My Girl (The Temptations song)

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"My Girl"
Tempts-mygirl-cover.jpg
U.S. single picture sleeve
Single by The Temptations
from the album The Temptations Sing Smokey
B-side"(Talking 'Bout) Nobody But My Baby"
ReleasedDecember 21, 1964 (1964-12-21)
RecordedSeptember 25, November 10 & 17, 1964
StudioHitsville USA (Studio A), Detroit, Michigan
Genre
Length2:55
LabelGordy
Songwriter(s)
Producer(s)
  • Robinson
  • White
The Temptations singles chronology
"Girl (Why You Wanna Make Me Blue)"
(1964)
"My Girl"
(1964)
"It's Growing"
(1965)

"My Girl" is a soul music song recorded by the Temptations for the Gordy (Motown) record label. Written and produced by the Miracles members Smokey Robinson and Ronald White, it became the Temptations' first U.S. number 1 single, and is today their signature song. Robinson's inspiration for writing "My Girl" was his wife, Miracles member Claudette Rogers Robinson. The song was included on the Temptations 1965 album The Temptations Sing Smokey. In 2017, the song was selected for preservation in the National Recording Registry by the Library of Congress as being "culturally, historically, or artistically significant".[1]

Recording and release[edit]

The recorded version of "My Girl" was the first Temptations single to feature David Ruffin on lead vocals. Previously, Eddie Kendricks and Paul Williams had performed most of the group's lead vocals, and Ruffin had joined the group as a replacement for former Temptation Elbridge Bryant. While on tour as part of the Motortown Revue, a collective tour for most of the Motown roster, Smokey Robinson caught the Temptations' part of the show. For their set, the group had included a medley of soul standards, one of which, the Drifters' "Under the Boardwalk", was a solo spot for Ruffin. Impressed, Robinson decided to produce a single with Ruffin singing lead. Robinson saw Ruffin as a "sleeping giant" in the group with a unique voice that was "mellow" yet "gruff".[2] Robinson thought that if he could write just the perfect song for Ruffin's voice, then he could have a smash hit.[2] The composition was to be something that Ruffin could "belt out" yet something that was also "melodic and sweet".[2]

After some persuasion from Ruffin's bandmates, Robinson had the Temptations record "My Girl" instead of the Miracles, who were originally going to record the song, and recruited Ruffin to sing the lead vocals. According to Robinson, he allowed the group to create their own background vocals "because they were so great at background vocals".[3] Consequently, the Temptations came up with boosts like "hey hey hey" and a series of "my girls" that echo David's vocal."[4] The opening bass notes are recognized around the world. As Smokey Robinson says, "I can be in a foreign country where people don't speak English and the audience will start cheering before I even start singing "My Girl." They know what's coming as soon as they hear the opening bass line. [He sings the famous line created by bassist James Jamerson:] 'Bah bum-bum, bah bum-bum, bah bum-bum.'"[5] The signature guitar riff heard during the introduction and under the verses was played by Robert White of the Funk Brothers. This part can be heard without vocals on the 2004 deluxe edition of the soundtrack from the 2002 documentary Standing in the Shadows of Motown.

"My Girl" was later sampled for "Stay", a single from the Temptations' 1998 album Phoenix Rising. The single was re-released in 1992, following the November 1991 release of the film of the same name, which featured the song. It did not reach the Billboard charts, but did reach number 2 in the UK Singles Chart.

Reception[edit]

"My Girl" climbed to the top of the U.S. pop charts after its Christmas time 1964 release, making it the Temptations' first number 1 hit. The single was also the first number 1 hit on the reinstated Billboard R&B Singles chart, which had gone on a fifteen-month hiatus from 1963 to 1965.[6] The single also gave the Gordy label its first number 1 on the Hot 100.[7]

Over time, "My Girl", with its signature introduction and unrestrained expression of male joy, would become one of Motown's best-known and most successful singles. "My Girl" was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame in 1998."[8]

In 2004, "My Girl" was ranked number 88 on Rolling Stone's list of "The 500 Greatest Songs of All Time".[9]

