The Tracks of My Tears

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"The Tracks of My Tears"
Tracks of my tears.jpg
Single by the Miracles
from the album Going to a Go-Go
B-side"A Fork in the Road"
ReleasedJune 23, 1965
RecordedHitsville USA (Studio A); 1965
T 54118
Producer(s)Smokey Robinson
The Miracles singles chronology
"Ooo Baby Baby"
"The Tracks of My Tears"
"My Girl Has Gone"

"The Tracks of My Tears" is a song written by Smokey Robinson, Pete Moore, and Marv Tarplin. It is a multiple award-winning 1965 hit R&B song originally recorded by their group, the Miracles, on Motown's Tamla label. The Miracles' million-selling original version has been inducted into The Grammy Hall of Fame, has been ranked by the Recording Industry Association of America and The National Endowment for the Arts at No. 127 in its list of the "Songs of the Century" – the 365 Greatest Songs of the 20th Century, and has been selected by Rolling Stone as No. 50 on its list of "The 500 Greatest Songs of All Time", among many other awards.[1] In 2021, Rolling Stone ranked The Miracles' original recording of "The Tracks of My Tears" as "The Greatest Motown Song of All Time."[2][3]

The Miracles original version[edit]


"The Tracks of My Tears" was written by Miracles members Smokey Robinson (lead vocalist), Pete Moore (bass vocalist), and Marv Tarplin (guitarist).

In the five-LP publication The Motown Story, by Motown Records, Robinson explained the origin of this song in these words: "'Tracks of My Tears' was actually started by Marv Tarplin, who is a young cat who plays guitar for our act. So he had this musical thing [sings melody], you know, and we worked around with it, and worked around, and it became 'Tracks of My Tears'." Tarplin's guitar licks at the song's intro are among the most famous in pop music history.[4][5]

"The Tracks of My Tears" was a No. 2 hit on the Billboard R&B chart, and it reached No. 16 on the Billboard Hot 100. On initial release in the UK in 1965 it did not chart, but like several other Motown singles reissued there in 1969, it became a Top Ten hit in the summer, reaching No. 9, credited to "Smokey Robinson and the Miracles".[6] This song is considered to be among the finest recordings of The Miracles, and it sold over one million records within two years, making it The Miracles' fourth million-selling record.[7] Billboard described the song as a "first rate teen ballad with pulsating dance beat."[8] Cash Box described it as "a slow-shufflin’ pop-r&b tearjerker about a gal who has several regrets about losing her guy."[9]

The Miracles can be seen performing "The Tracks of My Tears" on their 2006 Motown DVD release, The Miracles' Definitive Performances.

Awards and accolades[edit]

The Miracles' recording of "The Tracks of My Tears" ranked at No. 50 on Rolling Stone's The 500 Greatest Songs of All Time in 2004;[1] the track was also a 2007 inductee into the Grammy Hall of Fame. On May 14, 2008, the track was preserved by the United States Library of Congress as an "culturally, historically, and aesthetically significance" to the National Recording Registry. The song "The Tracks of My Tears" was also awarded "The Award of Merit" from The American Society of Composers, Authors, and Publishers (ASCAP) for Miracles members/composers Pete Moore, Marv Tarplin, and Smokey Robinson.[10]

Ranked by the RIAA and the National Endowment for the Arts at No. 127 in its list of the Songs of the Century - the 365 Greatest Songs of the 20th Century - "The Tracks of My Tears" was also chosen as one of The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame's 500 Songs that Shaped Rock and Roll. Additionally, the song ranked at No. 5 on the "Top 10 Best Songs of All Time" by a panel of 20 top industry songwriters and producers including Hal David, Paul McCartney, Brian Wilson, Jerry Leiber, and others as reported to Britain's Mojo music magazine.[11]



Region Certification Certified units/sales
United Kingdom (BPI)[16] Silver 200,000double-dagger

double-dagger Sales+streaming figures based on certification alone.


The Miracles[edit]

Linda Ronstadt version[edit]

"The Tracks of My Tears"
The Tracks of My Tears - Linda Ronstadt.jpg
Single by Linda Ronstadt
from the album Prisoner in Disguise
B-side"The Sweetest Gift"
ReleasedDecember 1975
RecordedThe Sound Factory, Los Angeles 1975
GenreRock, country rock
Producer(s)Peter Asher
Linda Ronstadt singles chronology
"Heat Wave"
"The Tracks of My Tears"
"That'll Be the Day"


In 1975, Linda Ronstadt recorded a cover version of "The Tracks of My Tears" for her studio album Prisoner in Disguise that became a pop Top 40 hit in the US. The single was produced by Peter Asher and issued on Asylum Records as that album's second single. Ronstadt's version of the song was a success peaking at No. 25 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart, reaching No. 11 on the Billboard C&W chart in tandem with its B-side: the Emmylou Harris duet "The Sweetest Gift", and No. 42 in 1976 on the UK Singles Chart.[17]

Ronstadt later scored another of her biggest hits with her 1978 single "Ooh Baby Baby" which was a remake of the Miracles' hit single release precedent to "The Tracks of My Tears". Ronstadt and Smokey Robinson performed both "The Tracks of My Tears" and "Ooh Baby Baby" on the Motown 25: Yesterday, Today, Forever special broadcast on May 16, 1983.

