Miracles happen, and William "Smokey" Robinson is one in so many ways.
Robinson, a Living Legend with a lifetime Grammy Award to prove it, will let you ask him any question, request any song. Just show up at the Vilar Performing Arts Center tonight. You do have to buy a ticket, though.
"This show is up close and personal," Robinson said in a telephone interview. "It's not like a regular concert where everything is formatted for two or three hours."
There is no format. There is only fun.
"What the audience dictates is what we do," Robinson said.
Smokey Robinson is timeless, and still performs because he loves it and because he's great at it.
"I still do concerts. It's my favorite part of the work. We'll have them singing along, dancing, having a great time," Robinson said.
Go ahead and try to stump him and his band with a song request.
Between 1967 and 1988 with Motown, Robinson turned out 37 Top 40 hits with The Miracles and as a solo artist including "You've Really Got A Hold On Me," "Ooo Baby Baby," "The Tracks Of My Tears," "Going To A Go-Go," "More Love," "Tears Of A Clown" (co-written with Stevie Wonder), and "I Second That Emotion."
His catalog includes 4,000 songs. He's been at this since he was 15 years old and he's far from done, he said.
"I still write songs all the time and I'll be going into the studio soon to record a new album," he said.
William Robinson was born and raised in Detroit, Mich., where he was Diana Ross' next-door neighbor. He founded The Chimes when he was 15. Three of those Chimes - Pete Moore, Ron White and Robinson - later became Matadors, and eventually The Miracles.
You should know that The Miracles was Berry Gordy's first Motown Records vocal group, and now you do. Their single of Robinson's "Shop Around" became Motown's first No. 1 hit.
Eventually, Robinson became vice president of Motown Records, serving as in-house producer, talent scout and songwriter. He penned hits for several other Motown legends including The Supremes, The Temptations, The Marvelletes, Mary Wells, and Marvin Gaye.
He hit the road as a solo artist after Motown was sold, and retired in 1972. Retirement didn't suit him.
"I was climbing the walls," Robinson said.
So he put his silky smooth high tenor voice back in front of a band and went back to work about a year later.
He's bringing five of those musicians and him to tonight's Vilar show.
Staff Writer Randy Wyrick can be reached at 970-748-2935 or firstname.lastname@example.org.