Posts Tagged ‘The Jackson 5’

Where There’s Smoke…

Tuesday, February 14th, 2012

Writer and singer of love songs; smooth, falsetto voice; record producer; Motown executive; easy on the eyes; easier on the ears; lullabies on sleepless nights– these all come to mind when I think of Smokey Robinson.  My earliest memory of Smokey Robinson is hearing “Shop Around” on a Motown tour album my parents stacked on the ‘hi-fi’ among albums by Aretha Franklin, Ray Charles, Sam Cook and The Platters.  When I was nine, a family vacation in Atlantic City turned out into a concert fest that included Ray and his revue; Freda Payne (my brother could barely contain himself); and the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band.  But, the most memorable afternoon of that trip was one spent seeing Smokey Robinson & the Miracles rocking the Steel Pier.

Later, when Smokey went solo, he and the Miracles played one last time on “Midnight Special”.  Ninety minutes of just THEM.  The show opened with Smokey in the spotlight and his preamble to Sweet Harmony.  By the end of the song, I thought I saw a tear.  I know I cried a few.

In the years that have passed since then, Smokey, with and without the Miracles, has continued to be a fixture on the soundtrack of my life.  His love songs along with those by The Whispers, The Manhattans, The Temptations, Barry White and other Mellow Men, grace my quiet nights when I want to enjoy the stars in the sky or the romance in the air.  And, they are my lullabies, still.

So, today, more than ever, where there’s Smoke, there’s love.

(This is for all my friends at Todd Grundy’s Question Of The Day;  especially Scottie, who, like me, thinks excluding Smokey from any ‘best of’ song list is simply criminal.  No cuffs will be needed today.)

TNS – Cupid’s Hunt – Where There’s Smoke…

  1. Quiet Storm – Smokey Robinson – A Quiet Storm
  2. You’ve Really Got A Hold On Me – Smokey Robinson & the Miracles – Motown Love
  3. TGrundy
  4. (You Can) Depend On Me – Smokey Robinson & the Miracles – The Ultimate Collection
  5. Ooo Baby Baby – Smokey Robinson & the Miracles – Motown Love
  6. Fave
  7. The One Who Really Loves You – Mary Wells – Motown Love
  8. I’ll Try Something New – Smokey Robinson & the Miracles – The Ultimate Collection
  9. Tracks of My Tears – Aretha Franklin – Respect and Other Hits
  10. DarrenKeith
  11. My Girl – The Temptations – The Temptations Sing Smokey
  12. The Love I Saw In You Was Just A Mirage – Smokey Robinson & the Miracles – The Ultimate Collection
  13. Since I Lost My Baby – Luther Vandross – The Essential Luther Vandross
  14. We’ve Come Too Far To End It Now – Smokey Robinson & the Miracles – The Ultimate Collection
  15. Who’s Loving You – Smokey Robinson & the Miracles – The Ultimate Collection
  16. Who’s Loving You – The Jackson 5 – Love Songs
  17. Angel Turner
  18. Sweet Harmony – Smokey Robinson – Sweet Harmony
  19. Baby Come Close – Smokey Robinson – Sweet Harmony
  20. Everything You Touch – Smokey Robinson – The Solo Anthology
  21. One Heartbeat – Smokey Robinson – Motown Love
  22. Cruisin’ – Smokey Robinson – The Ultimate Collection
  23. Blame It On Love – Smokey Robinson, Deniece Williams – The Solo Anthology
  24. Ebony Eyes – Smokey Robinson, Rick James – Motown Love
  25. Wedding Song – Smokey Robinson – A Quiet Storm

August Birthday Mix – For Michael

Saturday, August 28th, 2010

“Thriller-ites” just don’t understand.

