Rock's Backpages Library Rock's Backpages

Smokey Robinson & The Miracles: 35th Anniversary Collection

Charles Shaar Murray, MOJO, July 1994

AS FAR AS I KNOW, Smokey Robinson and Frank Zappa never met. However, if they had, five'll getcha ten they'd have ended up talking about doo-wop. Zappa's passion for doo-wop – as formative an influence as Edgar Varese or Johnny Guitar Watson – surfaced in the mid-'60s, as soon as the liberating winds of psychedelia blew the Mothers into professional recording studios to record Freak Out; said passion derived from doo-wop's unique capacity to juxtapose – entirely without irony – swooning romanticism, great beauty and utter absurdity. Smokey and his Miracles, on the other hand, were authentic doo-woopers from the first, as demonstrated by the earliest item included here, November 1957's 'Got A Job', an answer record to the Silhouettes' epochal 'Get A Job'. Their harmonies came from the street-corner rather than the church: more than any of their colleagues, their particular strand of the Motown story is the story of the refinement of that tradition.

Total word count of piece: 786

Subscribe

Becoming a member is easy. Membership gives you access to all the thousands of articles in the library.

Click here to go to Subscribe page.

Click here for academic and other group subscriptions.

Login


Login via your library

If your local library has signed up with Rock's Backpages, please enter your card number below: