Legendary singers love making “greatest hits” duet albums – Frank Sinatra, Ray Charles, Tony Bennett, and now Motown’s Smokey Robinson joins the ranks. To be released August 19, Smokey & Friends includes duets with Mary J Blige (‘Being With You’), John Legend (‘Quiet Storm’), Elton John, Sheryl Crow and Jessie J, among others.
David Ritz, coauthor of the 1989 autobiography, Smokey: Inside My Life, tells a story of riding in a limo with Marvin Gaye. ”The radio was playing really soft, because Marvin didn’t like loud music,” says Ritz. “’Ooo Baby Baby’ came on, and I remember Marvin saying ‘Okay, let’s all be quiet.’ Then he turned to the driver and said, ‘Turn that up really loud.’ As he listened, his eyes closed and he had this little smile on his face. When the song was over, he turned to me and said, very reverentially, ‘There is only one Smokey Robinson.”’