Wild Card


Swinging & Singing

Smokey Robinson

photograph by Robert John Kley

Smokey Robinson Talks Golf and Motown

“Don’t take it so seriously. You are not a pro.” That’s Smokey Robinson’s advice to every golfer not named Woods or Mickelson. The golf course, you see, is Smokey’s second sanctuary—the stage being the first. “I’ve been golfing for thirty years,” he explains, adding that the game has taught him “patience and discipline.” Then he admits what we all suspect, “I know a lot more about singing than I do golf. Golf is still a mystery to me.”

The golf course may be the only place where the Grammy® Award winner slows life down these days. He toured all summer and recently released a new 12-song album entitled, Now and Then, available exclusively at Cracker Barrel stores. The CD features six live versions of his well-known classics and six songs from his 2009 album, Time Flies When You’re Having Fun. “I am so blessed to still be doing what I absolutely love,” Smokey says by phone, a half hour before stepping onstage in Mableton, Georgia. “During the first days of Motown, it was just the five of us. We wanted to make music for the world.”

You don’t have to look far to find Smokey’s musical influence here on the Strip. The legendary singer helped bring Australian vocal group Human Nature to Imperial Palace after meeting them when they were recording an album with some Motown greats. “They sang [“The Tears of a Clown”] to me a cappella and it blew me out of the studio,” he recalls. “They were incredible. I knew right away they’d be a hit in Las Vegas.”