Thursday, March 7, 2013

Bobby Rogers of The Miracles R.I.P.

Bobby Rogers, best known as one of Motown group The Miracles, died on 3 March 2013 at the age of 73.  The cause was complications from diabetes.

Bobby Rogers was born  19 February 1940 in Detroit, Michigan. He started singing while still very young. Eventually he and future Miracle Pete Moore sang together. It was in 1955 that Smokey Robinson and Pete Moore formed The Four Chimes. It would not be long before Bobby Rogers joined the group. The Four Chimes would eventually become The Matadors and later still The Miracles. The Miracles auditioned for Brunswick Records in 1957. Brunswick Records rejected the group, although one person present at the audition thought that The Miracles had potential--songwriter Berry Gordy. Berry Gordy agreed to work with the group and as a result their first single, "Got a Job," was produced by him and released in 1958 on End Records. It was in 1959 that Berry Gordy formed his own label, Tamla Records. Their next single, "Bad Girl," would be their next hit. It was released in the Detroit area on Mr. Gordy's Motown label, but distributed nationally by Chess Records. The song went to #93 on Billboard's Hot 100, marking the first time The Miracles did so.

The Miracles' next single would be the first to be released on Berry Gordy's Tamla label, as would all of their subsequent releases. "Way Over There" also cracked Billboard's Hot 100, peaking at #94. The third time would prove to be the charm for The Miracles. Their third single was a collaboration between Smokey Robinson and Berry Gordy. It not only reached #1 on the Billboard R&B chart, but it also went to #2 on the Hot 100. In the end it became the first million selling record for the Motown Record Corporation. The Miracles' next several singles would not do nearly as well, cracking only the top forty of the Hot 100 and sometimes not even that. It was with "You Really Got a Hold on Me," however, that the group had their next smash hit. The song went to #8 on the Billboard Hot 100 and #1 on the Billboard R&B chart.

Thereafter The Miracles would regularly hit the Hot 100 for the rest of the Sixties. For the next few years they would have such hits as "I Gotta Dance to Keep From Crying," "I Like It Like That," and "Ooo Baby Baby." "The Tracks of My Tears" would not only prove to be a hit in the United States, but would also be their first hit in the United Kingdom, going to #9 on the British singles chart. The Miracles (and after 1966 as Smokey Robinson and The Miracles) would continue to have hits for the rest of the Sixties, including "My Girl Has Gone," "Going to a Go-Go," "I Second That Emotion," "If You Can Want," "Baby, Baby Don't Cry," and "The Tears of a Clown." Even though "Tears of a Clown" went to #1 in both the United States and the United Kingdom, Smokey Robinson and The Miracles would have only one more big hit. "I Don't Blame You At All" hit #18 on the Billboard Hot 100 and #11 on the British singles chart.

After Smokey Robinson left The Miracles in 1972 the group continued.  They would have a few more hits, including "Do It Baby (which went to #13 on the Hot 100 in 1974) and "Love Machine (which went to #1 on the Hot 100 in 1975). In 1977 The Miracles left Motown and signed with Columbia Records. Sadly, they would have no more hit records. The group disbanded in 1978, although in 1980 Ronnie White and Bobby Rogers formed "The New Miracles" as a touring group. Ronnie White retired in 1983, and so The New Miracles disbanded. In 1993 The Miracles reformed again and continued to perform sporadically until Bobby Rogers was forced to retire in 2011 due to declining health.

Bobby Rogers not only provided a smooth tenor voice for The Miracles, but he was also one of Motown's major songwriters. For The Miracles he wrote "That's What Love Is Made Of" and "Going to a Go-Go." For The Temptations he wrote "The Way You Do the Things You Do" and "My Baby." For The Contours he wrote "First I Look at the Purse." Over the years he wrote some of Motown's best known song. Bobby Rogers was then not only important as one of The Miracles, but also a songwriter as well.

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