1962 Miracles – What’s So Good About Goodbye
One of the most prolific groups on the Motown label got its start when five high school classmates in Detroit formed The Five Chimes in 1955. Smokey Robinson, Warren “Pete” Moore, and Ronnie White were later joined by Bobby Emerson and his cousin “Sonny” Rogers, who replaced two other singers who left. The group then became The Matadors. Sonny joined the army and was replaced by his sister, Claudette, who later married Smokey.
They auditioned for Alonzo Tucker of Brunswick Records in 1957, but he was not impressed enough to sign the group. Berry Gordy, one of the staff writers of the label, also heard their audition. After Berry talked with the group and saw the songs Smokey had written down in a notebook, he convinced the group to let him record a song with them. In January 1958, Berry produced the group’s recording of Got A Job, an answer song to Get A Job by the Silhouettes. The group name on the record became a shortened version of “Miracletones” on the record: The Miracles. The small label End Records released the single, which did not chart.
Berry started his own record label for their future singles, Tamla Records. Guitar player Marv Tarplin played for the Miracles on a few tour appearances and then joined the group permanently.
After six more singles that either missed the Hot 100 or stalled at #93 or #94, the Miracles finally got a hit in late 1960 with a song produced by Berry and written by Berry and Smokey: Shop Around. The single reached the top of the R&B chart and peaked at #2 on the Hot 100 in 1960.
In spite of their breakthrough, the Miracles released four more singles that failed to reach the top forty on the Hot 100. The group had its second hit record when What’s So Good About Goodbye reached #35 on the Hot 100 and #16 on the R&B chart in early 1962. Gordy again produced their hit, which Smokey wrote by himself. It was the first Motown Records single I ever bought.
The second single from the Beatles was Please, Please Me. The b-side of that record was Ask Me Why, which had an opening guitar riff that clearly owes a debt to the intro that Marv played on What’s So Good About Good-Bye.
The Miracles released You’ve Really Got a Hold on Me later that year and topped the R&B chart and again reached the top ten on the Hot 100. Many hit records followed through the mid-seventies.
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