"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. In 1967, Johnny Rivers covered the song and his version was a number 10 hit on the Billboard Hot 100. Linda Ronstadt recorded a hit cover of her own in 1975 that reached number 25 on the Hot 100 chart. Numerous other artists have recorded the song over the years.
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.
"The Tracks of My Tears" was a number 2 hit on the BillboardR&Bchart, and it reached number 16 on the Billboard Hot 100. Belatedly released in the UK in 1969, it became a Top Ten hit that summer, reaching number 9 (the UK release was credited to "Smokey Robinson and the Miracles"). 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.
Conversely, Ronstadt would score one 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.
In 2000, American singer Pru sampled "The Track of My Tears" for her single "Candles", which was released from her self-titled debut album. The lyrics and instrumental for "Candles" were directly inspired by The Miracles' single.