“The Miracles” Bobby Rogers Bobby Rogers (February 19, 1940 - March 3, 2013), born Robert E. Rogers, was an American soul singer and songwriter, notable as a member of Motown Records' first signed act and first million selling group The Miracles from 1956 until 2011. He was inducted along with the other members of the Miracles with the exception of Smokey Robinson in 2012 to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Rogers was the grandfather of R&B singer Brandi Williams from R&B girl group Blaque. Rogers was the son of Robert and Lois Rogers. He was born on February 19, 1940 the same day and in the same Detroit hospital as fellow Miracles member Smokey Robinson, although the two would not meet until 15 years later. On December 18, 1963 Rogers married Wanda Young, of Inkster, Michigan, the lead singer of Motown group The Marvelettes. They had several children together and divorced in 1975 after twelve years of marriage. In 1981 Rogers married Joan Hughes on his birthday. The wedding ceremony was officiated by the late Cecil Franklin (older brother of Queen of Soul Aretha Franklin) at Detroit's historic New Bethel Baptist Church. Rogers and his wife Joan had four children (Bobbae, Gina, Kimberly and Robert III) all are now adults. Rogers resided between his primary residence in Plymouth, Michigan, a western suburb of Detroit, Michigan and a Beverly Hills, California pied-à-terre with wife Joan. Rogers' cousin, Claudette Rogers, was also a member of the Miracles, and later married Smokey Robinson.
Claudette Robinson, another member of the Miracles, said that while Rogers was her cousin, he was more "like a brother to me." "Bobby will be missed and mourned by many," said Robinson, who was once married to Smokey Robinson and serves as the Miracles spokeswoman. "Rest in peace, my brother of 'song.'
In addition to his work in The Miracles, Rogers was a part-time Motown songwriter; his most notable composition, authored with bandmate Smokey Robinson, was The Temptations' first hit single, "The Way You Do the Things You Do". Rogers also co-wrote The Temptations' 1965 hit "My Baby", Mary Wells' hit, "What Love Has Joined Together", The Contours' 1965 hit "First I Look at the Purse", (later covered by the J Geils Band), Marvin Gaye's 1966 Top 40 hit, "One More Heartache" and The Miracles' own 1964 Top 40 hit, "That's What Love Is Made Of", and their 1966 hit, "Going to a Go-Go". He is also noted for doing co-lead vocals on The Miracles' 1962 Top 10 smash, "You've Really Got a Hold on Me", and singing lead on the group's 1964 song, "You're So Fine And Sweet". Bobby was also reputed to be the group's best dancer, and was responsible for many of the Miracles' onstage routines, until the arrival of famed Motown choreographer Cholly Atkins. In late 2006, Bobby re-united with original Miracles members Smokey Robinson and Pete Moore for the group's first-ever extended interview on the Motown DVD release, Smokey Robinson & The Miracles : The Definitive Performances. Rogers continued to perform throughout the United States, Canada, and Europe with members Dave Finley, Tee Turner, and Mark Scott in the current incarnation of The Miracles, which made him, as of 2009, the longest-serving original Miracles member.
On March 20, 2009, Bobby was in Hollywood to be honored along with the other original members of The Miracles (Smokey Robinson, Claudette Robinson and Pete Moore) as they received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. Also on hand were Gloria White, the wife of original Miracles member Ronnie White who is deceased (White is responsible for discovering Motown artist Stevie Wonder), and Bill Griffin was in attendance. He replaced Smokey Robinson when he left the group. In 1987, Smokey Robinson was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as a solo artist. However, in a decision that has since sparked much scrutiny, debate, and controversy, the other original members of The Miracles, Bobby Rogers, Ronnie White, Marv Tarplin, Pete Moore and Claudette Robinson, were not, at that time, inducted. This proved a source of many protests from angry Miracles fans.
On February 9, 2012, it was announced that Bobby Rogers would be inducted with the rest of The Miracles into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame alongside Miracles lead singer Smokey Robinson. This induction occurred on April 14, 2012. After a 26 year wait, Bobby was automatically and retroactively inducted with the rest of the original Miracles, Marv Tarplin, Pete Moore, Claudette Robinson, and Ronnie White into The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame alongside Miracles lead singer Smokey Robinson. The induction was handled by a Special Committee designated by The Rock Hall in 2012, that inducted The Miracles, and five other deserving pioneering groups, that were overlooked when their lead singers were inducted into the Rock Hall many years ago. This induction occurred without the usual process of nomination and voting, under the premise that the entire group should have been inducted with Smokey Robinson back in 1987.
Smokey Robinson, born hours apart from Rogers in the same Detroit hospital on February 19, 1940, saluted his former compatriot in his own statement, saying: "Another soldier in my life has fallen." "Bobby Rogers was my brother and a really good friend," he said. "I am really going to miss him. I loved him very much."
Rogers is survived by his wife Joan, children Bobbae Rogers, Gina Hughes, Kimberly Hughes, and Robert Rogers III; and granddaughter Brandi Williams (of the group Blaque). He was preceded in death by his daughter Robin Yopp.
Learn about Bobby Rogers, a founding member of the hit-making Motown group The Miracles