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6 Responses to “SMOKEY ROBINSON / “Quiet Storm””

Stephanie Renee Says:
March 24th, 2008 at 9:57 am

Haven’t finished checking out the music yet, but I wanted to add a few points:

1) For a study in someone else banking on that “wicked falsetto,” see the Teena Marie songbook. No surprise that she started on Motown, given that she was so obviously influenced by Smokey’s style.


2) The originator of the beloved “Quiet Storm” radio format was the late great Melvin Lindsey, of DC’s WHUR-FM. I had a HUGE crush on him as a kid, and Dyana Williams still speaks glowingly of Melvin’s vast contribution to Black radio by making it OK for folks to relax to a solid block of love music on the airwaves every evening.

Qawi Says:
March 24th, 2008 at 11:28 am

“carte noir” what a term. 🙂

Thanks Stephanie…you said mostly everything I would have said. Marvin Gaye also has a wicked falsetto, and even sings backup on his own tunes. Aaron Nevile also comes to mind.

Okay, but since this is a blog about Smokey, his writing seems always better than his singing. This is not saying that I don’t like his singing, but as a lyricist, only Dozier, Gamble and Huff can compare.

For what its worth, the music for Quiet Storm isn’t passe either. It has some ethereal trancendental mood to it with a bassline to boot.

Big E Says:
March 24th, 2008 at 11:48 pm

I just had to put my two cents on this one. In reference to “She’s Only a Baby Herself”, I can remember this song, along with Billy Paul’s “Let’s Make a Baby” was banned from radio airplay. A little too risque’ back in the day. Nowadays these two songs are considered TAME!!! Interesting how time changes things.

Jericho Brown Says:
March 26th, 2008 at 9:54 am

I’m always amazed at how right he got it in these albums–and, considering his past at Motown and what was expected of him and other writer/producers in the 60s, how much he seems to have no regard for the pop chart with these songs. Marvin Gaye seems to make his 70s albums almost against the wishes of the company, but Smokey is the company and doing something all his own here. I wasn’t there, so I could be wrong, but neither one of the albums seem to be about selling albums. It’s like he really wants to make music for the sake of it, for the love of it–no pressure from Berry Gordy now that Motown’s president would rather be found on a movie set than a recording studio. I say all that, but I’m still a little confused by the hair. I’m not sure that the immaculate natural has anything to do with “where he’s coming from.” The jeri curl he moves to in the 80s, the twists in the late 90s when the man is in his 60s, seem like following the popular hairstyles of the times, which is what popular artists who actually sell records seem to do. Maybe the hair is all of what is Motown about Robinson as a recording artist at this point. Even Diana Ross had an afro on a couple of album covers in the 70s. I remember reading somewhere that she actually had a physical fight with Shelly Berger who wasn’t going to let her wear the wig on one of those covers. I don’t know if that’s about coming from anywhere in particular if her idol Robinson (you can hear just how much she imitates some of his crooning inflections listening to some of these songs) has an afro on his album covers. I say all this because on the album that’s really her, The Boss from 1979 (Ashford and Simpson), she’s sports the longest and most flowing perm she’s shown on a cover to that date–hair she hasn’t really gotten rid of since. In the 70s, there seems to me no explaining Motown’s four big hit solo artists–Gaye, Robinson, Ross, and Wonder. All that’s simple and obvious about them in the 60s and 80s gets complicated by the 70s.

Oldies fan Says:
June 5th, 2008 at 6:05 pm

I do kno,i lost respect for smokey when I accidentally played his song “being with you” backwards and heard

Yeah,sweet satan
It was clear as regular speaking
Freaked me out,because I loved Smokey

Glenrose Says:
December 25th, 2008 at 11:53 pm

smokey’s voice, i listen 2 his songs every nite all of his slow songs, the oldies, the first time i saw him him in person, i lost my voice 4 three days, i am not a kid just your no. 1 fan. keep it up. your song really gonna miss you, really hits home, i lost my son Sharrieff in 1996, i listen 2 your music almost every nite.

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