent as a songwriter and performer.
5. “I Second That Emotion”
“I Second That Emotion” is a classic soul song by Smokey Robinson and the Miracles. The song was released in 1967 and became a top 10 hit on both the Billboard Hot 100 and R&B charts. It has since become one of the most enduring and beloved songs from the Motown era. The track features Smokey’s signature smooth vocals, with a catchy melody and infectious rhythm that have made it a favorite of audiences around the world. The song’s lyrics are about the struggles of love and the hesitation to express true feelings, with the repeated chorus of “I second that emotion” adding a playful twist to the message. The Motown house band, The Funk Brothers, provide a tight and groovy instrumental backing that perfectly complements Smokey’s vocals. The song has been covered by many artists over the years, but the original remains a timeless classic that continues to be celebrated and enjoyed by fans of soul music.
6. “Mickey’s Monkey”
“Mickey’s Monkey” is a classic Motown track by Smokey Robinson and The Miracles. Released in 1963, the song is a fun and upbeat dance number that features Robinson’s smooth vocals backed by the group’s harmonies and a lively horn section. The lyrics tell the story of a new dance craze called “Mickey’s Monkey” and encourage listeners to get up and dance along. The catchy melody and energetic rhythm of the song make it a beloved classic in the Motown catalog and a staple of Robinson’s live performances. “Mickey’s Monkey” has been covered by a number of artists over the years and remains a beloved party favorite.
7. “Going To A Go-Go”
“Going to a Go-Go” is a classic soul song by Smokey Robinson and the Miracles, released in 1965. It was written by Robinson, Warren “Pete” Moore, Bobby Rogers, and Marv Tarplin, and produced by Robinson. The song has a lively beat and catchy melody, with Robinson’s smooth vocals and the Miracles’ harmonies blending together perfectly. The lyrics describe the excitement of going out to dance and have fun, with references to popular dance styles of the time like the twist and the boogaloo. “Going to a Go-Go” was a commercial success, reaching the top 20 on both the Billboard Hot 100 and R&B charts. The song has been covered by several artists over the years, and has been featured in films and television shows. Its upbeat energy and infectious rhythm have made it a beloved classic of the Motown sound, and a testament to Smokey Robinson’s enduring legacy as a songwriter and performer.
8. “Shop Around”
“Shop Around” is a 1960 hit single by Smokey Robinson and the Miracles. The song, which was written by Robinson and Motown founder Berry Gordy, became Motown’s first million-selling hit record. The song’s catchy melody and lyrics about the importance of shopping around for love resonated with listeners and helped establish the Motown sound. The song features Robinson’s smooth vocals and the Miracles’ tight harmonies, along with a distinctive guitar riff and a driving beat. “Shop Around” was a breakthrough hit for the Miracles, who went on to become one of Motown’s most successful groups. The song has been covered by numerous artists over the years and remains a beloved classic of the Motown era.
9. “More Love”
“More Love” is a soulful and romantic song by Smokey Robinson, released in 1967. The song features a smooth and upbeat melody, with Robinson’s silky vocals carrying the listener through a story of love and affection. The lyrics express a deep longing for more love and devotion from a significant other, with Robinson singing “More love, more love, more love, that’s all I need” in the chorus. The song’s catchy hook and infectious groove make it a standout in Robinson’s catalog, and it has remained a beloved classic of Motown and soul music. The song’s production features a range of instruments, including horns, strings, and percussion, which create a lush and full sound that perfectly complements Robinson’s vocals. “More Love” is a testament to Smokey Robinson’s talent as a songwriter and performer and continues to be a cherished part of his musical legacy.
10. “Baby, Baby Don’t Cry”
“Baby, Baby Don’t Cry” is a classic soulful ballad by Smokey Robinson and the Miracles, released in 1968. The song is about a man trying to comfort his lover and ease her worries, assuring her that he will always be there for her through thick and thin. The song features Robinson’s smooth, distinctive vocals, backed by the Miracles’ tight harmonies and a lush string arrangement. The track showcases Robinson’s skills as a songwriter, with its heartfelt lyrics and catchy melody. The song’s romantic sentiment and soulful sound made it a hit with audiences, reaching the top 10 on the Billboard R&B charts. “Baby, Baby Don’t Cry” remains a beloved classic in the Motown canon and a shining example of Robinson’s musical talent and enduring legacy in the world of soul and R&B music.