It was 50 years ago tonight (June 23rd, 1972) that Smokey Robinson performed his final show with the Miracles. The concert, which later was reissued on CD as part of Smokey Robinson & The Miracles: The LIVE! Collection, took place at Washington D.C.’s outdoor Carter Barron Amphitheatre. Joining the Miracles for their set was the group’s co-founder, and Smokey’s then-wife, Claudette Robinson, who had left the road in the mid-’60s to raise a family.
Highlights of the show included the group’s hits “The Tears Of A Clown,” “Shop Around,” and “More Love,” and covers of the Rolling Stones‘ “(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction,” Dion‘s “Abraham, Martin & John,” and Michael Jackson‘s then-current hit “Got To Be There.”
Toward the end of the concert, Smokey introduced his replacement, Billy Griffin, as the new lead singer for the Miracles. With Griffin, the Miracles went on to score a Number One hit in 1976 with “Love Machine (Part 1).”
Smokey Robinson says that performing live is a completely different experience to being holed up in a recording studio for months on end: “Yeah, it’s a different thing, but I enjoy performing. That’s probably my favorite part of this. Because I get a chance to see and be with the fans, and react to them and have them react to us one-on-one. And that’s my favorite thing.”