Smokey Robinson Reminisces Bond With ‘Longest Friend’ Aretha Franklin

The soul legends had been childhood friends after growing up together in Detroit, Michigan.

Smokey Robinson will always treasure his “wonderful” friendship with Aretha Franklin, because they had been “tight” since they were kids.

The soul legends had been childhood friends after growing up together in Detroit, Michigan, and Smokey, who had been best pals with Aretha’s brother, fondly recalls the first time he took notice of her musical talents – and knew she would go far.

“I hear music coming from a little room, I hear piano being played,” he remembered of his first visit to the Franklin family home, “and I hear this little voice singing, and I look in, and there’s Aretha sitting at the piano, singing and playing almost like she sang and played during her adult life. She was probably about five years old or so, and she just had ‘it’.”

The musicians, who at one point found themselves living in the same vicinity as Diana Ross, The Four Tops, and The Temptations, remained close as they each rose to fame, until Aretha died from advanced pancreatic cancer on Thursday, August 16, aged 76.

“Aretha and I were just tight, and we had a wonderful, wonderful friendship that lasted throughout her entire life, and she was my longest friend,” Smokey lamented on breakfast show Good Morning America. “Up until… yesterday, Aretha Franklin was my longest friend on earth; all of our other friends that we grew up with were gone.”

The Being with You hitmaker admits they rarely discussed showbusiness whenever they were together, and some of his best memories of Aretha revolve around her comedic nature and her skills in the kitchen.

“Aretha had a great sense of humour. She was a very humorous woman, and… she could throw down (cook really well) in the kitchen…!” the 78 year old smiled. “Perhaps you didn’t know that because you see her showbusiness life and they say, ‘Oh, Aretha Franklin, the Queen of Soul,’ and they don’t think about her regular life.

“She was just a great person: great cook, great woman.”

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