Jump to content

My Girl (The Temptations song)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

"My Girl"
Side A of the German single
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, Detroit
  • Robinson
  • White
The Temptations singles chronology
"Girl (Why You Wanna Make Me Blue)"
"My Girl"
"It's Growing"

"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 currently 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 aesthetically significant".[2]

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".[3] Robinson thought that if he could write the perfect song for Ruffin's voice, then he could have a smash hit.[3] The composition was to be something that Ruffin could "belt out" yet something that was also "melodic and sweet".[3]

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".[4] Consequently, the Temptations came up with boosts like "hey hey hey" and a series of "my girls" that echo David's vocal."[5] 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.'"[6] 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.

The Temptations also recorded German- and Italian-language versions of the song, "Mein Girl" and "Solamente Lei",[7] released in 1965[8] and 1966[9] respectively. Both versions were later included on two various Motown artists compilation albums, the one-CD Motown Around the World (1987)[10] and the two-CD Motown Around the World: The Classic Singles (2010),[11][7][12] as well as on the Temptations' compilation album 50th Anniversary – The Singles Collection (1961–1971) (2011).[13]

The song 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.

"My Girl" was later sampled for "Stay", a single from the Temptations' 1998 album Phoenix Rising, which reached #28 on the US R&B Charts.


"My Girl" climbed to the top of the U.S. pop charts on March 6, 1965, 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.[14] The single also gave the Gordy label its first number 1 on the Hot 100.[15]

Over time, "My Girl", with its signature introduction and unrestrained expression of joy, became one of Motown's best-known and most successful singles. "My Girl" was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame in 1998.[16]

Cash Box described the single as "a pulsating, shuffle-wobble ballad" performed "in very tempting style" and with a "striking arrangement".[17] Record World said, "Teens won't be able to resist Temptations' new one, which is a sweet and slow tribute to a teen angel."[18] In 2004, "My Girl" was ranked number 88 on Rolling Stone's list of "The 500 Greatest Songs of All Time".[19] The song was re-ranked and moved to number 43 in the 2021 edition.




Region Certification Certified units/sales
Denmark (IFPI Danmark)[37] Gold 45,000
Italy (FIMI)[38] Gold 25,000
Spain (PROMUSICAE)[39] Platinum 60,000
United Kingdom (BPI)[40] 2× Platinum 1,200,000
United States (RIAA)[41] Platinum 1,000,000^

^ Shipments figures based on certification alone.
Sales+streaming figures based on certification alone.

Otis Redding version[edit]

