♫ I Heard It Through The Grapevine ♫

Marvin Gaye.  Motown.  Sigh … they just don’t make it like that anymore, my friends.  In some ways, this is a redux, for I did play it here three years ago, but I have added some trivia and two additional versions (Glady’s Knight and the Pips, and Smokey Robinson) to the post.

This song was written by Norman Whitfield and Barrett Strong for Motown Records in 1966.  Strong first came up with the idea and asked the famous Motown songwriters Holland-Dozier-Holland to work on it with them, but the team refused to credit another writer (egos, egos everywhere), so Whitfield and Strong it was.

The first recording of the song to be released was produced by Whitfield for Gladys Knight & the Pips and released as a single in September 1967 when it went to number two in the Billboard chart.  Smokey Robinson and the Miracles were the first to record the song, but theirs wouldn’t be released until years later on an album called Special Occasion. The Isley Brothers then took a crack at it, but their version wasn’t released. Whitfield and Strong then had Marvin Gaye record the song but still no luck: Motown head Berry Gordy chose Holland-Dozier-Holland’s Your Unchanging Love over Grapevine as his next single. Finally, a new Motown act Gladys Knight and the Pips recorded the song as a gospel rocker. Their version was a hit, entering the Top 40 in November 1967 and going to #2 in the U.S.

The Marvin Gaye version was placed on his 1968 album In the Groove, where it gained the attention of radio disc jockeys, and Motown founder Berry Gordy finally agreed to its release as a single in October 1968, when it went to the top of the Billboard Pop Singles chart for seven weeks from December 1968 to January 1969 and became for a time the biggest hit single on the Motown label.

Mavin Gaye’s version is, and will likely always be, my favourite, but Gladys Knight and Smokey Robinson certainly deserve honourable mention, so I have included them here.

I Heard It Through the Grapevine
Marvin Gaye

Ooh, I bet you’re wonderin’ how I knew
‘Bout your plans to make me blue
With some other guy you knew before
Between the two of us guys you know I love you more
It took me by surprise I must say
When I found out yesterday
Don’tcha know that I

Heard it through the grapevine
Not much longer would you be mine
Oh I heard it through the grapevine
Oh I’m just about to lose my mind
Honey, honey yeah
(Heard it through the grapevine)
(Not much longer would you be my baby, ooh, ooh, ooh)

I know a man ain’t supposed to cry
But these tears I can’t hold inside
Losin’ you would end my life you see
‘Cause you mean that much to me
You could have told me yourself
That you love someone else
Instead I

Heard it through the grapevine
Not much longer would you be mine
Oh I heard it through the grapevine
And I’m just about to lose my mind
Honey, honey yeah
(Heard it through the grapevine)
(Not much longer would you be my baby, ooh, ooh, ooh, ooh, ooh)

People say believe half of what you see, son
And none of what you hear
But I can’t help bein’ confused
If it’s true please tell me dear
Do you plan to let me go
For the other guy you loved before?
Don’tcha know I

Heard it through the grapevine
Not much longer would you be mine
Baby I heard it through the grapevine
Ooh I’m just about to lose my mind
Honey, honey yeah
(Heard it through the grapevine)
(Not much longer would you be my baby, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah)

Honey, honey, I know
That you’re lettin’ me go
Said, I heard it through the grapevine
Heard it through the grapevine

Songwriters: Barrett Strong / Norman Whitfield
I Heard It Through the Grapevine (American Tour Live) lyrics © Stone Agate Music, Emi Music Publishing France, Jobete Music Co Inc, Stone Agate Music Corp

♫ Tears Of A Clown ♫ (Redux)

I last played this one three years ago, and amazingly I haven’t reduxed it yet!  It was a big hit with my readers then, and is considered some of the best of Motown.


I always learn something new when I research the background of the songs I play here, and tonight I learned that Tears of a Clown was written by Hank Cosby, Smokey Robinson, and Stevie Wonder!  I had no idea Stevie Wonder had a role in it.  I also had no idea that it was based on the Italian opera Pagliacci, which is about a clown who must make the audience laugh while he weeps behind his makeup because his wife betrayed him.