Those who knew Michael Jackson only as the ‘King of Pop’ have no idea how important he was to those of us who were growing up during the Motown years; when “I Want You Back” could breathe life into the deadest party; when “Who’s Loving You” became his song long after Smokey penned and sang it; when we argued endlessly about whether Jermaine was a better singer or Marlon a better dancer; when we raced each other to the record store for the latest release; or when every garage band played at least one Jackson 5 song at local talent shows.  Those early years were the foundation of why we loved him so much and so faithfully later; through the craziness, the surgeries, the tabloid garbage and the trial.

It’s been more than a year since Michael Jackson passed away.  I’ve avoided including the Jackson boys from all but (I think) two of my mixes.  The truth is, I still have a hard time listening to the old stuff without shedding a tear or two; and converting my favorites from vinyl to mp3 is quite a task.  However, Michael’s birthday is approaching…it’s time.

When I heard about the memorial service at the Staples Center, I cringed at the thought of the media spectacle it might be.   Instead, it was a going home service reminiscent of those I’d grown up attending.  I sat among the Thriller-ites at work, and I was proud of those Jackson boys, the Jackson family and all who gave our boy that wonderful send-off.  But, I didn’t cry…not at work.

The service was rebroadcast later that night, when I was at home with my kids.  We sat and watched; and talked about the songs, the concerts, the records and the music.  We sang along with the performers. All the time, I kept my eyes on that gold coffin, trying to process that it held boy, laying inside, never to come back to us and sing “Who’ s Loving You” again.  We talked about the four concerts I attended: with my brother, Larry, in ‘72; with Todd, Curt and some friends from ‘the block’ in ‘73; with a group of girlfriends senior year; and with my husband and infant daughter (you could take a baby to a concert back then) in 1979.  We talked about how Curt and I used to race to be the first to buy the newest single.  Whoever was first would call and play it over the phone.  (I was first when “Sugar Daddy” hit the stores.)

After the rebroadcast was over, and the kids had gone back to their Xbox 360; and after I had let in the dog and put out the cat; I closed myself in the living room with a bottle of my favorite wine, my Crossley Stack-O-Matic, and a few stacks of Jackson vinyl.  It was mostly pre-Thriller stuff – the group hits and the solo albums from the Motown years that blasted in the basements of my house and Todd’s, and from the window of Curt’s living room to us on the porch.  I sang and I danced.  And, finally, I cried a while.

For a sweet-voiced little boy from the soundtrack of my life.

For Michael.

For Michael

Song – Artist – Album

  1. Intro – TGrundy
  2. This is For Michael –  JBethune
  3. With a Child’s Heart – Michael Jackson – Music And Me
  4. I Want You Back – The Jackson 5 – Diana Ross Presents The Jackson 5
  5. Who’s Loving You – The Jackson 5 – Love Songs
  6. Ain’t No Sunshine – Michael Jackson – Got To Be There
  7. Sugar Daddy – The Jackson 5 – Greatest Hits
  8. Honey Chile – The Jackson 5 – Maybe Tomorrow
  9. One More Chance – The Jackson 5 – ABC
  10. I’ll Be There – The Jackson 5 – Third Album
  11. Got To Be There – Michael Jackson – Got To Be There
  12. Promo – TGrundy
  13. Who’s Loving You (Live) – The Jackson 5 – Goin’ Back To Indiana
  14. Walk On (Live) – The Jackson 5 – Goin’ Back To Indiana
  15. Wings Of My Love – Michael Jackson – Got To Be There
  16. Ben – Michael Jackson – Ben
  17. We’ve Got A Good Thing Going – Ben
  18. To Know – The Jackson 5 – Lookin’ Through The Windows
  19. Get It Together – The Jackson 5 – Get It Together
  20. Dapper Dan – Michael Jackson – Forever, Michael
  21. Push Me Away – The Jacksons – Destiny
  22. One Day In Your Life – Michael Jackson – Forever, Michael
  23. We’ve Got Forever – Michael Jackson – Forever, Michael
  24. Music And Me – Michael Jackson – Music And Me