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The Miracles Biography

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The Miracles In-depth Biography

Scoring over 40 hits on the R&B Top 40 charts, the Miracles} started out as the Five Chimes} in the mid-'50s while the members were still in high school. The Detroit vocal group consisted of William "Smokey" Robinson}, Warren "Pete" Moore}, Clarence "Humble" Dawson}, Donald Wicker}, and James "Rat" Grice}. Not too long after the group formed, Wicker} and Grice} left and were replaced by cousins Emerson "Sonny" Rogers} and Bobby Rogers}, who both sang tenor, and baritonist Ronnie White} was in Dawson}'s place. The vocal quintet then changed its name to the Matadors} and in 1956 Claudette Rogers} joined the band after her brother Sonny} was drafted. The Matadors} auditioned for Jackie Wilson}'s manager, Nat Tarnopol}, in 1956. Although Tarnopol} wasn't interested, finding the group too similar to the Platters}, one of Wilson}'s songwriters, Berry Gordy, Jr.}, was and he soon began producing the band, who now went by the name the Miracles}. Gordy} produced their first single, "Got a Job,"} (an answer to the Silhouettes}' "Get a Job"}) which was issued by the New York label End Records} in 1958.

After one more release on this label, the Miracles} recorded their first song for Gordy}'s new Motown/Tamla} label, 1959's "Bad Girl"} (which was issued nationally on the Chess} label). Next came the first hit for both the group and the label, 1960's "Shop Around,"} which reached number one on the R&B charts and number two pop. The next song by the Miracles} to hit the number one R&B spot and reach the pop Top Ten came two years later with "You've Really Got a Hold on Me."} Robinson} and Claudette Rogers} were married in 1963 and she retired from the group a year later. The band's last big hit before they changed their name from the Miracles} was "Going to a Go-Go"} (1966), which climbed into the Top Five on the R&B charts and the pop Top 20. Later that year, "I'm the One You Need"} reached the Top 20. After this, the group's name changed to Smokey Robinson & the Miracles} and they scored two more number one songs: "I Second That Emotion"} (1967) and "The Tears of a Clown"} (1970). Robinson} left the group to pursue a solo career in 1972 and 20-year-old Billy Griffin} was brought in to replace the lead singer. Once again the Miracles}, the band scored several more hits, including "Do It Baby"} and "Don't Cha Love It,"} which both reached the R&B} Top Ten. The Miracles} experienced a big success in early 1976 with "Love Machine (Part 1),"} which reached number one on the pop} charts. The multi-million selling single came off of their second album without Robinson}, 1975's City of Angels}, and stayed on the charts for over six months, making it the longest-running hit the band ever had. Their final album on the Motown} label, Power of Music}, followed. After this, the Miracles} added a new member, Griffin}'s brother Don}, and the band switched over to Columbia Records}. Their first CBS} release was Love Crazy} (1977), which contained a single, "Spy for the Brotherhood,"} that was pulled off the record after complaints from the FBI. The group's last charting single, "Mean Machine,"} made the R&B} Top 100 in 1978. Griffin} pursued a solo career and Moore} became a record producer in Detroit. In the late '80s, Bobby Rogers} started the New Miracles}, and in 1990 the Miracles} (including Griffin} and Claudette Robinson}) reunited to re-record "Love Machine"} for the U.K. Motorcity} label. ~ Joslyn Layne, All Music Guide

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