How fitting is this? In January 2008 a Fresh & Easy market opened on Sycamore Street and Hollywood Boulevard. On March 20, 2009 a “fresh & easy” group called the Miracles was honored with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame at the same intersection. I say “fresh & easy” because Motown’s Miracles, fronted by Smokey Robinson, delivered some of the most endearing, refreshing, and easy-listening music of all time. Songs like “Tracks of My Tears” and “More Love” are soundtracks to the world in which we live today. The event was engineered by Ron Brewington who also is credited with getting the late Marvin Gaye on the star walk.
Few people can say they wrote songs that were recorded by the Miracles during the Motown heyday, because they (Smokey being the principle writer) wrote their own songs. I was standing next to songwriters Eddie and Brian Holland (of the Holland/Dozier/Holland [HDH] team) as the Miracles – Robinson, Bobby Rogers, Pete Moore, Claudette Robinson, Ronnie White (posthumously), and Billy Griffin (who took over lead vocal assignments after Smokey departed the group in 1972) – were being honored.
In 1966 HDH wrote and produced a song on the Miracles called “Come ‘Round Here (I’m the One You Need)”. That song in my opinion epitomizes what the Miracles were all about. The single version of the song with “Save Me” as the “B” side showcased a determined and convincing Smokey Robinson lead vocal and an amazing background vocal pattern that was developed by Lamont Dozier as Eddie Holland recalls.
“Lamont was assigned background details…the Miracles were interesting and very provocative…Smokey was the best we had at Motown”, said Eddie. Even though his reputation for writing great lyrics earned him the title of “the Pen”, Eddie went on to say, “I always felt Smokey was the best”.
The entire ceremony was fantastic! Smokey and Berry Gordy had just returned from a taping of American Idol staged at the Motown Museum the day before in Detroit. Stevie Wonder gave opening remarks, followed by Gordy, and the crowd was exuberant!
The reception was attended as if it were a Motown family reunion. Mary Wilson of the Supremes was there as well as Cornelius Grant, Scherrie and Freda Payne, Louis Price, Iris Gordy, Janie Bradford, Marvin Marshall, Robert Bateman, Betty Kelly, Miller London and a host of others.
The Miracles – as they were known before they became Smokey Robinson & the Miracles, were the premier Motown act with other such hits as “Shop Around”; “You’ve Really Got A Hold On Me”; and “I Second That Emotion”.
Larry Buford is a Los Angeles based freelance writer. Author of “Things Are Gettin’ Outta Hand” (Lifevest Pub.) www.amazon.com
Visit the author at www.editorialnylarry.com or contact (213) 220-8101