Battle of the Bands: Tracks of My Tears by Smokey Robinson & the Miracles

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Welcome to another edition of Battle of the Bands! Today I’m featuring the motown classic “The Tracks of My Tears”:

“The Tracks of My Tears” is a song written by Miracles members Smokey Robinson (lead vocalist), Pete Moore (bass vocalist) and Marv Tarplin (guitarist). It is a multiple award-winning 1965 hit R&B song originally recorded by the group on Motown’s Tamla label.

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 Billboard R&B chart, 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. (Source: Wikipedia)

Here is Smokey Robinson and the Miracles performing the song. This is NOT part of the battle so please don’t include this version in your voting. It serves here only to present the original version.

 

The song has been covered by many artists. The two I’m showcasing today are Linda Ronstadt and the British group Go West.

CONTENDER #1

Linda Ronstadt: (born July 15, 1946) is an American popular music singer. She has earned 11 Grammy Awards, three American Music Awards, two Academy of Country Music awards, an Emmy Award, an ALMA Award, and numerous United States and internationally certified gold, platinum and multiplatinum albums. She has also earned nominations for a Tony Award and a Golden Globe award. Ronstadt was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in April 2014. On July 28, 2014, she was awarded the National Medal of Arts and Humanities.

“Tracks of My Tears” became a pop Top 40 hit for the third time, when the version recorded by Linda Ronstadt for her 1975 album Prisoner in Disguise, was issued as that album’s second single. The single was a minor hit for Ronstadt peaking at number 25 on Billboard Hot 100, reaching number 11 on the C&W chart in tandem with its B-side: the Emmylou Harris duet: “The Sweetest Gift”), and number 42 in 1976 on the UK Singles Chart. 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. (Source: Wikipedia)

 

CONTENDER #2:

Go West: Go West is an English pop duo, formed in 1982 by lead vocalist Peter Cox (born 17 November 1955, Kingston, Surrey, England); and rhythm guitarist and backup vocalist Richard Drummie (born 20 March 1959, Twickenham, Middlesex, England). The outfit enjoyed their peak of popularity between the mid 1980s and the early 1990s and are best known for the international top 10 hits “We Close Our Eyes”, “Call Me” and “King of Wishful Thinking”. They were named Best British Newcomer at the 1986 Brit Awards.

In 1993, Go West reached number 16 in the UK Singles Chart with “Tracks of My Tears”. (Source: Wikipedia)

 

TIME TO VOTE! Which version do you like better and why?

And when you’re done voting, please visit these other BOTB participants and check out their cool battles:

 

 

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34 thoughts on “Battle of the Bands: Tracks of My Tears by Smokey Robinson & the Miracles

  1. Hi, Michele!

    As top 40 DJ Johnny Holliday would have exclaimed, you “clicked the turnstiles in your wax files” for today’s BOTB. “The Tracks of My Tears” is a major memory maker from my teenage years and I enjoyed hearing Smokey sing it again. I remember the new wave 80s group Go West and enjoyed their version of the song. However, I am voting for Linda Ronstadt. I remember her recording of “Tracks of My Tears.” I loved it then and love it now. Linda is one of those rare artists who can take someone else’s hit and make it uniquely her own. That’s exactly what she accomplished with this country styled rendition of “Tracks.” Listening to Linda is “a totally organic experience” and she gets my vote!

    Thank you very much, dear friend Michele!

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    • Hey Shady, Thanks for stopping by to vote in my battle. Linda really did a great job with this song, didn’t she? I’m still not sure who I’m voting for yet but I’m leaning Linda…
      Glad you enjoyed listening to Smokey’s version again. It’s one of those songs that never get old…
      Good to see you here. I needed a break yesterday and just had one of those days where I couldn’t do anything. Exhaustion setting in! But it’s 3:30 in the morning and I just finished visiting everyone’s battles so things are looking up… 🙂

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  2. This great song first came to my attention when Johnny Rivers had a hit with it back when I was in high school. Later I enjoyed it when I got a best of Smokey and the Miracles album for Christmas one year. I thought Rivers did a great cover.

    Both of these covers are quite good. I like the way Go West changed the melody up in a nuanced way and it’s a nice musical arrangement. But in the end I’ve got to go with Linda. Her version has that Eagles California sound and she sings the song well.

    Arlee Bird
    A to Z Challenge Co-host
    Tossing It Out

    Liked by 1 person

    • I wasn’t familiar with Johnny Rivers version but I’m listening to it now and it’s quite good. Glad you liked both my cover choices. Thanks for your vote: I have you down for Linda Ronstadt…

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  3. This is a favourite song and I didn’t think cover versions could do it justice, but Linda Ronstadt really nailed it! She gets my vote. The Go West version was a bit slow; not bad, though. Interesting battle, Michele! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Easy vote for me. Love, love, love Linda’s music. I do recall Go West’s and a few of their songs, but I don’t think they performed this better than Linda.
    That being said, I also love the original. Now THAT would have been a contest for me. But even so, I think Linda would have won my vote.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Wow, really? That’s interesting. Linda definitely does a fabulous job with this song…and so many others. Thanks for your vote. One more for Linda Ronstadt…

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  5. Hiya Michele, nice battle of an old classic. Smokey Robinson has some super smooth vocals! You put together two fabulous covers to compete. