Stevie Wonder & Smokey Robinson Extend Iconic Billboard Chart Legacies

Written by on June 8, 2020

Undisputed legends Stevie Wonder and Smokey Robinson extend their Billboard chart careers to a seventh and eighth decade, respectively, as each debuts on the Adult R&B Songs airplay chart (dated Nov. 7).

Wonder scores the higher entrance, with “Where Is Our Love Song,” featuring Gary Clark Jr., at No. 23. The start marks Wonder’s first appearance on Adult R&B Songs since “Someday at Christmas,” with Andra Day, kicked off in the same position during the 2016-17 holiday season.

Wonder picks up his first new song to chart in the 2020s, extending his Billboard career arc to seven decades. He first visited with his debut single, “Fingertips, Pt. 2” in 1963. The single climbed to No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100, making the 12-year-old Wonder the youngest solo artist to claim a Hot 100 chart-topper, a mark that still stands. Among his many career highlights, Wonder returned to the Hot 100’s summit nine more times.

Another longtime Motown-affiliated great, Robinson reaches decade number eight on the Billboard charts as his guest turn on Charlie Wilson’s “All of My Love” helps the tune start at No. 29.

Robinson’s eighth decade as a performer on the Billboard charts included his time as the lead performer and key songwriter of The Miracles, one of Motown’s earliest success stories. The group eeked out a minor hit in late 1959, “Bad Girl,” which peaked at No. 93 on the Hot 100 that October. Their career jumpstarted the following year, with the release of “Shop Around,” which arrived in December 1960 and rose to No. 2 on the Hot 100 in February 1961.

The Miracles posted six further Hot 100 top 10s before Robinson departed the group in 1972.

Robinson makes his return to Adult R&B Songs after only a year. He claimed a featured spot on Anderson .Paak’s “Make It Better,” which ascended to No. 2 in October 2019. In Wilson, Robinson has partnered with a proven hitmaker at the radio format, as Wilson’s prior three Adult R&B Songs entries (“Chills,” “Forever Valetine” and “One I Got”) all topped the list, with the lattermost securing the R&B veteran the  No. 1s on the chart by a male artist since its 1993 inception.

Elsewhere, Robinson scores another chart appearance with his 1980 single “Cruisin’,” which enters the R&B Digital Song Sales chart at No. 10. The track, originally a No. 4 Hot 100 hit, experienced a sales bump after The Voice contestant Rio Suoma sang it on the NBC show‘s Oct. 27 episode during blind auditions. Voice judge Blake Shelton, the only member of the four-judge panel not to turn his chair in praise of the performance, confessed he didn’t know the tune, leading to both bewilderment from fellow judges Kelly Clarkson, John Legend and Gwen Stefani as well as several Voice viewers who took to social media.

Robinson’s “Cruisin'” sold 2,000 downloads in the week ending Oct. 29, according to Nielsen Music/MRC Data, up 1,460% from the prior week.

Written by By Trevor Anderson


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