Stevie Wonder came up with the music for this song with Motown producer Hank Cosby. They recorded an instrumental demo and asked Robinson to complete the song – it was common practice for Motown writers to work on each other’s songs at the time.

Robinson listened to the song for a few days and decided it sounded like a circus – he came up with the lyrics based on the clown …

“I was trying to think of something that would be significant, that would touch people’s hearts, but still be dealing with the circus.  So what is that? Pagliacci, of course. The clown who cries. And after he makes everyone else happy with the smile painted on his face, then he goes into his dressing room and cries because he’s sad. That was the key.”

First released in 1967, this one was a hit on both sides of the pond, and reached the #1 slot in both the U.S. and UK, though Smokey had not had much luck in the UK up to that point.

Tears of a Clown
The Miracles

Oh yeah yeah yeah
Now if there’s a smile on my face
It’s only there trying to fool the public
But when it comes down to fooling you
Now honey that’s quite a different subject

But don’t let my glad expression
Give you the wrong impression
Really I’m sad, oh I’m sadder than sad
You’re gone and I’m hurting so bad
Like a clown I appear to be glad (sad, sad, sad, sad)

Now they’re some sad things known to man
But ain’t too much sadder than
The tears of a clown when there’s no one around, uh
Oh yeah, baby

Now if I appear to be carefree
It’s only to camouflage my sadness
And honey to shield my pride I try
To cover this hurt with a show of gladness
But don’t let my show convince you
That I’ve been happy since you
‘Cause I had to go (why did you go), oh I need you so (I need you so)
Look I’m hurt and I want you to know (want you to know)
For others I put on a show (it’s just a show)

Now they’re some sad things known to man
But ain’t too much sadder than
The tears of a clown when there’s no one around, uh
Just like Pagliacci did
I try to keep my surface hid
Smiling in the crowd I try
But in my lonely room I cry
The tears of a clown
When there’s no one around, oh yeah, baby
Now if there’s a smile on my face
Don’t let my glad expression
Give you the wrong impression
Don’t let this smile I wear
Make you think that I don’t care
‘Cause really I’m sad

Songwriters: William Jr. Robinson / Stevie Wonder / Henry Cosby
Tears of a Clown lyrics © EMI Music Publishing, Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC

♫ Being With You ♫

Do we ever know why, somedays, we just have a song or an artist in our head that just won’t let go?  I’ve had a Smokey Robinson song in my head all day long … crying out for me to give voice to it, but since I didn’t want to set off another cat fight, I restrained myself and only whistled, rather than singing.  But alas, when it came time to put the song on ye olde blog tonight, I discovered I had played it just last year.  Okay, I’m flexible … I want Smokey Robinson and nobody else will do!

Speaking of Smokey Robinson, did you know that he will celebrate his 81st birthday next month???  So hard to believe!  There are people who are actually older than I am!!!

Robinson wrote this for Kim Carnes after she recorded his song More Love, which was produced by George Tobin. What Smokey didn’t know was that Carnes and Tobin were no longer working together, but instead of explaining that to Smokey, Tobin brought him in and convinced him to record the song himself.

Tobin had his own studio, and floated an unusual idea: he would record and produce the song as a Smokey Robinson solo effort. Robinson, who was one of the top Motown producers, had never been produced before as a solo act, but he went for the idea. They started work on the song that night and were finished the next day. The result was Robinson’s biggest hit as a solo artist, reaching #2 on the Hot 100. It was held out of the #1 spot in the US by Bette Davis Eyes, which was recorded by… Kim Carnes!  Talk about coincidence!

According to Scott Edwards, who played bass on this song …

“George Tobin, he went to Smokey Robinson and he told the Motown Machine that if they let him cover all the expenses for the session, play with the musicians, be totally economically responsible, then he wanted some huge percentage of the profit. And Motown, thinking, ‘This cat doesn’t know what he’s doing,’ and ‘How can we lose?’ they agreed to it. So he went in the studio and cut these tracks on Smokey and one of them was ‘Being With You.’ In the session, he would give us basic guidelines on what he felt different times. We’d throw things at him and he’d say, ‘Yeah, do that.’ So he was not a musical person at all, but he had a helper, a co-producer named Mike Piccirillo who was a guitar player. So between the two of them, they would let you know what they wanted.

