Home Celebrity Motown’s Secret Weapon, Marv Tarplin, 70, Wrote Hits with Smokey Robinson

Marv Tarplin is a name you do not know. He co-wrote at least a dozen hits for Motown with Smokey Robinson, was an official member of the Miracles, and the guitar sound on many more hits. He died on Friday at age 70. Tarplin often toured with Smokey’s solo act; he was featured when Smokey played Carnegie Hall in June 2006. Among the hits he co-authored: “Tracks of My Tears,” “Going to a Go Go,” “The Love I Saw in You Was Just a Mirage,” and “My Girl Has Gone,” as well as “Cruisin’.” He also co-wrote early Marvin Gaye hits with Smokey like “I’ll Be Doggone” and “Ain’t That Peculiar.” He was considered Motown and Smokey’s “secret weapon,” not only for composing hits but for making others’ hits memorable with his guitar. It was his riffs that made Smokey’s hits so sensational, although Marv was never part of Motown’s Funk Brothers. He was Smokey’s guy, on “My Girl” and “You Really Got a Hold On Me” among others. RIP Marv Tarplin, another one of Motown’s lost legends.

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