Bobby Rogers shared a birthday with Smokey Robinson and they began singing together at Detroit's Northern High School. Their group, The Matadors, changed its name to The Miracles after Rogers' cousin, Claudette Rogers, joined. She later married Smokey. "My cousin Bobby, who was like a brother to me, lost his battle and succumbed today," Claudette Rogers Robinson said in a statement Sunday. Smokey Robinson said in a statement that "another soldier in my life has fallen. Bobby Rogers was my brother and a really good friend. I am really going to miss him. I loved him very much." The cause of death was complications of diabetes, according to the Detroit News.
The Miracles were the first success for Berry Gordy's Motown organization. From the "Rock and Roill Hall of Fame, which inducted The Miracles last year:
At a 1957 audition with Jackie Wilson’s manager, the Miracles met Berry Gordy Jr., a budding songwriter and music-business entrepreneur. This fateful introduction would change all of their lives. The Miracles were the first act on Tamla, which was the first label in what would become Gordy’s Motown empire. In fact, it was Robinson who urged Gordy to start his own company after hearing him complain about how little money accrued from their work for other labels. Before the Motown miracle materialized, the Miracles cut their first singles for the End and Chess labels. With Gordy as producer and manager, they debuted in 1958 with “Got a Job,” an answer song to the Silhouettes’ “Get a Job.” It was released on Robinson's 18th birthday.
Smokey Robinson and Rogers shared song-writing credit on the 1965 single "Going to a Go Go." Here they lip-synch "Mickey's Monkey" on the syndicated show "Hollywood A Go Go" filmed at the KHJ studios in Hollywood. Rogers is in the glasses. In front, DeDe Mollner (left) and Gwen Selvage of the show's Gazzarri Dancers take the audience's mind off the lip-synching.
"Shop Around" was the first hit for The Miracles and Motown: