Thursday Throwback – Smokey Robinson

Having a hit song on the charts just once is a great feat for an artist, but having it hit the charts multiple times is phenomenal.  Such is the case with singer/songwriter Smokey Robinson.  Of course Robinson’s music has never been a stranger to the charts. Throughout his career he was a hit-maker as a member of The Miracles with songs like “The Tears of a Clown,” “Tracks of My Tears,” “Ooh Baby Baby,” and “Who’s Lovin’ You,” along with hits he penned for artists such as The Temptations and Mary Wells.  As a solo artist, Robinson continued to make waves with songs like “Quiet Storm” and “Being With You.” His 1979 single “Cruisin’” became a recurring hit.  The music for the song was written by Robinson’s guitarist Marv Tarplin.  It wasn’t until five years later that Robinson came up with the lyrics, while driving down Sunset Boulevard.  “Cruisin’” made it to number four on the Billboard Hot 100 and Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Singles charts.  Sixteen years later, the song again became a mainstay of the radio airwaves, making it to number 10 on the Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Singles chart when it was released as the single from D’Angelo’s debut album, Brown Sugar.  The third time would prove to be the charm for the song to make it to the top of the charts.  In 2000, a cover of “Cruisin’” performed by actress Gwyneth Paltrow and singer Huey Lewis for the feature film Duets made it to number one on the Adult Contemporary chart.  While the song has been covered and sampled by other artists as well, with varying degrees of success, for old school fans, no one does it like Smokey.

–Montrose Cunningham

Montrose Cunningham is an independent funk/rock/soul artist and devoted music aficionado residing in Dallas, Texas. When he isn’t digging through the crates–digital and analog–he’s jamming with his band or hanging with his daughter, sometimes at the same time. Purchase his latest release “Inertia” at, visit him on Facebook, and follow him on Twitter @MontroseC.




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