"The fireside, the lamplight intimate and low, reverie with finger at the brow, and eyes that lose themselves in answering looks..."
– Paul Verlaine, ‘La Bonne Chanson’
BORN ON FEBRUARY 19, 1940, William "Smokey" Robinson was blessed at birth with an extraordinary poetic vision: God stepped down from His lofty perch and kissed the newborn's brow. Since then, Smokey – with a voice that can melt M&M's – has made us swoon, massaging our hearts with a romantic lyricism that justly earned him the title of World's Greatest Living Poet (awarded by Bob Dylan and Patti Smith, prior to their recent demise).
From the Miracles' inception in the late '50s, Smokey swore that his music was inspired by the 12-year-old Frankie Lymon; presently, because of his meticulous phrasing and air of self-confidence, he seems to be inspired by a more ancient deity, Frank Sinatra. During his waning years, Sinatra's voice has mellowed, like a fine whiskey, into an authoritative perfection; similarly, Smokey's voice now sails through a melody as if guided by the wisdom of a navigator so sure of his course that not even an approaching fog could dim his visibility.