William "Smokey" Robinson Jr. is an American singer-songwriter and record producer who achieved massive success both as a member of a group named The Miracles and as a solo performer. In an illustrious career that spanned over six decades, he has cemented for himself an unparalleled legacy. A native of the Motor City, he developed a deep interest in music quite early in his life and set up his first band, a doo-wop group named the Five Chimes. Over the course of the next few years, they went through several other names before settling on The Miracles’. In 1959, they signed a record deal with Tamla Records, which would later be incorporated as Motown. As one of their earliest clients, the group played an instrumental role in making the label an internationally popular brand and Robinson penned numerous hit songs for Motown’s other artists as well. In 1965, The Miracles changed their name officially to Smokey Robinson & the Miracles. He took a hiatus from the business in 1972, returning a year later as a solo artist. Initially unsuccessful, Robinson soon won back his audience. In 1990, after the sale of Motown Records, he left the label and has since worked with other recording companies, including Universal and Verve. Talking about how he got the nickname “Smokey” in an interview in 2012, Robinson revealed it was originally used by his favorite uncle and godfather.