Chart performance[edit]

Other versions[edit]


  1. ^ a b "The RS 500 Greatest Songs of All Time". Retrieved June 19, 2008.[dead link]
  2. ^ "Rolling Stone picks Smokey Robinson and the Miracles track as greatest Motown song". March 30, 2021.
  3. ^ "The 100 Greatest Motown Songs". March 30, 2021.
  4. ^ "We Remember Marv Tarplin: Miracles Guitarist Dies at 70". September 30, 2011. Retrieved August 14, 2012.
  5. ^ ""The Tracks of My Tears" by The Miracles". YouTube. Archived from the original on December 21, 2021. Retrieved August 14, 2012.
  6. ^ Roberts, David (2006). British Hit Singles & Albums (19th ed.). London: Guinness World Records Limited. p. 370. ISBN 1-904994-10-5.
  7. ^ "WBMM The Miracles Facts". Archived from the original on July 25, 2012. Retrieved December 2, 2012.
  8. ^ "Spotlight Singles" (PDF). Billboard. July 10, 1965. p. 16. Retrieved March 11, 2021.
  9. ^ "CashBox Record Reviews" (PDF). Cash Box. July 10, 1965. p. 14. Retrieved January 12, 2022.
  10. ^ "WBMM Pete Moore Awards". Archived from the original on February 19, 2012. Retrieved August 14, 2012.
  11. ^ Gregg, Jonathan (July 12, 2000). "So, What Are Your Ten Best Songs of All Time?". Retrieved March 12, 2016.
  12. ^ "RPM Top 40 Singles - September 5, 1965" (PDF).
  13. ^ a b Joel Whitburn's Top Pop Singles 1955-1990 - ISBN 0-89820-089-X
  14. ^ "Cash Box Top 100 8/28/65". Archived from the original on May 10, 2015. Retrieved November 21, 2017.
  15. ^ "Top 100 Hits of 1965/Top 100 Songs of 1965". Retrieved November 21, 2017.
  16. ^ "British single certifications – Smokey Robinson & The Miracles – The Tracks of My Tears". British Phonographic Industry. Retrieved September 23, 2022.
  17. ^ Roberts, David (2006). British Hit Singles & Albums (19th ed.). London: Guinness World Records Limited. p. 469. ISBN 1-904994-10-5.
  18. ^ "RPM Top 100 Singles - March 13, 1976" (PDF).
  19. ^ "RPM Top 50 AC - February 28, 1976" (PDF).
  20. ^ a b "Song artist 414 - Linda Ronstadt". Retrieved November 21, 2017.
  21. ^ "Cash Box Top 100 2/28/76". Archived from the original on October 20, 2018. Retrieved November 21, 2017.
  22. ^ "Top Singles – Volume 26, No. 14 & 15, January 08 1977". RPM. Library and Archives Canada. Archived from the original on June 10, 2016. Retrieved March 13, 2016.
  23. ^ Whitburn, Joel (1999). Pop Annual. Menomonee Falls, Wisconsin: Record Research Inc. ISBN 0-89820-142-X.
  24. ^ Top 50 Adult Contemporary Hits of 1976
  25. ^ "RPM Top 100 Singles - July 15, 1967" (PDF).
  26. ^ Kent, David (1993). Australian Chart Book 1970-1992. St Ives, N.S.W.: Australian Chart Book. ISBN 0-646-11917-6.
  27. ^ Roberts, David (2006). British Hit Singles & Albums (19th ed.). London: Guinness World Records Limited. p. 67. ISBN 1-904994-10-5.
  28. ^ Roberts, David (2006). British Hit Singles & Albums (19th ed.). London: Guinness World Records Limited. p. 229. ISBN 1-904994-10-5.
  29. ^ "Íslenski Listinn Topp 40 (07.10–13.10)". Dagblaðið Vísir (in Icelandic). October 7, 1993. Retrieved September 30, 2019.
  30. ^ "RPM 100 Hit Tracks". RPM. February 28, 1994. Retrieved August 7, 2019 – via Library and Archives Canada.


Coryton, Demitri; Joseph Murrells. Hits of the Sixties: The Million Sellers. p. 131.

External links[edit]