I Second That Emotion

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"I Second That Emotion"
I Second That Emotion (1967).png
Single by Smokey Robinson & the Miracles
from the album Greatest Hits, Vol. 2
B-side"You Must Be Love"
ReleasedOctober 19, 1967 (1967-10-19)
RecordedSeptember 21, 1967
StudioHitsville U.S.A. (Studio A)
LabelMotown T 54159
Producer(s)Smokey Robinson
Smokey Robinson & the Miracles singles chronology
"More Love"
"I Second That Emotion"
"If You Can Want"
Audio sample
"I Second That Emotion"

"I Second That Emotion" is a 1967 song written by Smokey Robinson and Al Cleveland. First charting as a hit for Smokey Robinson and the Miracles on the Tamla/Motown label in 1967, "I Second That Emotion" was later a hit single for the group duet Diana Ross & the Supremes and The Temptations, also on the Motown label.

Song origin[edit]

One morning in 1967, Robinson and Cleveland were shopping at Hudson's, a Detroit department store. Robinson found a set of pearls for his wife, Claudette. "They're beautiful." he said to the salesperson. "I sure hope she likes them." Cleveland then added "I second that emotion." Both songwriters laughed at Cleveland's malapropism; he had meant to say "I second that motion." The two were immediately inspired to write a song using the incorrect phrase.[1]

The Miracles' original version[edit]

The Miracles' original version of the song finds lead singer and co-writer Smokey Robinson courting a girl who, weary of the game of love, prefers to string her men along and not get romantically involved. Robinson "wants no part" in such a relationship, but promises that if the girl changes her mind, he'll be around ("If you feel like lovin' me/if you've got the notion/I second that emotion.")

This version peaked for three weeks in the United States at No. 4 on the Billboard Hot 100 in December 1967.[2][3][4] It became the Miracles highest charting popular single since "Shop Around". In this song, guitarists Eddie Willis and Robert White came up with their own guitar licks and riffs for this song based on a chord chart that was given to them by Robinson (this is a classic example of the creativity the Funk Brothers brought to the table during the recording sessions they participated in at the Snake Pit). Regular Miracles guitarist Marv Tarplin was also present on the song.[5]

The song also topped the Billboard Best Selling R&B Singles chart[6][7] and was a million-selling hit for The Miracles, their sixth overall.[8] The song was also a top 30 hit in the UK in 1967, reaching No. 27.


The Miracles


Chart (1967–68) Peak
Australia (Kent Music Report)[9] 98
Canada (CHUM)[10] 2
Canada Soul Survey (RPM)[11] 3
UK Singles (OCC)[12] 27
US Billboard Hot 100[13] 4
US Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs (Billboard)[14] 27
US Cash Box Top 100[15] 3

Diana Ross & the Supremes and The Temptations version[edit]

"I Second That Emotion"
The Supremes & The Temptations - I Second That Emotion (Denmark).png
Single by Diana Ross & the Supremes and The Temptations
from the album Diana Ross & the Supremes Join The Temptations
B-side"The Way You Do the Things You Do"
ReleasedSeptember 20, 1969 (1969-09-20) (UK)
StudioHitsville U.S.A. (Studio A)
LabelMotown TM 709
  • Smokey Robinson
  • Al Cleveland
Producer(s)Frank Wilson
Diana Ross & the Supremes singles chronology
"The Weight"
"I Second That Emotion"
"Someday We'll Be Together"
The Temptations singles chronology
"I Can't Get Next to You"
"I Second That Emotion"
"The Weight"
Audio sample
"I Second That Emotion"
Diana Ross & the Supremes Join The Temptations track listing

The song was covered and released by a group duet of Motown labelmates Diana Ross & the Supremes and The Temptations in 1969. This version peaked at No. 18 in the UK.[16]


Track listing[edit]

7" single (1969) (United Kingdom)

  1. "I Second That Emotion" – 2:55
  2. "The Way You Do the Things You Do" – 1:39


Chart (1969) Peak
Iceland (Íslenski Listinn)[17] 20
UK Singles (OCC)[16] 18

Japan version[edit]

"I Second That Emotion"
Japan I Second That Emotion 1982.jpg
One of the UK covers of the 1982 release
Single by Japan
  • 22 March 1980 (1980-03-22)
  • June 1982 (1982-06)
GenreNew wave
  • 3:45 (1980)
  • 3:52 (1982 remix)
  • 5:15 (1982 extended remix)
Producer(s)John Punter
Japan singles chronology
"Life in Tokyo"
"I Second That Emotion"
"Gentlemen Take Polaroids"
Japan singles chronology
"Cantonese Boy"
"I Second That Emotion"
"Life in Tokyo"

"I Second That Emotion" was covered by British new wave band Japan, originally released as a single in 1980[18] without success. The single was re-released in 1982, on the back of the band's increased success in 1981, peaking at number 9 in the UK Singles Chart in July, making it their second most successful single after "Ghosts".[19]


