Monday, June 17, 2024

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.

Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman began his Showbiz411 column in April 2009 after 10 years with Fox News, where he created the Fox411 column. His movie reviews are carried by Rotten Tomatoes, and he is a member of both the movie and TV branches of the Critics Choice Awards. His articles have appeared in dozens of publications over the years including New York Magazine, where he wrote the Intelligencer column in the mid 90s and covered the OJ Simpson trial, and Fox News (when it wasn't so crazy) where he covered Michael Jackson. He is also the writer and co-producer of "Only the Strong Survive," a selection of the Cannes, Sundance, and Telluride Film festivals, directed by DA Pennebaker and Chris Hegedus.

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