In 1965, Otis Redding recorded the song for his album Otis Blue.[42] Released as a single, it was the first version to be successful in the United Kingdom, reaching No.11 in the UK Singles Chart.[43]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Billboard Staff (October 19, 2023). "The 500 Best Pop Songs: Staff List". Billboard. Retrieved February 24, 2024. ...one of the most classic singles in pop history...
  2. ^ "National Recording Registry Reaches 500". Library of Congress. March 21, 2018. Retrieved March 21, 2018.
  3. ^ a b c Blair, Elizabeth. "My Girl". NPR. Retrieved June 24, 2009.
  4. ^ Marc Meyers, Anatomy of a Song: The Oral History of 45 Iconic Hits,Chapter 9,My Girl (2016)
  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/6O3WaIr
  6. ^ 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
  7. ^ a b "'Mein Girl': Motown's Hits, Found In Translation." (audio transcript) All Things Considered. NPR. 28 May 2010. Retrieved 1 August 2023.
  8. ^ "Mein Girl" at Discogs
  9. ^ "Sei Solo Tu / Solamente Lei" at Discogs (list of releases)
  10. ^ Motown Around the World at Discogs (list of releases)
  11. ^ Motown Around the World: The Classic Singles: Overview at AllMusic. Retrieved 1 August 2023.
  12. ^ Motown Around the World (The Classic Singles) at Discogs
  13. ^ 50th Anniversary - The Singles Collection 1961-1971 at Discogs
  14. ^ Whitburn, Joel (2004). Top R&B/Hip-Hop Singles: 1942–2004. Record Research. p. 803.
  15. ^ Bronson, Fred (November 7, 1998). "The Temptations". Billboard. Vol. 110, no. 45. p. 26.
  16. ^ 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
  17. ^ "CashBox Record Reviews" (PDF). Cash Box. January 9, 1965. p. 14. Retrieved January 12, 2022.
  18. ^ "Singles Reviews" (PDF). Record World. January 9, 1965. p. 8. Retrieved July 22, 2023.
  19. ^ "The Rolling Stone 500 Greatest Songs of All Time". Rolling Stone. Archived from the original on August 15, 2006. Retrieved March 7, 2007.
  20. ^ Liner notes. The Complete Motown Singles Vol. 4: 1964, Hip-O Select – B0005946-02, USA, 24 Feb 2006
  21. ^ "Top RPM Singles: Issue 5588." RPM. Library and Archives Canada. Retrieved May 1, 2020.
  22. ^ "Official Singles Chart Top 100". Official Charts Company. Retrieved May 1, 2020.
  23. ^ "The Temptations Chart History (Hot 100)". Billboard. Retrieved May 1, 2020.
  24. ^ "The Temptations Chart History: Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs". Billboard. Retrieved December 3, 2021.
  25. ^ "Cash Box Top 100 Singles, February 27, 1965". Archived from the original on March 13, 2017. Retrieved July 11, 2018.
  26. ^ "The Temptations – My Girl" (in Dutch). Single Top 100. Retrieved May 1, 2020.
  27. ^ "Top RPM Adult Contemporary: Issue 2037." RPM. Library and Archives Canada. Retrieved May 1, 2020.
  28. ^ "Eurochart Hot 100 Singles" (PDF). Music & Media. Vol. 9, no. 10. March 7, 1992. p. 17. Retrieved May 1, 2020.
  29. ^ "The Temptations – My Girl" (in German). GfK Entertainment charts. Retrieved May 1, 2020.
  30. ^ "The Irish Charts – Search Results – The Temptations". Irish Singles Chart. Retrieved May 1, 2020.
  31. ^ "Top 10 Sales in Europe" (PDF). Music & Media. Vol. 9, no. 16. April 18, 1992. p. 14. Retrieved May 1, 2020.
  32. ^ "Official Singles Chart Top 100". Official Charts Company. Retrieved May 1, 2020.
  33. ^ "The Temptations Chart History (Adult Contemporary)". Billboard. Retrieved May 1, 2020.
  34. ^ "Top 100 Hits of 1965/Top 100 Songs of 1965". Musicoutfitters.com. Retrieved June 6, 2021.
  35. ^ "Cash Box Year-End Charts: Top 100 Pop Singles, December 25, 1965". Archived from the original on May 10, 2017. Retrieved July 11, 2018.
  36. ^ "Year End Charts: Top Singles". Music Week. January 16, 1993. p. 8.
  37. ^ "Danish single certifications – The Temptations – My Girl". IFPI Danmark. Retrieved May 26, 2021.
  38. ^ "Italian single certifications – The Temptations – My Girl" (in Italian). Federazione Industria Musicale Italiana. Retrieved September 6, 2022. Select "2019" in the "Anno" drop-down menu. Select "My Girl" in the "Filtra" field. Select "Singoli" under "Sezione".
  39. ^ "Spanish single certifications – The Temptations – My Girl". El portal de Música. Productores de Música de España. Retrieved July 1, 2024.
  40. ^ "British single certifications – Temptations – My Girl". British Phonographic Industry. Retrieved April 21, 2023.
  41. ^ "American single certifications – The Temptations – My Girl". Recording Industry Association of America. Retrieved October 11, 2019.
  42. ^ Patrin, Nate (May 9, 2008). ""Otis Blue: Otis Redding Sings Soul [Collectors' Edition]"". Pitchfork. Retrieved November 29, 2022.
  43. ^ "OTIS REDDING songs and albums". Official Charts. September 9, 1941. Retrieved November 14, 2023.

External links[edit]