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Sunday, April 7, 2013

Marv Tarplin, American guitarist and songwriter, original member of The Miracles, died he was 70.

Marvin "Marv" Tarplin  was an American guitarist and songwriter, best known as the guitarist for The Miracles from the 1950s through the early 1970s. He was one of the group's original members and co-wrote several of their biggest hits, including the 2007 Grammy Hall Of Fame inducted "The Tracks of My Tears". He is also a winner of the BMI Songwriter's Award, and the ASCAP Award Of Merit.

(June 13, 1941 – September 30, 2011)


Referred to as the Miracles' "secret weapon",[1] Tarplin began his career accompanying a teenage Detroit, Michigan girl group known as The Primettes (later The Supremes). The Primettes sought an audition with Motown Records, and Tarplin played guitar as they performed for Miracles lead singer Smokey Robinson. Robinson was impressed by Tarplin's guitar playing, and lured him away from the Primettes to join The Miracles. Tarplin joined The Miracles in 1958. In the 2006 Motown DVD release, Smokey Robinson & the Miracles: The Definitive Performances 1963-1987, Robinson and fellow Miracles Pete Moore and Bobby Rogers commented that Tarplin's unique guitar playing style was reminiscent of the late Curtis Mayfield, and was the inspiration behind many of their greatest hits.His guitar riffs at the beginning of The Miracles' 1965 million-seller, The Tracks Of My Tears, are among the most famous in Pop music history.[1]
Whilst Tarplin remained with the Miracles for as long as Robinson was their lead singer, he is only present on the cover of three Miracles albums: Cookin' with The Miracles (1962), I'll Try Something New (1962), and The Fabulous Miracles (1963). He is mentioned, though not pictured, on the back cover of the group's first album, Hi... We're The Miracles (1961), and listed as an original group member. As a songwriter, Tarplin helped co-compose many of the Miracles' hit singles, amongst them the million-selling Grammy Hall of Fame winner "The Tracks of My Tears" for which he received the ASCAP Award Of Merit (1965), "My Girl Has Gone" (1965), "I Like It Like That", (1964), "Going to a Go-Go" (1965), "The Love I Saw in You Was Just a Mirage" (1967), and Point It Out (1968).
In addition, Tarplin co-wrote several Robinson produced hits by Marvin Gaye, including the Top 10 million selling hits, "Ain't That Peculiar" and "I'll Be Doggone". His guitar work was featured on Gaye's Top 40 hit, "One More Heartache", which he also co-wrote, and another of Gaye's chart hits, 1965's "Take This Heart of Mine". He also played on The Four Tops 1970 Top 20 hit, "Still Water (Love)", co-written by Robinson. Tarplin also appeared with the group on The Ed Sullivan Show, the 1964 film, The T.A.M.I. Show, the 1965 CBS television special, Murray The K - It's What's Happening, Baby, and virtually all of the group's personal appearance concerts worldwide, including the Motortown Revue shows in the early 1960s.[citation needed]
Tarplin left the Miracles in 1973, shortly after Smokey Robinson and his wife Claudette left the group. His replacement in The Miracles was Donald Griffin, brother of Billy Griffin.[citation needed]
Robinson and Tarplin continued to collaborate as writers on Robinson's solo recordings, including Top 10 hits such as "Cruisin'" (1979–1980) and the Gold-certified chart-topper "Being with You" (1981). Tarplin also continued to play guitar on record and in concert for Robinson, and, until 2008, continued to tour with Robinson. In 2007, Milwaukee, Wisconsin musician, Paul Cebar, paid homage to Tarplin with his song "Marv's Fluttering Guitar (For Marv Tarplin)" from the album Tomorrow Sound Now For Yes Music People.[citation needed]
Three years after leaving Robinson, he died in his Las Vegas home of undetermined causes on September 30. He was 70.

