2013 continues to bring sad soul news as US sources announce the death of BOBBY ROGERS – a founding member of THE MIRACLES. BOBBY had been ill for some time and died at his Detroit home on Sunday 3rd March. No reason has been given. The singer was 73.
BOBBY, a native Detroiter, was born in 1940 and at school he formed a group which he called THE CHIMES … later to become THE MATADORS. The line-up was SMOKEY ROBINSON, WARREN “PETE” MOORE, RONNIE WHITE, and BOBBY and his cousin SONNY. In August 1957 the group landed an audition for JACKIE WILSON’S management, but days before the big day SONNY ROGERS quit to join the army. The replacement was his sister, CLAUDETTE – SMOKEY’S sweet heart. This new fivesome, however, failed to impress WILSON’S people, though they did have an impact on a young songwriter who’d sat quietly through their performance. He was BERRY GORDY JR and he said that he loved the group’s unusual sound and he wanted to know more about them. GORDY quickly became the group’s manager and immediately suggested a name change. The MIRACLETONES was considered before everyone settled on THE MIRACLES.
THE MIRACLES, of course, went on to become one of Motown’s most consistent hit-making acts and though SMOKEY ROBINSON was the group’s leader and main song provider he often co-wrote with other members of the group. He collaborated with BOBBY ROGERS on songs like ‘The Way You Do The Things You Do’ (a breakthrough hit for THE TEMPTATIONS), ‘First I Look At The Purse’ (a CONTOURS hit) and THE MIRACLES’ own ‘Going To A Go-Go’. When SMOKEY left for a solo career, THE MIRACLES continued to work and record with BILLY GRIFFIN as lead vocalist. BOBBY also worked with MARVIN GAYE on ‘What’s Going On’. Its his voice on the intro saying ‘It’s just a groovy party, man, I can dig it’.
BOBBY was married to WANDA YOUNG of THE MARVELETTES in the early 1960’s but the marriage ended in divorce in the 1970s. He’s survived by his wife JOAN, and four children: BOBBAE, GINA, KIMBERLY and ROBERT III.
SMOKEY ROBINSON: “He and I were born on the exact same day in the same hospital in Detroit. I am really going to miss him. I loved him very much. Another soldier in my life has fallen. He was my brother and a really good friend.”
BOBBY is pictured on the right of our vintage picture.