In every way, the Miracles was a family affair, and the other members were important to the success of the group.
As writer Mark Vining noted, “Vocal interplay within a simple, concise song was a paramount attribute of the group.” As background singers, the Miracles were “unsurpassed when it comes to melting harmonies and spun-sugar vocals,” wrote journalist Vince Aletti.
In 1955 Robinson formed the Five Chimes, which consisted of Robinson and Moore, along with high-school classmates James Grice, Clarence Dawson and Donald Wicker.
Ronnie White replaced Wicker; Emerson “Sonny” Rogers replaced Dawson; Bobby Rogers replaced Grice; and the group then became the Matadors.
A steady stream of Robinson-penned Miracles classics in a more polished style followed.
They include “You Really Got a Hold On Me” (Number Eight pop, Number One R&B), “Ooo Baby Baby” (Number Sixteen pop, Number Four R&B), “The Tracks of My Tears” (Number Sixteen pop, Number Two R&B), and “I Second That Emotion” (Number four pop, Number One R&B).
Throughout the Sixties, Robinson’s duties at Motown steadily grew beyond his work with the Miracles.
Smokey Robinson and the Miracles’ success culminated in 1970 with “The Tears of a Clown,” their first Number One pop hit.
Somewhat unusually, “The Tears of a Clown” was a three-year-old album track (from 1967’s ) when a British Motown executive issued it in the U. It topped the British charts and then followed suit in the U. In total, Smokey Robinson and the Miracles scored thirty-eight Top 40 hits on the pop and/or R&B charts from 1960 to 1972.
The Primettes went on to fame and fortune as the Supremes, while Tarplin remained a close associate and frequent songwriting partner throughout Robinson’s life.
The Miracles' first hit, "Shop Around," reached Number Two and sold a million copies.