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Smokey Robinson says he's "still in recovery mode" over lifelong friend Aretha Franklin's death

Courtesy of AARP The Magazine

Motown legend Smokey Robinson says he is still processing the loss of his lifelong friend Aretha Franklin, who died in August of pancreatic cancer at age 76.

"I'm still in recovery mode, because I love her and I'm going to miss our conversations and our getting together," Robinson tells AARP The Magazine. "But I know that spiritually she's in a better place. She was suffering at the end there, and I don't ever want to see her suffer. So now she's cool, and I'm cool 'cause she's cool."

Smokey is the subject of the cover story of the upcoming magazine's issue, which celebrates the Detroit-based label's 60th anniversary. In the article, Robinson shares some of his experiences as a singer, songwriter and producer with Motown.

The 78-year-old artist recalls that when Berry Gordy Jr. founded Motown, he recalls the mogul saying, "We are not just going to make black music, we're going to make music for the world." Smokey adds, "That was our plan, and we did it."

Regarding his own vocal talents, Robinson says he's no Aretha, Whitney Houston or Celine Dion.

"I'm not in that category, I won't fool myself," he maintains. "But I feel what I sing, and I think people can feel what I feel when I do."

Regarding his relationship with Marvin Gaye, for whom he co-wrote many songs during the mid-1960s, Smokey says he "was my brother brother," adding that "he recorded my favorite album of all time, What's Going On. He was one of the greatest singers ever."

Robinson also discusses Michael Jackson, explaining that when MJ was young he had no childhood because the demands of his career with The Jackson 5, so "when he got grown, he became a child because he could do it."

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