World Library  
Flag as Inappropriate
Email this Article

Marvin Tarplin

Marv Tarplin
Smokey Robinson.
Background information
Birth name Marvin Tarplin
Born (1941-06-13)June 13, 1941
Atlanta, Georgia, United States
Died September 30, 2011(2011-09-30) (aged 70)
Las Vegas, Nevada, United States
Genres Soul
Occupations Guitarist, songwriter
Instruments Guitar, Vocals
Years active 1958–2008
Labels Motown
Associated acts The Miracles

Marvin "Marv" Tarplin (June 13, 1941 – September 30, 2011) 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, and a 2012 posthumous inductee into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame with the Miracles.


Referred to as the Miracles' "secret weapon",[1] Tarplin began his career accompanying the Supremes, who at the time were still teenagers, and known as the Primettes. They were seeking 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 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 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.[2]

Whilst Tarplin remained with the Miracles for as long as Robinson was their lead singer, he is only present on the cover of three classic 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 very 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, and The Marvelettes' 1967 Top 20 hit, My Baby Must Be a Magician. 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.

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.(Robinson's replacement in the group).[3][4][5]

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.[6][7]

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 and is pictured on the cover of the 2009 Motown CD release The Miracles – Depend On Me: The Early Albums.

Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction in 2012

On February 9, 2012 (just months after his death), it was announced that Marv Tarplin would be posthumously inducted with the rest of the Miracles into the

Later years and death

Three years after leaving Robinson, Tarplin died in his Las Vegas home of undetermined causes on September 30, 2011. He was 70. Tarplin and his former wife Sylvia (who died in 2004) had a daughter named Talese. He also had two other daughters , Eboney and Lisa, from another relationship. [10][11]


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".[12]
  • 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.


External links

  • Marv Tarplin Tribute Site
  • website
  • Allmusic biography

This article was sourced from Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License; additional terms may apply. World Heritage Encyclopedia content is assembled from numerous content providers, Open Access Publishing, and in compliance with The Fair Access to Science and Technology Research Act (FASTR), Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., Public Library of Science, The Encyclopedia of Life, Open Book Publishers (OBP), PubMed, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health (NIH), U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, and, which sources content from all federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial government publication portals (.gov, .mil, .edu). Funding for and content contributors is made possible from the U.S. Congress, E-Government Act of 2002.
Crowd sourced content that is contributed to World Heritage Encyclopedia is peer reviewed and edited by our editorial staff to ensure quality scholarly research articles.
By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. World Heritage Encyclopedia™ is a registered trademark of the World Public Library Association, a non-profit organization.

Copyright © World Library Foundation. All rights reserved. eBooks from Project Gutenberg are sponsored by the World Library Foundation,
a 501c(4) Member's Support Non-Profit Organization, and is NOT affiliated with any governmental agency or department.