He came up with the tune and he said, ‘Do this, Scott.’ So I did it and chordally it worked out. Then later on when I heard it, I said, They knew what they wanted. I didn’t, but they did. And it worked out. But they would give you guidelines and then if you had something better, they would leave you alone and let you go with it.

Smokey wrote the song, but as far as the interpretation of it, it was totally George Tobin and Piccirillo. That turned out to be one of Smokey’s biggest tunes, and Motown had to fork over part of that big percentage that they just knew was not going to work out.”

According to this song’s producer, George Tobin, Motown president Berry Gordy didn’t think this would do very well, but when it started to climb the charts he put a lot of promotion behind it. The song was unusual in that it was released on Motown Records, but through an arrangement with someone outside the company. On the single, it said, “Produced and arranged by George Tobin in association with Mike Piccirillo for George Tobin productions.

The song hit #1 in the UK, #2 in the U.S., and #5 in Canada.

Being With You
Smokey Robinson

I don’t care what they think about me and
I don’t care what they say
I don’t care what they think, if you’re leaving
I’m gonna beg you to stay

I don’t care if they start to avoid me
I don’t care what they do
I don’t care about anything else
But being with you, being with you

Honey don’t go, don’t leave this scene
Be out of the picture and off of the screen
Don’t let them say “we told you so”
They tell me you’ll love me and then let me go

I’ve heard the warning voice
From friends and my relations
They tell me all about your heart-break reputation

I don’t care what they think about me and
I don’t care what they say, no
I don’t care what they think, if you’re leaving
I’m gonna beg you to stay

I don’t care if they start to avoid me
I don’t care what they do
I don’t care about anything else
But being with you, being with you

People can change, they always do
Haven’t they noticed the changes in you?
Or can it be, that like love I am blind?
Do I want it so much ’til it’s all in my mind?

One thing I know for sure
Is really really real
I never felt before the way you make me feel

I don’t care what they think about me and
I don’t care what they say
I don’t care what they think, if you’re leaving
I’m gonna beg you to stay

I don’t care if they start to avoid me
I don’t care what they do
I don’t care about anything else
But being with you, being with you
Being with you
Being with you

I don’t care about anything else
But being with you, being with you
I wanna be with you

I don’t care if they start to avoid me

Source: Musixmatch
Songwriters: William Smokey Robinson Jr.

♫ What Becomes of the Brokenhearted ♫ (Redux)

It’s funny how sometimes a train of thought takes one down a track different than the one it started out on, isn’t it?  Tonight, having just finished my ‘good people’ post, I was feeling almost mellow and had a Supremes’ song stuck in my head … right now I cannot remember which one, nor do I have a clue how I got from the Supremees to Jimmy Ruffin.  But, here I am, and while I did play this before, it’s been two years, so most of you have forgotten anyway!  This is a song that somehow stirs emotions within me … good ones, mostly.  When I played this in 2018, most people agreed that both Ruffin’s and Paul Young’s versions were good, but still overwhelmingly chose Ruffin’s as their favourite.  For the record, I agree.


This song was written by Motown writers Jimmy Dean, Paul Riser, and William Witherspoon. They wrote it for The Detroit Spinners, but Jimmy Ruffin convinced the Motown writers to let him try it, and they liked what they heard. Ruffin is the brother of The Temptations’ David Ruffin, by the way.  Smokey Robinson produced the track.

Now, while many artists recorded this song, including The Supremes, I have two favourites and I am torn between the two, so I’m interested in your opinions.  The first is the original by Jimmy Ruffin, released in 1966.  This version hit #6 in the US and #10 in the UK.

