All Photos Courtesy of Devin Washington
At about 6:30am (Detroit time) Sunday, after a long illness, Bobby Rogers of Smokey Robinson & the Miraclesdied at his Detroit suburban home, he was 73 years old.
Rogers joined the pre-Miracles group The Matadors in the 1957. The group auditioned for Jackie Wilson and was turned down. But, Berry Gordy who was a songwriter for Wilson (“Lonely Tear Drops”) was there during the audition. Gordy pursued the rejected group (who he [Gordy] eventually managed, produced, and recorded), changed their name to ‘The Miracles’ and went on to build the label known as Motown.
Rogers along with the rest of the Miracles garnered a series of hits for the company (“Shop Around,” “Tears Of A Clown,” “Mickey’s Monkey,” and many more).
Interesting enough, the only girl in the group Claudette (Rogers) Robinson – Smokey’s former wife – was Bobby’s cousin.
After Smokey left the group in 1970, the Miracles continued to garner hits with new lead singer Billy Griffin:
On December 18, 1963 Rogers married one of the lead singers of the Motown group The Marvelettes, Wanda Young. They had several children together and divorced in 1975 after twelve years of marriage. In 1981 Rogers married Joan Hughes on his birthday.
“Bobby & Joan were beautiful people; I’m proud to say I am a friend. We love them very much, and I will miss Bobby,” said Billy Wilson founder of the Motown Alumni Association.
The wedding ceremony was officiated by the late Cecil Franklin, the older brother of Queen of Soul Aretha Franklin. Rogers and his wife Joan reared four children (Bobbae, Gina, Kimberly & Robert III).
Up until his death, Rogers was bed ridden in recent years, and cared for by his wife of 31 years Joan in their Detroit suburban home. Funeral arrangements were not available at this time.
From The Rolling Stone
Cleotha Staples, a founding member of the beloved Chicago soul group the Staple Singers, died Wednesday after a long battle with Alzheimer's, her sister Mavis Staples' rep has confirmed to Rolling Stone. She was 78.
Staples had suffered from the disease for 12 years, and recently had been under 24-hour home care. Mavis Staples told the Chicago Tribune that Cleotha's longtime caretaker was with her when she died Wednesday morning in her high-rise condominium on the South Side of Chicago.
500 Greatest Songs of All Time: The Staple Singers, 'I'll Take You There'
Belting the distinctive soprano parts on the Staple Singers soaring harmonies, Cleotha was a crucial part of the group's success on hits such as "I'll Take You There," "Respect Yourself" and "Uncloudy Day."
Cleotha, the oldest child of Roebuck "Pops" and Osceola Staples, began learning to sing in the late Forties when Pops taught her and her siblings – Mavis, Pervis and Yvonne – the songs he had sung as a child with his family at Dockery Farm plantation in Mississippi. Soon the Staple Singers were performing at churches throughout the South Side, and by 1953 they were cutting records and playing shows outside of Chicago.
The group scored their first nationwide gospel hit, "Uncloudy Day," in 1957, and saw continued success during the late Sixties and early Seventies with tracks produced by Stax Records' Al Bell.
"I credit Pops' guitar and Cleedy’s voice with making our sound so different," Mavis Staples said, referring to her sister by a nickname. "Her high voice – Pops would take her to a minor key a lot. A lot of singers would try to sing like her. Gladys Knight’s background singer [in the Pips], William [Guest], would tell Cleedy, 'I'm trying to sound like you.' Her voice would just ring in your ear. It wasn't harsh or hitting you hard, it was soothing. She gave us that country sound. The way we sang was the way Pops and his brothers and sisters would sing down in Mississippi. Those were the voices they would use to sing after dinner out on the gallery."