“It was my close friend and I loved her very much; I still do. She was my buddy and she was one of those people I could call or she could call me and we would talk for hours about nothing,” Robinson told AARP the Magazine in a video interview.
“I kind of have regrets that we never recorded anything together. I’ve known her since I was eight years old. She was one of the greatest singers ever. I’m very happy for her and I’m very happy she was my lifelong friend.”
Speaking to the magazine about life after Franklin, Robinson admitted that he is still in mourning. “I’m still in recovery mode, because I love her and I’m going to miss our conversations and our getting together,” the singer said. “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.”
Although Robinson and Franklin never recorded together, the two duet together on a number of occasions, including a notable performance of “Ooo Baby Baby” on Soul Train in 1979.
“Soul Train was a wonderful memory,” Robinson told Rolling Stone in August after Franklin’s death. “It was impromptu, wasn’t planned or anything, so that made it even more special. She could sing the phone book and make it her own.”
Elsewhere in the AARP interview, Robinson discusses Motown’s 60th anniversary, writing “The Tracks of My Tears” and “The Tears of a Clown” and his “brother” Marvin Gaye.