In 1992, Paul Young recorded the song and, while it didn’t do as well as the Ruffin version, I still like it.  What do you guys think?  The Jimmy Ruffin version …

Or the Paul Young …

What Becomes Of The Brokenhearted
Jimmy Ruffin/Paul Young

As I walk this land with broken dreams
I have visions of many things
But happiness is just an illusion
Filled with sadness and confusion
What becomes of the broken-hearted
Who had love that’s now departed?
I know I’ve got to find
Some kind of peace of mind
Maybe

The roots of love grow all around
But for me they come a-tumblin’ down
Every day heartaches grow a little stronger
I can’t stand this pain much longer
I walk in shadowsm searching for light
Cold and alone, no comfort in sight
Hoping and praying for someone to care
Always moving and goin’ nowhere
What becomes of the broken-hearted
Who had love that’s now departed?
I know I’ve got to find
Some kind of peace of mind
Help me

I’m searching, though I don’t succeed
But someone look, there’s a growing need
Oh, he is lost, there’s no place for beginning
All that’s left is an unhappy ending
Now, becomes of the broken-hearted
Who had love that’s now departed?
I know I’ve got to find
Some kind of peace of mind

I’ll be searching everywhere
Just to find someone to care
I’ll be looking everyday, I know I’m gonna find a way
Nothing’s gonna stop me now
I’ll find a way somehow
And I’ll be searching everywhere
I know I gotta find a way
I’ll be looking

Songwriters: James Anthony Dean / Paul Riser / William Henry Witherspoonn
What Becomes Of The Brokenhearted lyrics © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC

♫ 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

♫ Get Ready ♫

They say that “music hath charms to soothe the savage beast”, and since there seems to be a savage beast affecting my mood tonight, I went in search of some music to soothe it … hopefully to knock it out for a few days!

This was written by Smokey Robinson, who was the main songwriter for The Temptations. In the Motown stable, The Temptations were considered the premier group, and there was a lot of competition among the songwriters to have their compositions recorded by the band. When this song underperformed on the charts, Motown chief Berry Gordy gave the next Temptations single, Ain’t Too Proud To Beg, to Norman Whitfield, and he became their primary writer.

Get Ready went to #1 on the R&B charts for a week, but made just #29 on the Hot 100.

Rare Earth recorded an unusual version of this song that stretched over 21 minutes and took up the entire second side of their first Motown album, which was issued in the fall of 1969. This version was based on Rare Earth’s live version of the song, where every member of the band would get a solo. In 1970, Motown released a 3-minute edit as a single, which went to #4. The song also did well on R&B stations, even though some DJs refused to play it when they found out the group wasn’t black – they were one of the first white groups signed to Motown.

Ella Fitzgerald did a cover of this song in 1969 — her last U.S. chart record.

Get Ready
The Temptations

I never met a girl who makes me feel the way that you do
(You’re alright)
Whenever I’m asked who makes my dreams real
I say that you do
(You’re outta sight)
So fee fi fo fum

Look out baby ’cause here I come
And I’m bringing you a love that’s true so get ready
So get ready
I’m gonna try to make you love me too, so get ready
So get ready here I come
Get ready, ’cause here I come
I’m on my way
Get ready, ’cause here I come

If you wanna play hide and seek with love let me remind you
(It’s alright)
The loving you’re gonna miss and the time it takes to find you
(It’s outta sight)
So fiddle-lee-dee fiddle-lee-dum

Look out baby ’cause here I come
And I’m bringing you a love that’s true so get ready
So get ready
I’m gonna try to make you love me too, so get ready
So get ready here I come
Get ready ’cause here I come
I’m on my way
Get ready ’cause here I come
Get ready

All my friends shouldn’t want you to I understand it
(Be alright)
I hope I’ll get to you before they do the way I planned it
(Be outta sight)
So twiddle-dee-dee twiddle dee dum

Look out baby ’cause here I come
And I’m bringing you a love that’s true so get ready
So get ready
I’m gonna try to make you love me too, so get ready
So get ready here I come
Get ready, ’cause here I come
I’m on my way
Get ready ’cause here I come, boy
Get ready ’cause here I come, boy

Writer/s: William Robinson Jr.
Publisher: Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC, Royalty Network
Lyrics licensed and provided by LyricFind

♫ You Really Got A Hold On Me ♫ (Redux)

While finishing my a.m. post tonight, responding to comments and checking email, this song was playing prominently inside my head.  I was so sure I had never played this one here before, but when I checked, I had played it back in October 2018.  Still, that was almost two years ago and if you’re like me, you’ve long since forgotten that I played it then, so … since it’s going to keep me awake tonight if I don’t share it here, I am … sharing it, that is.


