The Miracles were founded at Detroit's Northern High School in 1955 by:
Smokey Robinson (b. William Robinson, 19th February 1940, Detroit, Michigan, U.S.A.)
Bobby Rogers a.k.a. Robert Edward Rogers Jr. (b. 19th February 1940, Detroit, Michigan, U.S.A. d. 3rd March 2013, Detroit, Michigan, U.S.A.)
Claudette Rogers (b. Claudette Marie Rogers, 1st September 1942, New Orleans, Louisiana, U.S.A.)
Emerson 'Sonny' Rogers
Ronnie White (b. 5th April 1939, Detroit, Michigan, U.S.A., d. 26th August 1995, Detroit, Wayne County, Michigan, U.S.A.)
Warren 'Pete' Moore (b. 19th November 1939, Detroit, Michigan, U.S.A.)
The Miracles were originally formed by William 'Smokey' Robinson and Ronald White.
The two had become friends and began singing together whilst in the fifth grade.
Smokey earned his nickname as he showed a passing interest in Western movies.
the five chimes
l to r: Clarence Dawson, Pete Moore, Ronnie White, Smokey Robinson, and James Grice.
The duo formed a group called the Five Chimes in 1954 whilst at the Northern High School (group members were: William 'Smokey' Robinson, Clarence 'Humble' Dawson, Pete 'Pee Wee' Moore, Ronnie 'Whitey' White, who Donald Woker, and James 'Rat' Grice).
Shortly after the groups conception, Dawson and Grice had been replaced by cousins Emerson and Bobby Rogers.
They then changed the group's name to The Matadors.
Bobby Rogers and Smokey were actually born on the same day (19th February 1940) in the same Detroit hospital, although they did not meet until they were fifteen years old.
Emerson Rogers left the following year as a result of being drafted, and was replaced by his sister Claudette, who married Smokey Robinson in November 1959.
In 1958, the group added the guitarist Marv Tarplin.
Marv had originally been playing the guitar for The Primettes (who were later to be known as The Supremes).
They became the Miracles in 1958, when they made their initial recordings with Berry.
got a job - end 1016 (1958) / bad girl - chess 1734 (1959)
He leased their debut, 'Got A Job' (an answer record to the Silhouettes' major hit 'Get A Job'), to End Records, produced duets by Ron (White) and Bill (Robinson) for Tamla and Argo ('It / Don't Say Bye-Bye' in 1959), and licensed the classic doo-wop novelty 'Bad Girl' to Chess in 1959.
Ron and Bill - It / Don't Say Bye Bye - Argo 5350 (1959)
The Miracles recorded further material including 'Way Over There' ( which eventually charted nationally at number 94 Pop), 'I Need A Change', 'I Cry', 'Whatever Makes You Happy', 'Would I Love You', 'Mama Done Told Me', 'Happy Landing', and 'You Can Depend On Me'.
The following year, Gordy signed the Miracles directly to the early incarnation of Motown Records.
By 1961, Smokey Robinson would be appointed vice-president of the corporation.
hi, we're the miracles (1961) / cookin' with the miracles (1962)
'Shop Around' was released in 1960, with the song breaking both the Miracles and Motown to a wider national audience.
The Miracles became the first-ever Motown act to perform on Dick Clark's American Bandstand in February 1961.
singing 'you really got a hold on me' in 1964
Their raw, doo-wop sound was further refined on the Top 10 hit 'You Really Got A Hold On Me' in 1962, a soulful ballad that became a worldwide standard after the Beatles covered it in 1963 on their 'With The Beatles' album.
Further hits consolidated the groups growing reputation.
singing 'ooh baby baby' in 1965
These included, 'What's So Good About Goodbye' (1962), 'I'll Try Something New' (1962), 'Mickey's Monkey' (Top 10) (1963), 'I Gotta Dance to Keep From Crying' (1963), 'I Like It Like That' (1964), 'Going to a Go-Go' (1965), 'My Girl Has Gone' (1965), 'The Tracks Of My Tears' (1965), and the groups classic, 'Ooh Baby Baby' (1965).
John Lennon, of the Beatles, acknowledged Smokey Robinson as one of his favourite writers, and named the Miracles' 'I've Been Good To You' as one of his favourite songs.
Bob Dylan, at the time, described Smokey as the 'greatest living poet'.
Smokey and Claudette had made plans to begin a family, however the hectic touring schedule caused Claudette to have several miscarriages.
In early 1964, Claudette decided to retire from the road and remain at home in Detroit.
going to a go go / i like it like that (both 1965)
She did not tour with the Miracles or appear in any official group photographs or on television, although she continued to sing backup with the group in the studio until 1972.
Smokey penned most of the Miracles output, including 'The Tears Of A Clown' in 1966 (a belated hit in the U.K. and U.S.A. in 1970), 'The Love I Saw In You Was Just A Mirage', and 'I Second That Emotion' in 1967.
Other Motown hits written, but not recorded, by members of the Miracles include songs for the Temptations ('The Way You Do The Things You Do', 'My Girl', 'Since I Lost My Baby', 'Get Ready'), Mary Wells ('My Guy', 'The One Who Really Loves You', 'Two Lovers'), Marvin Gaye ('I'll Be Doggone', 'Ain't That Peculiar'), The Marvelettes ('Don't Mess With Bill'), The Contours ('First I Look at the Purse'), and Brenda Holloway ('When I'm Gone').
