I Second That Emotion

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For the Futurama episode, see I Second That Emotion (Futurama).
"I Second That Emotion"
Single by Smokey Robinson & the Miracles
from the album Greatest Hits, Vol. 2
B-side "You Must Be Love"
Released October 19, 1967
Format Vinyl record (7", 45 RPM)
Recorded Hitsville U.S.A. (Studio A); September 21, 1967
Genre Soul
Length 2:48
Label Motown
T 54159
Writer(s) Smokey Robinson
Al Cleveland
Producer(s) Smokey Robinson
Smokey Robinson & the Miracles singles chronology
"More Love"
"I Second That Emotion"
"If You Can Want"
Music sample
"I Second That Emotion"
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"
Released September 20, 1969 (U.K.)
Format Vinyl record (7", 45 RPM)
Recorded Hitsville U.S.A. (Studio A); 1968
Genre Soul, pop
Length 2:19
Label Motown
TM 709
Writer(s) 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"
Diana Ross & the Supremes Join The Temptations track listing
Music sample

"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 #4 on the Billboard pop singles chart 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 the song's producers (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).

The song also topped the Billboard Black Singles Chart[5] and was a million-selling hit for The Miracles, their sixth overall.[6] The song was also a top 30 hit in the UK in 1967, reaching #27,


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

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 #19 in the UK.


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

Japan version[edit]

"I Second That Emotion"
Single by Japan
A-side "I Second That Emotion"
B-side "Halloween"
1982 (1982)
Format 7" vinyl
Genre New wave
Label Hansa
Japan singles chronology
"Life in Tokyo"
"I Second That Emotion"
"Gentlemen Take Polaroids"

"I Second That Emotion" was covered by British new wave band Japan, originally released as a single in 1980[7] 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".[8]

In popular culture[edit]

On 18 June 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".[9]


  1. ^ The Complete Motown Singles Vol. 7: 1967, Motown/Hip-O Select B0008993-02, 2007, liner notes, p. 85.
  2. ^ "Billboard Hot 100". Billboard (Nielsen Company) 79 (50): 66. 1967. Retrieved 11 May 2011. 
  3. ^ "Billboard Hot 100". Billboard (Nielsen Company) 79 (51): 48. 1967. Retrieved 11 May 2011. 
  4. ^ "Billboard Hot 100". Billboard (Nielsen Company) 79 (52): 44. 1967. Retrieved 11 May 2011. 
  5. ^ Whitburn, Joel (2004). Top R&B/Hip-Hop Singles: 1942-2004. Record Research. p. 404. 
  6. ^ Hits of the Sixties: The Million Sellers - by Demitri Coryton & Joseph Murrells (pg 182).
  7. ^ "Japan - Quiet Life/Second That Emotion". discogs.com. Retrieved 2016-06-01. 
  8. ^ "Japan | Full Official Chart History | Official Charts Company". Official Charts. Retrieved May 2016. 
  9. ^ Leahey, Andrew (18 June 2012). "Smokey Robinson and the Miracles, 'I Second That Emotion'". American Songwriter. Retrieved 18 June 2012. 

External links[edit]

Preceded by
"I Heard It Through the Grapevine" by Gladys Knight and The Pips
Billboard Hot R&B Singles number-one single
January 13, 1968
Succeeded by
"Chain Of Fools" by Aretha Franklin