Personnel[edit]

Charts[edit]

Certifications[edit]

Region Certification Certified units/sales
United Kingdom (BPI)[26] Platinum 600,000double-dagger
United States (RIAA)[27] Platinum 1,000,000^

^shipments figures based on certification alone
double-daggersales+streaming figures based on certification alone

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "National Recording Registry Reaches 500". Library of Congress. March 21, 2018. Retrieved March 21, 2018.
  2. ^ a b c Blair, Elizabeth. "My Girl". NPR. Retrieved June 24, 2009.
  3. ^ Marc Meyers, Anatomy of a Song: The Oral History of 45 Iconic Hits,Chapter 9,My Girl (2016)
  4. ^ Anatomy of a Song: The Oral History of 45 Iconic Hits That Changed Rock, R&B and Pop by Marc Myers https://a.co/6O3WaIr
  5. ^ Anatomy of a Song: The Oral History of 45 Iconic Hits That Changed Rock, R&B and Pop by Marc Myers https://a.co/bMQEALX
  6. ^ Whitburn, Joel (2004). Top R&B/Hip-Hop Singles: 1942–2004. Record Research. p. 803.
  7. ^ Bronson, Fred (November 7, 1998). "The Temptations". Billboard. 110 (45): 26.
  8. ^ Anatomy of a Song: The Oral History of 45 Iconic Hits That Changed Rock, R&B and Pop by Marc Myers https://a.co/6C1IBLZ
  9. ^ "The Rolling Stone 500 Greatest Songs of All Time". Rolling Stone. Retrieved March 7, 2007.
  10. ^ "Top RPM Singles: Issue 5588." RPM. Library and Archives Canada. Retrieved May 1, 2020.
  11. ^ "Official Singles Chart Top 100". Official Charts Company. Retrieved May 1, 2020.
  12. ^ "The Temptations Chart History (Hot 100)". Billboard. Retrieved May 1, 2020.
  13. ^ "The Temptations Chart History (Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs)". Billboard. Retrieved May 1, 2020.
  14. ^ "Cash Box Top 100 Singles, February 27, 1965". Archived from the original on March 13, 2017. Retrieved July 11, 2018.
  15. ^ "Dutchcharts.nl – The Temptations – My Girl" (in Dutch). Single Top 100. Retrieved May 1, 2020.
  16. ^ "Top RPM Adult Contemporary: Issue 2037." RPM. Library and Archives Canada. Retrieved May 1, 2020.
  17. ^ "Eurochart Hot 100 Singles" (PDF). Music & Media. Vol. 9 no. 10. March 7, 1992. p. 17. Retrieved May 1, 2020.
  18. ^ "Offiziellecharts.de – The Temptations – My Girl". GfK Entertainment Charts. Retrieved May 1, 2020.
  19. ^ "The Irish Charts – Search Results – The Temptations". Irish Singles Chart. Retrieved May 1, 2020.
  20. ^ "Top 10 Sales in Europe" (PDF). Music & Media. Vol. 9 no. 16. April 18, 1992. p. 14. Retrieved May 1, 2020.
  21. ^ "Official Singles Chart Top 100". Official Charts Company. Retrieved May 1, 2020.
  22. ^ "The Temptations Chart History (Adult Contemporary)". Billboard. Retrieved May 1, 2020.
  23. ^ Musicoutfitters.com
  24. ^ "Cash Box Year-End Charts: Top 100 Pop Singles, December 25, 1965". Archived from the original on May 10, 2017. Retrieved July 11, 2018.
  25. ^ "Year End Charts: Top Singles". Music Week. January 16, 1993. p. 8.
  26. ^ "British single certifications – Temptations – My Girl". British Phonographic Industry. Retrieved October 11, 2019. Select singles in the Format field. Select Platinum in the Certification field. Type My Girl in the "Search BPI Awards" field and then press Enter.
  27. ^ "American single certifications – The Temptations – My Girl". Recording Industry Association of America. Retrieved October 11, 2019. If necessary, click Advanced, then click Format, then select Single, then click SEARCH. 

External links[edit]