The song was first released in March 1980 in the UK with a fade-out version of "Quiet Life" on the B-side. In Japan, "Quiet Life" had been released as a single in 1979, so "European Son" was released as the B-side instead. In 1982, the song was remixed by Steve Nye and released as a single, with the B-side "Halloween" originally released on the album Quiet Life. In Australia, the single was released with the B-side as the 1978 re-recorded version of "Adolescent Sex", originally from the band's debut album of the same name.[20]

Track listings[edit]

7": Ariola Hansa / AHA 559 (1980, UK)[21]

  1. "I Second That Emotion" – 3:45
  2. "Quiet Life" – 3:51

7": Ariola Hansa / VIPX-1501 (1980, Japan)[22]

  1. "I Second That Emotion" – 3:46
  2. "European Son" – 3:40

7": Hansa / HANSA 12 (1982, UK)[21]

  1. "I Second That Emotion" – 3:52
  2. "Halloween" – 4:23

12": Hansa / HANSA 12-12 (1982, UK)[21]

  1. "I Second That Emotion" (extended remix) – 5:15
  2. "Halloween" – 4:23

7": RCA Victor / 104039 (1982, Australia)[23]

  1. "I Second That Emotion" – 3:50
  2. "Adolescent Sex" – 4:10



Chart (1980) Peak
Japan (Oricon Singles Chart) 87
Chart (1982) Peak
Ireland (IRMA)[24] 14
UK Singles (OCC)[25] 9

In popular culture[edit]

In 1983, the song appeared on The Big Chill soundtrack Disc 1, Track 8.

On June 18, 2012, American Songwriter named "I Second That Emotion" its "Lyric of The Week". The publication wrote: the song "marches to the beat of its own drum, thanks to three stanzas of crafty doo-wop poetry and one punny one-liner—a malapropism, if you want to get technical—that never really loses its novelty appeal".[26]

The song was often performed by the Jerry Garcia Band. Between the years 1976 to 1994, the Jerry Garcia Band performed the song 154 times, not including seven live performances by the Grateful Dead.[citation needed]


  1. ^ The Complete Motown Singles Vol. 7: 1967, Motown/Hip-O Select B0008993-02, 2007, liner notes, p. 85.
  2. ^ "Billboard Hot 100". Billboard. Vol. 79 no. 50. 1967. p. 66. Retrieved May 11, 2011.
  3. ^ "Billboard Hot 100". Billboard. Vol. 79 no. 51. 1967. p. 48. Retrieved May 11, 2011.
  4. ^ "Billboard Hot 100". Billboard. Vol. 79 no. 52. 1967. p. 44. Retrieved May 11, 2011.
  5. ^ "Marv Tarplin: Miracles guitarist whose understated licks played a". The Independent. October 5, 2011. Retrieved April 11, 2018.
  6. ^ Whitburn, Joel (2004). Top R&B/Hip-Hop Singles: 1942-2004. Record Research. p. 404.
  7. ^ "Best Selling R&B Singles", Billboard, January 13, 1968. p. 31. Retrieved June 23, 2018.
  8. ^ Coryton, Demitri; Murrells, Joseph. Hits of the Sixties: The Million Sellers. p. 182.
  9. ^ "Every AMR Top 100 Single in 1968". www.top100singles.net.
  10. ^ "CHUM Hit Parade, week of December 18, 1967". December 18, 2020. Retrieved October 19, 2020.
  11. ^ Canada, Library and Archives (July 17, 2013). "Image : RPM Weekly". www.bac-lac.gc.ca. Retrieved October 19, 2020.
  12. ^ "Smokey Robinson and the Miracles: Artist Chart History". Official Charts Company.
  13. ^ "Smokey Robinson & the Miracles Chart History (Hot 100)". Billboard.
  14. ^ "Smokey Robinson & the Miracles Chart History (Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs)". Billboard.
  15. ^ "Cash Box Top 100 12/23/67". cashboxmagazine.com. Retrieved October 19, 2020.
  16. ^ a b "Diana Ross and the Supremes and the Temptations: Artist Chart History". Official Charts Company.
  17. ^ "Lesbók Morgunblaðsins - 41. tölublað (02.11.1969)". Lesbók Morgunblaðsins (in Icelandic). November 2, 1969. p. 15. Retrieved January 8, 2021.
  18. ^ "Japan - Quiet Life/Second That Emotion". discogs.com. Retrieved June 1, 2016.
  19. ^ "Japan | Full Official Chart History | Official Charts Company". Official Charts. Retrieved May 31, 2016.
  20. ^ "Japan Nightporter - History of Japan by Paul Rymer". www.nightporter.co.uk. Retrieved October 19, 2020.
  21. ^ a b c "Japan Discography - The Hansa Years". discog.info. Retrieved October 19, 2020.
  22. ^ "Japan - I Second That Emotion = セカンド・ザット・エモーション". Discogs. Retrieved October 19, 2020.
  23. ^ "Japan - I Second That Emotion". Discogs. Retrieved October 19, 2020.
  24. ^ "The Irish Charts – Search Results – I Second That Emotion". Irish Singles Chart.
  25. ^ "Japan: Artist Chart History". Official Charts Company.
  26. ^ Leahey, Andrew (June 18, 2012). "Smokey Robinson and the Miracles, 'I Second That Emotion'". American Songwriter. Retrieved June 18, 2012.