Yester Love

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"Yester Love"
Single by Smokey Robinson & the Miracles
from the album Special Occasion
B-side "Much Better Off"
Released May 13, 1968
Format 7" single
Recorded Hitsville USA (Studio A): December 18, 1967
Genre Soul/pop
Length 2:16
Label Tamla
T 54167
Producer(s) Smokey Robinson
Smokey Robinson & the Miracles singles chronology
"If You Can Want"
"Yester Love"
"Special Occasion"

"Yester Love" (Tamla 54167) was a 1968 song by Motown Records R&B group The Miracles (aka "Smokey Robinson" and The Miracles) on its Tamla subsidiary label. It was recorded on December 18, 1967 (released on May 13, 1968), and was included on the group's album, Special Occasion.

Composed by Miracles lead singer Smokey Robinson, and Motown staff songwriter Al Cleveland and produced by Robinson, the song was a Billboard top 40 pop hit, peaking at No. 31, and a top 10 R&B hit as well, peaking at No. 9. It also reached No. 24 on the U.S. Cash Box Top 100.[1] In Canada, the song reached No. 28.[2]

A mid-tempo song, instead of the usual ballad, a trademark of The Miracles, this tune was a sad lament about a lost love, the theme of many Miracles' songs. The song's title, "Yester Love", is a shortened form of "Yesterday Love", or "Love of Yesterday", indicating the relationship has now ended. Smokey, as the song's narrator, portrays a heartbroken man, reminiscing about a once-happy relationship with his girl, with promise of a future, that ended in failure, with his wondering just how it got there:

"Yesterday, we made future plans....
She loved me, I could tell...
Can today be that tomorrow...
That we planned so well...
Yester Baby,I'll never forget her...
Though tomorrow might bring me one better...
Today, I go my way, dreaming of my Yester love..."

During the song, Smokey, ever the master poet, also explains the meaning of his use of the term "Yester", in his usual fashion:

"Yester is.....
The Prefix that we fix
To things that have gone by...
Forever, they say...."

Miracle Marv Tarplin's outstanding guitar work is evident throughout, and is actually the last thing the listener hears, as the song draws to a close. During the song, Miracles Claudette Robinson, her cousin Bobby Rogers, Ronnie White, and Pete Moore, project sympathetic background vocals to Smokey's lead, with Claudette's voice clearly audible in the chorus.

"Yester Love" was released during 1968, a period during which The Miracles, a normally guaranteed Top 20 and occasional Top 10 group, were undergoing an inexplicable chart decline, along with many of Motown's other top groups, including The Supremes. Fortunately, this trend was soon reversed by the Top 10 success of their hit, Baby, Baby Don't Cry, in Spring, 1969.

"Yester Love" has inspired a cover version by Gerald Wilson and his Orchestra, and has been included in several Miracles "Greatest Hits" anthologies. Taken from the same album, the song's "B" side, "Much Better Off", like many Miracles "B" sides, was also a popular regional hit, and inspired a cover version by late rapper J Dilla.[3]

Personnel—The Miracles[edit]

  • Smokey Robinson - lead vocals
  • Pete Moore - bass vocals
  • Claudette Rogers-Robinson - soprano vocals
  • Ronnie White - baritone vocals
  • Bobby Rogers - tenor vocals
  • Marv Tarplin -guitar

Other personnel[edit]

References and external links[edit]

Smokey Robinson & The Miracles: The 35th Anniversary Collection (The Miracles' Discography, pg 61)