The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame controversy

In 1987, Smokey Robinson was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as a solo artist. However, in a decision that has since sparked much scrutiny, debate, and controversy, Tarplin, and the other original members of the Miracles, Bobby Rogers, Ronnie White, Pete Moore and Claudette Robinson, were not. The Miracles were retroactively inducted into the hall by a special committee in 2012, alongside Smokey Robinson. Tarplin retired from touring in 2008. Tarplin is also pictured on the cover of the 2009 Motown CD release, The Miracles-Depend On Me:The Early Albums (2009).
Tarplin and his former wife Sylvia (who died in 2004), had a daughter named Talese. He also had two other daughters, Lisa and Eboney, from another relationship. Tarplin died in Las Vegas, on September 30, 2011.[2]

Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Induction in 2012

Just months after his death, on February 9, 2012, it was announced that Marv Tarplin would be posthumously inducted with the rest of The Miracles into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame alongside Miracles lead singer Smokey Robinson. [2] This induction occurred on April 14, 2012. After a 26 year wait, Marvin was automatically and retroactively inducted with the rest of the original Miracles ,Bobby Rogers , Pete Moore , Claudette Robinson, and Ronnie White into The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame alongside Miracles lead singer Smokey Robinson. The induction was handled by a Special Committee designated by The Rock Hall in 2012, that inducted The Miracles, and 5 other deserving pioneering groups, that were overlooked when their lead singers were inducted into the Rock Hall many years ago. This induction occurred without the usual process of nomination and voting, under the premise that the entire group should have been inducted with Smokey Robinson back in 1987.[3][4]


Tarplin wrote the music for numerous songs, including several of Motown's biggest hits. Here is a partial list:
  • "I Can't Believe", The Miracles (1962)
  • "I Like It Like That", The Miracles (1964, #27 Pop)
  • "You're So Fine And Sweet", The Miracles
  • "Come On Do The Jerk"' The Miracles (1964, # 50 Pop, #22 R&B)
  • "Ain't That Peculiar", Marvin Gaye (1965, #8 Pop, #1 R&B)
  • "The Tracks Of My Tears", The Miracles (1965, #16 Pop, #2 R&B)
  • "My Girl Has Gone", The Miracles (1965, #14 Pop, #3 R&B)
  • "Going To A Go-Go", The Miracles (1965, #11 Pop, #2 R&B)
  • "My Business, Your Pleasure", The Miracles
  • "One More Heartache", Marvin Gaye (1966, #29 Pop, #4 R&B)
  • "Take This Heart of Mine", Marvin Gaye (1966, #44 Pop)
  • "I'll Be Doggone", Marvin Gaye (1966 # 1 R&B, # 8 Pop)
  • "You're Not An Ordinary Girl", The Temptations (1966)
  • "The Love I Saw In You Was Just A Mirage", Smokey Robinson & The Miracles (1967, #20 Pop, #10 R&B)
  • Dancing's Alright", Smokey Robinson & The Miracles (1967)
  • "Doggone Right", Smokey Robinson & The Miracles (1969, #32 Pop)
  • "Point It Out", Smokey Robinson & The Miracles (1969, #37 Pop)
  • "Promise Me", Smokey Robinson & The Miracles (1969)
  • "So Far", The Four Tops (1969)
  • "The Hurt Is Over", Smokey Robinson & The Miracles (1969)
  • "You Neglect Me"", Smokey Robinson & The Miracles (1969)
  • "Flower Girl", Smokey Robinson & The Miracles (1970)
  • "Precious Little Things", The Supremes (1972)
  • "Baby Come Close", Smokey Robinson (1973, #27 Pop)
  • "Just My Soul Responding", Smokey Robinson (1973)
  • "Asleep On My Love", Smokey Robinson (1974)
  • "Fulfill Your Need", Smokey Robinson (1974)
  • "Just Passing Through", Smokey Robinson (1974)
  • "Open", Smokey Robinson (1976, #81 Pop)
  • "Madam X", Smokey Robinson (1978)
  • "Cruisin'", Smokey Robinson (1979, #4 Pop)
  • "I've Made Love To You A Thousand Times" (1983, #68 R&B)
  • "Why Do Memories Hurt So Bad", Smokey Robinson (1987)
  • "The Philly Dog", Earl Van Dyke
  • "Baby I'm Glad Things Worked Out So Well", Marvin Gaye
  • "Lost For Words", The Four Tops


  • Tarplin, and the other Miracles (except Claudette), has been a multiple winner of The BMI award for Songwriting. (Reference: Ebony, October 1971, pg 169)
  • Tarplin, along with fellow Miracles Pete Moore and Smokey Robinson, was the winner of "The Award Of Merit" from The American Society of Composers, Authors, and Publishers (ASCAP) for co- composing "The Tracks Of My Tears".[5]
  • British music magazine Mojo chose Tarplin as one of the '100 Greatest Guitarists of All Time'.
  • The Miracles (including Tarplin),were honored with a star on the Hollywood Walk Of Fame on March 20, 2009.
  • The Miracles ,including Tarplin, were retroactively inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame by a special committee in 2012.c

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