My Girl (The Temptations song)
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U.S. single picture sleeve
|Single by The Temptations|
|from the album The Temptations Sing Smokey|
|B-side||"(Talking 'Bout) Nobody But My Baby"|
|Released||December 21, 1964|
|Recorded||September 25, November 10 & 17, 1964|
|Studio||Hitsville USA (Studio A), Detroit, Michigan|
|The Temptations singles chronology|
"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, the song became the Temptations' first U.S. number-one single, and is today their signature song. Robinson's inspiration for writing this song was his wife, Miracles member Claudette Rogers Robinson. The song was included on the Temptations 1965 album The Temptations Sing Smokey. In 2018, it was selected for preservation in the National Recording Registry by the Library of Congress as being "culturally, historically, or artistically significant."
Recording and release
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. The group had included a medley of soul standards in the show, 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". Robinson thought that if he could write just the perfect song for Ruffin's voice, then he could have a smash hit. The song was to be something that Ruffin could "belt out" yet something that was also "melodic and sweet".
After some persuasion from Ruffin's bandmates, Robinson had the Temptations record "My Girl" instead of the Miracles, who were originally 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".[This quote needs a citation] 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 two in the UK Singles Chart.
"My Girl" climbed to the top of the U.S. pop charts after its Christmas time 1964 release, making it the Temptations' first number-one hit. The single was also the first number-one hit on the reinstated Billboard R&B Singles chart, which had gone on a fifteen-month hiatus from 1963 to 1965. The single also gave the Gordy label its first number one on the Hot 100.
- David Ruffin – lead vocals
- Eddie Kendricks – backing vocals
- Melvin Franklin – backing vocals
- Paul Williams – backing vocals
- Otis Williams – backing vocals
- William "Smokey" Robinson – writer, producer
- Ronald White – writer, producer
- Paul Riser – arrangement
- The Funk Brothers – instrumentation
- Robert White – guitar
- James Jamerson – bass
- Benny Benjamin – drums
- Detroit Symphony Orchestra – strings
|Canada RPM Top Singles||8|
|UK Singles Chart||43|
|US Billboard Hot 100||1|
|US Billboard Hot R&B Singles||1|
|US Cash Box Top 100||2|
|U.S. Billboard Hot 100||10|
|U.S. Cash Box ||16|
|United Kingdom (BPI)||Platinum||600,000|
|United States (RIAA)||Platinum||1,000,000^|
^shipments figures based on certification alone
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US promotional single (1972)
|Single by Otis Redding|
|from the album Otis Blue|
|B-side||"Down in the Valley"|
|Format||7-inch single (UK)|
|Studio||Stax, Memphis, Tennessee|
In 1965, Otis Redding brought a traditional blues flavor to the song. Produced by Steve Cropper, it was released on Redding's album Otis Blue: Otis Redding Sings Soul. His version was not released as a single in the US, but Atlantic issued it in the UK to capitalize on the relative lack of success by the Temptations' original version (their first UK hit, it spent one week in the Top 50 at No. 43), and Redding's cover eventually peaked at number 11.
In 1988, Suave had a Top 40 Pop hit and Top 10 R&B hit with the song. R&B/soul group the Whispers covered the song in a disco style for their eponymous 1979 album. It was subsequently released as a single, and (despite missing the US Charts completely) was a Top 30 hit in the UK, reaching number 26.
- "National Recording Registry Reaches 500". Library of Congress. March 21, 2018. Retrieved March 21, 2018.
- "Born On The Fourth Of July - Motion Picture Soundtrack Album | Discogs". Retrieved January 11, 2020.
- Blair, Elizabeth. "My Girl". NPR. Retrieved June 24, 2009.
- Whitburn, Joel (2004). Top R&B/Hip-Hop Singles: 1942–2004. Record Research. p. 803.
- Bronson, Fred (November 7, 1998). "The Temptations". Billboard - The International Newsweekly of Music, Video and Home Entertainment. 110 (45): 26.
- "The Rolling Stone 500 Greatest Songs of All Time". Rolling Stone. Retrieved March 7, 2007.
- "Item Display - RPM - Library and Archives Canada". Collectionscanada.gc.ca. March 1, 1965. Retrieved July 9, 2018.
- "Cash Box Top 100 Singles, February 27, 1965". Archived from the original on March 13, 2017. Retrieved July 11, 2018.
- "The Irish Charts – Search Results – My Girl". Irish Singles Chart. Retrieved July 12, 2018.
- "Cash Box Year-End Charts: Top 100 Pop Singles, December 25, 1965". Archived from the original on May 10, 2017. Retrieved July 11, 2018.
- "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.
- "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.