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'Tracks Of My Tears'
Smokey Robinson and the Miracles
“The Tracks Of My Tears” is built around two vital ingredients: Smokey Robinson’s honey-dipped vocals and his heartbreaking lyrics. Miracles guitarist Marvin Tarplin came up with the main riff after listening to calypso singer Harry Belafonte’s “Banana Boat Song”.
Smokey Robinson
Song facts
Composer Warren “Pete” Moore/Smokey Robinson/Marvin Tarplin
Genre Soul
Album Going to a Go-Go
Year of release 1965
UK Chart Position 9
Robinson wrote the majority of the lyrics straight away, although it was several weeks before he came up with the song’s central motif of tears leaving tracks down the face.
The memorable introduction perfectly sets the mournful tone of the piece and readies the listener for Smokey’s smooth vocals. The music is pure Motown – rattling snares, stabs of strings and blaring brass – while the harmonies from The Miracles are heavenly. The theme of a man hiding his grief behind a fake smile – “Although I might be laughing loud and hearty/ Deep inside I’m blue” – is one Robinson later explored with huge success on “The Tears Of A Clown”.
Strangely though this was not a big hit on its release in 1965 - it failed to make the UK charts, although it did reach number nine when reissued four years later. But although the world may not have known it then, it’s now clear that one of Motown’s stars was at the height of his powers on this release.

Smokey Robinson talks about his singing voice
Smokey Robinson
Smokey Robinson talks to Andy Peebles about his singing idols, his "boy-sounding" voice and how his singing style has changed over the years.


Other versions
Linda Ronstadt
 Linda Ronstadt brings her distinctive local style to Smokey Robinson's soul classic.

for me it is the heartache song and ecapsulates universal feeling of hurt better than any other song.


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