♫ The Tracks Of My Tears ♫

If you’ve read my rant from earlier this morning, you’ll know that I needed to de-stress, I needed peace … and when I need peace, when I need to remember to breathe, I turn to Motown.  I last played this one on Christmas Day, December 25th 2018, nearly two years ago. 

Miracles leader Smokey Robinson came up with the concept when he was looking in the mirror one day, and thinking, What if a person would cry so much that you could see tracks of their tears in their face?

Miracles members Smokey Robinson, Warren Moore, and Marv Tarplin wrote this song. Robinson penned the lyrics; Tarplin, The Miracles’ guitarist, came up with the riff. Robinson recalled: “‘Tracks of My Tears’ was actually started by Marv Tarplin, who is a young cat who plays guitar for our act. So he had this musical thing [sings melody], you know, and we worked around with it, and worked around, and it became ‘Tracks of My Tears.'”

Robinson had the music Tarplin wrote on a cassette, but it took him about six months to write the lyrics. The words started coming together when he came up with the line, “Take a good look at my face, you see my smile looks out of place.” From there, it was a few days before he got the lines, “If you look closer it’s easy to trace… my tears.”

What to do with those tears was a problem, as he wanted to say something no one has said about tears.

“One day I was listening, and it just came – the tracks of my tears.  Like footprints on my face. So that was what I wrote about.”

The Tracks of My Tears
The Miracles

People say I’m the life of the party
‘Cause I tell a joke or two
Although I might be laughing loud and hearty
Deep inside I’m blue

So take a good look at my face
You know my smile looks out of place
If you look closer it’s easy to trace
The tracks of my tears

I need you
Need you

Since you left me if you see me with another girl
Looking like I’m having fun
Although she may be cute, she’s just a substitute
‘Cause you’re the permanent one

So take a good look at my face
You know my smile looks out of place
If you look closer it’s easy to trace
The tracks of my tears

Outside I’m masquerading
Inside my hope is fading
I’m just a clown since you put me down
My smile is my make up
I wear since my break-up with you

Baby, take a good look at my face
You know my smile looks out of place
If you look closer it’s easy to trace
The tracks of my tears

Songwriters: Marvin Tarplin / Smokey Robinson / Warren Moore / William Robinson Jr.
The Tracks of My Tears lyrics © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC

23 thoughts on “♫ The Tracks Of My Tears ♫

  1. My first experience of this was the Johnny Rivers version. It was a year later I learned the truth. It is a sad commentary on the human race when songs have to be covered by white artists to get airplay. I’m just glad the royalties went where they belonged, kinda.

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    • I should have also played the Johnny Rivers version, for I do love it, but I just didn’t think of it at the time. I fully agree about the racism that existed in music … hopefully it is no longer the case, but as I don’t listen to today’s music, I’m not sure.

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  2. Jill, Smokey was a true talent, songwriter and performer. I admire him even more after seeing the documentary about the “Making of Motown.” Linda Rondstadt, covered several of his songs quite well, but there had to be an original to cover. Before Rondstadt did so in the 1970s, sadly many Motown songs had to be covered to be played on white southern stations. This was even after the Civil Rights Act in 1964. Johnny Rivers largely sang Motown recordings by Black artists.


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    • I didn’t realize until today that Linda Ronstadt had covered this song. It is a sad statement in our history that certain stations would not play songs by Black artists. Like you, I have renewed respect for Smokey Robinson after seeing that documentary.

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  3. Don’t look. I don’t want you to see the tracks of my tears. This is Smokey Robinson at his best, aa broken love and often a heartfelt appeal. I second that emotion, Tears of a clown. Is it any wonder they were such a hit on the Motown label.If I had to vote ffor three men to run the

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