In the 1960s, there were few vocals groups bigger than The Miracles. Starting in 1955 as The Five Chimes, the group is most famous for the lineup that featured Smokey Robinson, Claudette Robinson, Bobby Rogers, Ronald White, and Warren “Pete” Moore. I had the pleasure of having a chat with Pete Moore’s daughter Monique about her father, his legacy, and what The Miracles mean to her as the daughter of a legend.
Fly Me to the Left: Your dad was the bass singer for The Miracles, a group known for having an exceptionally strong backing vocal harmony. As a bass singer, who were some of your father’s influences and music he liked to listen? Was that something he ever talked about?
Monique Moore: There were quite a few singers that influenced my father in terms of being a bass singer. He was actually more of a natural baritone, but artists like Luther Vandross, Jackie Wilson, and Levi Stubbs were ones that he enjoyed listening to. The most distinctive bass of all time, Melvin Franklin, was also a favorite of his. Coincidentally, my father owned an upscale clothing store with Melvin Franklin and Otis Williams of The Temptations.
FMttL: Does the clothing store still exist? I know Otis is still going strong.
MM: No, that was back in the early ’70s. It was in a mall called Northland Shopping Center in Michigan. They carried clothes imported from Italy, very high end. Everyone from Sammy Davis Jr. to Stevie Wonder purchased some pieces from them. On Marvin Gaye’s album What’s Going On he wore a black cow skin jacket that also came from that store — it was amazing. They had a door man and huge ornate doors shipped from Italy. The name of the store was “GQ Modern Shoppe”.
FMttL: What was Mr. Moore like as a father? What kind of hobbies did he have?
MM: Amazing, the best father in the world. We were working on a children’s book about bullying together [when he passed]. He was passionate about fine dining, and loved relaxing with his family. He also enjoyed working with young artists in the industry up until he passed away. He just loved a good conversation and was very intelligent, with fascinating stories about his life as a musician and singer/songwriter. He briefly had his own record label, Satellite Records, in the early ’80s. He worked with Edmund Sylvers of The Sylvers, Jimmy Osmond of the Osmonds, and trained soap opera star Michael Damian in singing. Later, he co-produced a song for Damian called “She Did It”.
FMttL: Will you finish that children’s book you were working on with him? What are your plans for that?
MM: Yes, I’ve been working on it all this time. The project was pushed back because of the inevitable, but it’s a cool book, full of magic and adventure. It’s called Gelato the Clown, about a homeless boy who gets bullied in school because he’s really small. He befriends a talking pigeon, who becomes his sidekick, and he stumbles upon a traveling circus where he learns the ropes on becoming a clown. Magic happens after that, so stay tuned. It’s a hardcover book that is enhanced by an AR device so that some of the pages come alive.
I’m writing it with my twin sister, and a percentage of the proceeds will go to an anti-bullying organization. We want to start scholarships for children to give them an incentive to be kind towards others. Our father was so excited about the project when we were all working on it together. Obviously, the book will be dedicated to him as well.
FMttL: Did you ever meet and know any of your dad’s band mates in The Miracles? What were they like?
MM: I knew all of The Miracles personally. At one time, we all lived on the same block in Southfield Michigan. Smokey and Ronnie lived across the street. Bobby was around the corner, he was married to Wanda from the Marvelettes. Eddie Kendricks lived on the corner of the block.
FMttL: What an amazing area to grow up in. Do you play music yourself?
MM: No, I’m not musically inclined, but I am a writer and a creator. My father was a songwriter so my twin sister and I got some of his gifts.
FMttL: Originally the Rock ‘N’ Roll Hall of Fame only inducted Smokey Robinson — what was it like for your family when they finally inducted your dad and the rest of The Miracles?
MM: We were elated, but they should have been inducted alongside Smokey, when they were all alive to be honored.
FMttL: Yeah, it’s not fair that Ronald White and Marv Tarplin weren’t alive to see it.
MM: I was so happy for my father, though. He was so proud to receive that accolade. It meant so much to him.
Thank you so much to Monique for joining me for some chatting over the last few days to put this together. Please keep a look out for her upcoming book.