During this period, Pete Moore was drafted into the U.S. Army, and remained away from the group for over a year, although the group loyally kept Pete on their payroll.
Following a few more major hits such as '(Come 'Round Here) I'm The One You Need' (1966), the Top 10 hit 'I Second That Emotion' (1967), and 'More Love' (1967), the Miracles began to find sales figures were in decline.
Their slide was less noticeable in Britain, where Motown gained a Top 10 hit in 1969 with a reissue of 'The Tracks Of My Tears', a song Smokey related came to him whilst driving.
The tracks were a reference to lines etched on his face caused by crying.
The success of 'The Tears Of A Clown' prompted a revival in fortunes after 1970.
After one more Top 20 hit in late 1971, 'I Don't Blame You At All', Smokey announced that he wanted to leave the Miracles to concentrate on his position as vice-president of Motown Records.
The group began a six-month farewell tour of the United States.
flying high together 1972
Coinciding with this tour came the release of the group's final studio album with Smokey, 'Flying High Together' (1972).
The lead single, 'We've Come Too Far To End It Now', became a Top 10 R & B hit, whilst the rest of the album contained two Stevie Wonder penned songs ('It Will Be Alright' and 'We Had A Love So Strong'), written in the new maturing synthesised style of Stevie.
Smokey Robinson's final performance as a Miracle was at the Carter Barron Amphitheater in Washington, DC on the 16th of July 1972.
Smokey's departure left the Miracles with the dilemma of having to replace one of the most distinctive voices in popular music.
Their choice was William 'Bill' Griffin (b. 15th August 1950, Detroit, Michigan, U.S.A.), who was introduced by Smokey to the group's audiences during the 1972 U.S. tour.
The album contained a collaboration with Marvin Gaye on the track 'I Love You Secretly'.
The following year, they released the singles 'Do It Baby' and 'Don'tcha Love It'.
city of angels (1975) / power of music (1976)
In 1975, 'Love Machine' became the Miracles' first U.S. chart-topper, while the concept album 'City Of Angels' was acclaimed as one of Motown's most adventurous releases.
The Miracles relocated to Columbia Records in 1977.
love crazy (1977) / the miracles (1978)
Billy Griffin, left the line-up setting out on a successful solo career, and charting in 1983 with 'Hold Me Tighter In The Rain'.
Donald Griffin briefly joined the group in his place, but the Miracles ceased recording in 1978.
Thereafter, Ronnie White and Bill Rogers steered the outfit into the new decade as a touring band, before the Miracles disbanded.
They were later re-formed by Bobby Rogers in 1982.
He enlisted Dave Finlay and Carl Cotton as the new Miracles.
Former members Billy Griffin and Claudette Robinson (Smokey ex wife at this time) recorded solo tracks for Ian Levine's Motor City label during 1988-91.
Another reformed group comprising Billy Griffin, Robinson, Rogers, Donald Griffin, Cotton and Finlay also recorded for Levine, remaking 'Love Machine' in 1990.
In 2009, original member Pete Moore is owner and CEO of his own Las Vegas-based entertainment firm, WBMM Enterprises.
Bobby Rogers,in addition to touring with the current group, is owner of his own interior design firm.
Ronnie White had become a real estate developer.
He passed away at the age of 57 on the 26th August 1995 from leukaemia, and is survived his wife, Gloria, a son, Ron II, and a daughter, Pamela.
Marv Tarplin continues to write songs, tour, and works with Smokey.
Claudette Robinson is a board member of the national Rhythm and Blues Foundation,and continues to perform at concerts with the Miracles.
Bobby Rogers passed away in 2013 from an undisclosed illness.
Smokey Robinson owns his own food corporation, Smokey Robinson Foods and continues to tour and record as a solo artist.
Hi, We're The Miracles (Tamla Records 1961)
Cookin' With The Miracles (Tamla Records 1962)
I'll Try Something New (Tamla Records 1962)
The Fabulous Miracles (Tamla Records 1963)
Recorded Live: On Stage (Tamla Records 1963)
Christmas With The Miracles (Tamla Records 1963)
The Miracles Doin Mickey's Monkey (Tamla Records 1963)
Going To A Go-Go (Tamla Records 1965)
I Like It Like That (Tamla Records 1965)
Away We A Go-Go (Tamla Records 1966)
Make It Happen (Tamla Records 1967)
Special Occasion (Tamla Records 1968)
Live! (Tamla Records 1969)
Time Out For Smokey Robinson And The Miracles (Tamla Records 1969)
Four In Blue (Tamla Records 1969)
What Love Has Joined Together (Tamla Records 1970)
A Pocket Full Of Miracles (Tamla Records 1970)
The Season For Miracles (Tamla Records 1970)
One Dozen Roses (Tamla Records 1971)
Flying High Together (Tamla Records 1972)
Renaissance (Tamla Records 1973)
Do It Baby (Tamla Records 1974)
Don't Cha Love It (Tamla Records 1975)
City Of Angels (Tamla Records 1975)
The Power Of Music (Tamla Records 1976)
Love Crazy (Columbia Records 1977)
The Miracles (Columbia Records 1978)