Tonight’s song is either going to take you back … way back … else leave you scratching your head and saying, ‘huh?’  Go back, if you can, to 1962.  I was eleven … how old were you?  In ’62, the Beatles, the Stones, and the Turtles weren’t yet around, and the sound of the day, at least for most of us, was Motown.  And there was none better than Smokey Robinson and his Miracles.

Smokey wrote and produced this one that was released in November 1962 under the Motown Tamla label.  It zoomed to #1 on Billboard’s R&B chart in the U.S.  It has been featured in at least 12 films and a television special,  Motown 25: Yesterday, Today, Forever.  

Smokey Robinson said he was thinking about Sam Cooke’s Bring it on Home to Me (another great one, in my book) when he got the idea for this song.  Cooke’s song finds the singer apologizing to his girl after casting her off, promising to treat her right if she comes back. You’ve Really Got A Hold On Me is the same sentiment but with the roles reversed: the girl mistreats the guy, but he loves her unconditionally.  Gender equality, even in the ’60s.

The Beatles recorded this in 1963 and performed it in their last movie, Let It Be. The Beatles were the first big British band to come to America and admit they were influenced by black music. Robinson admired this admission, and felt they helped black artists by covering their songs.

The quality of this video isn’t the best, but hey … it was 1962 … YouTube and digital photography hadn’t even been invented yet.  There are more recent versions, but I felt this one had the most authenticity.  And now I give you …

You’ve Really Got a Hold on Me
The Miracles

I don’t like you, but I love you,
Seems that I’m always thinking of you.
Oh, oh, oh, you treat me badly,
I love you madly, you really got a hold on me.
You really got a hold on me, baby,
I don’t want you, but I need you,
Don’t want to kiss you, but I need you.
Oh, oh, oh, you do me wrong now,
My love is strong now you really got a hold on me.

You really got a hold on me, baby,
I love you and all I want you to do is just hold me,
Hold me, hold me, hold me.

I want to leave you, don’t want to stay here
Don’t want to spend another day here.
Oh, oh, oh, I want to split now, I can’t Baby,
I love you and all I want you to do is just hold me,
Hold me, hold me, hold me.
You really got a hold on me.
You really got a hold on me.
You really got a hold on me.
You really got a hold on me.
You really got a hold on me.

Songwriters: William Robinson Jr.
You’ve Really Got a Hold on Me lyrics © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC

♫ I Second That Emotion ♫

Just one more Motown and then I’ll switch to something else, I promise!  This one was sort of a request after I played My Girl on Saturday night, and since after hearing it mentioned it has been bouncing about in my head, I figured I needed to exorcise it from my mind, and at the same time, give our friend David something to tap his toes to!

As Robinson recalls in his 1989 autobiography, he and Motown producer Al Cleveland went to a Detroit department store called Hudson’s to do Christmas shopping in December 1967. Smokey’s wife, Claudette, had recently given birth to twins that didn’t survive the premature birth, and he was looking to get her a gift.

As Robinson recalls in his 1989 autobiography, he and Cleveland went to a Detroit department store called Hudson’s to do Christmas shopping in December 1967. Smokey’s wife, Claudette, had recently given birth to twins that didn’t survive the premature birth, and he was looking to get her a gift.

This was the first Top 10 hit for the group after their 1967 name change from The Miracles. Robinson and Cleveland teamed up to write several more hits for the group, including Special Occasion (#26 US, 1968), Yester Love (#31 US, 1968), and Baby, Baby Don’t Cry (#8 US, 1969).

I Second That Emotion
The Miracles

Maybe you’ll wanna give me kisses sweet
But only for one night with no repeat.
And maybe you’ll go away and never call,
And a taste of honey is worse that none at all.
Oh little girl!

In that case I don’t want nobody
I do believe that that would only break my heart
Oh, but if you feel like lovin’ me
If you got the notion,
I second that emotion.

