Three Motown Artists Die Within Weeks Of Each Other

Mar 4, 2013
Originally published on March 4, 2013 2:34 pm
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AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

We take a moment now to remember three musicians who gave voice to the classic sound of Motown. Bobby Rogers, Richard Street and Damon Harris all died over the past two weeks. Rogers sang and wrote songs with Smokey Robinson and the Miracles.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "SHOP AROUND")

CORNISH: In 1955, Rogers and four other students at Detroit's Northern High School formed a group called the Matadors. They changed their name to the Miracles and five years later had their first national hit; and Motown's first million-seller with "Shop Around."

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "SHOP AROUND")

CORNISH: Smokey Robinson was the group's primary songwriter, but he and Bobby Rogers co-wrote several Motown classics, including the Miracles' "Going To A Go-Go."

Bobby Rogers died yesterday of complications from diabetes at his home in a Detroit suburb. He was 73. Rogers also co-wrote this song for the Temptations.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC, "THE WAY YOU DO THE THINGS YOU DO")

CORNISH: Like The Miracles, The Temptations had a long career that featured a number of singers. Richard Street and Damon Harris were two of them. They joined the group in 1971. Street died last Wednesday following an undisclosed illness at the age of 70. Harris died February 18th of prostate cancer. He was 62. Both are featured on one of The Temptations' last great hits, "Papa Was A Rolling Stone."

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC, "PAPA WAS A ROLLING STONE")

CORNISH: Both Damon Harris and Richard Street pursued solo careers after leaving The Temptations. Bobby Rogers continued touring with The Miracles into the 21st century.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC, "PAPA WAS A ROLLING STONE")

CORNISH: This is NPR. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.