Support Local Journalism. Join Riverfront Times Press Club.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Hump Day Slow Jam of the Week: Smokey Robinson, "Being with You"

Posted By on Wed, Jan 28, 2009 at 1:43 PM

The Singer: Along with Marvin Gaye and Stevie Wonder, Smokey Robinson was a triple threat for Motown Records: a great singer, hit songwriter and an architect of the label's sound. Most people can name a half-dozen songs Smokey sang with the Miracles in the '60s, but his solo career pointed his smooth delivery and trembling timbre in a new direction. His "Quiet Storm" provided the template (and title) for a new genre of low-lit R&B, and "Cruisin'" remains a karaoke-bar standard.


The Song: Taken from the 1981 album of the same name, "Being with You" captures what Smokey was all about in the '70s and early '80s: soft, smooth soul that gently but persistently percolates throughout. The song also contains one of his all-time best couplets: "I've heard the warning voice from friends and my relations / They tell me all about your heart-break reputation."  

The Video: I stopped looking for narrative in these Slow Jam videos a long time ago, but this clip still puzzles me. I can hang with the initial conceit - a regrettably mustachioed Smokey walks around his beach-front property picking flowers, shooting pool and walking on the beach; so far, so good. But who is that mysterious woman watching Smokey at the video's end? If he's singing a song about being with her, why is he on the beach while she's in the house? Is she an intruder or a jilted lover plotting her revenge? We may never know.

Hipster Cachet: Smokey became something of a hero to British new wave bands helmed by blond, slightly effeminate front men: The English Beat scored big with a cover of "Tears of a Clown," and ABC paid tribute to him in "When Smokey Sings."

Tags:

Support Local Journalism.
Join the Riverfront Times Press Club

Local journalism is information. Information is power. And we believe everyone deserves access to accurate independent coverage of their community and state. Our readers helped us continue this coverage in 2020, and we are so grateful for the support.

Help us keep this coverage going in 2021. Whether it's a one-time acknowledgement of this article or an ongoing membership pledge, your support goes to local-based reporting from our small but mighty team.

Join the Riverfront Times Club for as little as $5 a month.

Read the Digital Print Issue

January 19, 2022

View more issues

Newsletters

Never miss a beat

Sign Up Now

Subscribe now to get the latest news delivered right to your inbox.

Best Things to Do In St. Louis

© 2022 Riverfront Times

Website powered by Foundation