So, if you feel like giving me a lifetime of devotion
I second that emotion.
Maybe you’ll think that love will tie you down
And you don’t have the time to hang around.
Or maybe you’ll think that love will make us fools,
And so it makes you wise to break the rules.
Oh little girl!

In that case I don’t want nobody
I do believe that that would only break my heart
Oh, but if you feel like lovin’ me
If you got the notion,
I second that emotion.

So, if you feel like giving me a lifetime of devotion
I second that emotion.
In that case I don’t want nobody
I do believe that that would only break my heart
Oh, but if you feel like lovin’ me
If you got the notion,
I second that emotion.
So, if you feel like giving me a lifetime of devotion
I second that emotion.

Songwriters: Alfred Cleveland / William Robinson Jr.
I Second That Emotion lyrics © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC

♫ My Guy ♫

On Saturday night, I played My Girl by the Temptations, and it only seemed natural to follow it with My Guy by Mary Wells, right?  So, on Sunday night I started working on a post featuring that song, but not having slept much the night before, I kept falling asleep.  Finally, I looked at what I had written, realized it was gibberish and I didn’t even have the embed code right, so I gave up and went to bed.  Let us try this once again …

Mary Wells’ smash hit My Guy was her last solo recording for Motown. The first female star for the record label and known as “the Queen of Motown”, she also became the first to dare to leave when 20th Century Fox wooed her with a $200,000 advance and potential movie roles. She officially left in 1965.

Mary Wells’ fellow Motown star, Smokey Robinson, wrote and produced this song. Robinson helped Berry Gordy form Motown Records after they realized how little they were paid by the labels that distributed their songs. In addition to fronting the legendary group The Miracles, Robinson also wrote and produced many of the label’s early numbers, including other Wells hits like The One Who Really Loves You, You Beat Me to the Punch and Two Lovers.

My Guy was the defining hit of Mary Wells’ career, but it was also memorable as Motown’s first British hit. When it was reissued in the UK and went to #14 in 1972, it brought a renewed interest in Wells. Although she had no problem performing her old numbers for her fans, the singer longed to make a name for herself apart from her Motown roots.

Unfortunately, the mainstream public wasn’t digging Wells’ new sound and, although she would re-emerge from retirement in the 1980s, she never regained the success that made her the “Queen of Motown.”

In 1990, Wells recorded an album for Ian Levine’s Motorcity Records, but her voice began to fail, prompting her to visit a local hospital. Doctors diagnosed Wells with laryngeal cancer. Treatments for the disease ravaged her voice, forcing her to quit her music career. Since she had no health insurance, her illness wiped out her finances, forcing her to sell her home. As she struggled to continue treatment, old Motown friends, including Diana Ross, Mary Wilson, members of the Temptations and Martha Reeves, made donations to support her, along with the help of admirers such as Dionne Warwick, Rod Stewart, Bruce Springsteen, Aretha Franklin and Bonnie Raitt.

That same year, a benefit concert was held by fellow fan and Detroit R&B singer Anita Baker. Wells was also given a tribute by friends such as Stevie Wonder and Little Richard on The Joan Rivers Show.

In the summer of 1992, Wells’s cancer returned and she was rushed to the Kenneth Norris Jr. Cancer Hospital in Los Angeles with pneumonia. With the effects of her unsuccessful treatments and a weakened immune system, Wells died on July 26, 1992, at the age of 49.  Smokey Robinson performed a softer rendition of this song when he delivered the eulogy at Mary Wells’ memorial service in 1992.

My Guy
Mary Wells

Nothing you could say could tear me away from my guy,
(My guy)
Nothing you could do ’cause I’m stuck like glue to my guy.
(My guy)
I’m sticking to my guy like a stamp to a letter,
Like birds of a feather we stick together,
I’m tellin’ you from the start I can’t be torn apart from my guy.

Nothing you could do could make me untrue to my guy,
(My guy)
Nothing you could buy could make me tell a lie to my guy.
(My guy)
I gave my guy my word of honor to be faithful, and I’m gonna,
You best be believing I won’t be deceiving my guy.

As a matter of opinion I think he’s tops,
My opinion is he’s the cream of the crop;
As a matter of taste to be exact he’s my ideal as a matter of fact.

