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Motown's First Lady Claudette Robinson



I'm Johnny Hansen Junior and welcome to another edition of and Black America on this week's program motown sixty years of Hicksville the USA with cloud at a net Robinson founding member of smokey Robinson and the Miracles Kim black uh-huh. I just couldn't get in the gross helps eight needs today. Everybody everybody gets real excited when I say Berry Gordy but he wasn't as well known at that time but smokey actually knew who he was because smokey you look at the hit parade magazine that was out in that magazine actually had Lee had the lyrics listed of the song as well as the song writer or writers and he has seen Mr Gordie's name down there so he was oh boy. You know I'm getting opportunity to see this famous guy well. I must admit admit I had never heard of Mr. I guess really sheltered or something and I've thought who is is because smoking was so excited he he was like oh so at the end of that. Mr Gordy said he'd like to work with us on February nineteenth nineteen fifty eight miracle. I I single gotTa job was released in nineteen sixty. The song shop around became motown's first million seller that same year Motown L. Founder Berry GORDY stored on Claudette Robinson the official title of quote First Lady of motown into quote born Claudette Rogers in New Orleans. She was bright and adventurous like many contemporary. She developed her talent in the sanctuary. The family moved to Detroit Royd was she excelled academically with honors and graduated from Commerce High School at the age of fifteen. She attended Wayne State University through a sophomore year here. Before joining the Marine Corps reserves the miracles career has spanned more than five decades group has so more than sixty million records in two thousand nine commemorating their golden anniversary in the entertainment industry the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce on Miracles with a star on the Hollywood boulevard walk walk of fame as motown founder Berry Gordy stood at the podium. He's saying we quote without two miracles. There will be no motown and of quote. Ah Recently Robinson was in Austin Texas to participate in the summit on race in America and the opening of the Grammy Museum's new exhibit motown the sound L. of young America Roberson said down with them Black America for this exclusive interview born in New Orleans. You all moved to Detroit. Actually I moved to Detroit. When I was eight years old? I was living with my grandmother at the time and she passed away and my mom came for me because I was actually living doing with my grandmother at the time and we moved to Detroit on the west side of Detroit us now going back in the day in Detroit. Well you know when your kid everything is wonderful and amazing first of all I saw snow for the first time and it was a lot of fun you know because now I was with my brother I had two older step sisters and my stepsisters would take me like like to the Tigers Games 'cause one. She was just so fascinated and excited until she took me with her. All the time. I think that was one of the ways that she could get out because I don't think she was supposed to be dating so she took me as the excuse you know put the miracles together well. The miracles came together or my brother had a group which consisted of smokey Bobby Ronnie and Pete and the guys had a group firstly we the chimes chimes five times and they became the matadors will when my brother was a matador I actually formed a group of five girls and that group was matador aretz prior to that when my brother was an orchid I had a group called the orchestra so whatever you did I kinda followed his is legal. My brother decided nothing was happening with the show business stuff so he decided to join the army as a result the guys used to always practice in in our basement to rehearse in all of that so I heard all the songs and after my brother was gone a great audition came an opportunity for an audition in came about and it was absolutely fascinating you know and that maybe you get an opportunity to be able to record and as a result smokey asked me would I go to the audition with them as their fifth member and I said yes and that the idea and when we got there and rehearsed the gentleman that was auditioning us. I'm sorry I don't like I don't really like the group he didn't see say it just like that but it meant that what he wanted actually at that time he wanted smokey and I'd be like a dual and the duo would have been just he and I see and forgetting the guys Mickey and Sylvia were real popular at the time and so therefore that's what they wanted that's so he wanted will of course we weren't GonNa leave the guys of course I was knew I wasn't really a part of their group yet and we we just kind of you know the guys especially. We're so so very very disappointed because they thought this was their one opportunity. They're going to get a recording contract. Well there was a gentleman walking around and that gentleman said do you have any more of those songs and smokey spoke up and he said yes he said how many said one hundred rid so we said well. Can I hear some of those so when the piano and we started singing and performing not very much performing mainly he just singing and re. I'm laughing because I actually was in my United States. Marine Corps a uniform. I was in the reserves reserves and I was you know it was that time of the day so it was coming from our basic practice and went to the audition and you know after all that happened and then this gentleman asking us to sing he listened very very patiently very repatirated. Every song has to have a beginning a middle and end so that you know how to write property can't be all over over the place and because we went to the audition singing five original songs and after that occurred you know when we saying the gentleman introduces himself and he said my name is Berry Gordy today. Everybody gets real excited when I say AH Berry Gordy but he wasn't as well known at that time but smoke he actually knew who he was because smoking you look at the hit parade magazine Zine that was out in that magazine actually had had the lyrics listed of the song as well as the song writer or writers and and he has seen Mr Gordie's name down there so he was like Oh boy you know I'm getting an opportunity to see this famous guy I must i I had never heard of Mr. I guess really sheltered or something and I thought who is because smokey was so excited excited. He was like Oh so at the end of that. Mister Gordy said he'd like to work with us so I was you know I'm new to the group so I I don't know include me or not and as as we kept talking to him then I found out later more about him and and his family is family was really well recognized around Detroit. You know they had so many entrepreneurship businesses. They had a a printing company. They had a record company. They had yes. They have construction. They also so had Mrs Gordy senior was well into the insurance business so they were really really entrepreneurs long before leaving her. Yes yes and there were eight children. Mr Gordon being a child number seven which always that's that's a pretty lucky number so we started working with him. Of course this year is that particular year was nineteen fifty seven so Mr Gordon was saying that we needed record so our first record that was released was February nineteenth nineteen fifty eight which coincidentally is bobby and smokey's birthdays and you know same same day same year same everything same hospital as well as they actually found out later an hour apart and they met fourteen years later uh well as story went on this is now nineteen fifty eight but there is no motown yet that had not occurred and and when we see that magnificent wonderful royalty check three dollars a nineteenth since it was like Oh my God you know. Is this this this what happens with showbusiness how you ever GonNa make are you going to ever have a home or an apartment or any of the above and smokey suggested to Mr Gordy that you know maybe you should have your own record company because we certainly could not do any worse yeah and that was kind of like the start a we had had prior to that a two record deal with the record label which was our I song gotTa Job can then after that we had a two record deal with chess records of and the thing is I don't recall with the royalty check was from wound gigantic. No no it was never gigantic. Unfortunately well well as as time you know went by motown itself which is now sixty years was started January twelfth nineteen nineteen fifty nine and would made that something remarkable as far as having a company Mr Gordon Gordon what had not only have thought that we should definitely have our own record our own whatever and and so the song for that became we recorded Chaperon my mother call she said Eh on you growing up now pretty soon new take awry and then she said

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