No muscle-bound man could take my hand from my guy.
(My guy)
No handsome face could ever take the place of my guy.
(My guy)
He may not be a movie star, but when it comes to bein’ happy we are.
There’s not a man today who could take me away from my guy.

No muscle-bound man could take my hand from my guy.
(My guy)
No handsome face could ever take the place of my guy.
(My guy)
He may not be a movie star, but when it comes to bein’ happy we are.
There’s not a man today who could take me away from my guy.
(What you say, Tell me more)

No muscle-bound man could take my hand from my guy.
(My guy)
No handsome face could ever take the place of my guy.
(My guy)
He may not be a movie star, but when it comes to bein’ happy we are.

Songwriters: Ronald White / Smokey Robinson
My Guy lyrics © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC

♫ My Girl ♫

A couple of weeks ago, I played Nightshift by the Commodores, and in comments, my friend Cheryl, aka Calensariel, mentioned that her favourite Motown song was My Girl, by the Temptations.  And … since I always aim to please my friends, this one’s for you, dear friend!

This was written by Smokey Robinson and Ronald White, who were both members of The Miracles. Robinson wrote the lyrics – he was married at the time to his first wife, Claudette (they were wed from 1957-1986), but Smokey said that the song is not about a specific girl, but “written with all the women in the world in mind.”

This song was written in the Apollo Theater when The Temptations were playing as part of a package tour with The Miracles. According to Robinson, he was working out the song on a piano at the theater when his bandmate Ronald White joined him and they hashed out the song. When The Temptations heard it, they convinced Robinson to let them record it instead of The Miracles. Robinson, who was Berry Gordy’s right-hand man at Motown agreed, and rehearsed the song with The Temptations over the next week. When they returned to Detroit, Robinson and White produced the session on December 21, 1964 when they recorded this song.

The previous year, Robinson wrote My Guy for Motown singer Mary Wells. That song carried the same sentiment of unconditional love, but from a female perspective. Hmmmm … I’ll have to play that one soon, for it’s great, too!  Somebody remind me, for we all know that my memory is gone!

This was the first of four US #1 hits for The Temptations. It was also the first #1 for a male vocal group on the Motown label.  The Temptations were a groundbreaking act in terms of choreography, doing precise movements to accentuate their songs. This one used big, expressive gestures that became widely associated with the song – it was not uncommon to see people doing the moves while listening to it. The Motown choreographer was a dancer named Cholly Atkins.

One thing I didn’t know is that Mr. ‘Sittin’-on-the-Dock-of-the-Bay’ Otis Redding had also done this song.  Now, I love Otis, and I was prepared to offer his rendition up as a second tonight, but after I listened to about 30 seconds of it, I said … “Nah, sorry Otis, you flubbed this one”.  Nobody can do everything well, and he will always have my heart on Dock o’ the Bay!

My Girl
The Temptations

I’ve got sunshine on a cloudy day
When it’s cold outside I’ve got the month of May
Well I guess you’d say
What can make me feel this way?
My girl (my girl, my girl)
Talkin’ ’bout my girl (my girl)

I’ve got so much honey the bees envy me
I’ve got a sweeter song than the birds in the trees
Well I guess you’d say
What can make me feel this way?
My girl (my girl, my girl)
Talkin’ ’bout my girl (my girl ooh)

Hey hey hey
Hey hey hey
Ooh yeah

I don’t need no money, fortune, or fame (ooh hey hey hey)
I’ve got all the riches baby one man can claim (oh yes I do)
I guess you’d say
What can make me feel this way?
My girl (my girl, my girl)
Talkin’ ’bout my girl (my girl)

I’ve got sunshine on a cloudy day
With my girl (My girl)
(Talkin’ ’bout my girl my girl) I’ve even got the month of May
With my girl (My girl, woah)
She’s all I can think (my girl)
(Talkin’ ’bout my girl my girl)
Talkin’ ’bout, talkin’ ’bout my girl (my girl, woah)

Songwriters: William Smokey Robinson / Ronald White
My Girl lyrics © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC, Warner Chappell Music, Inc.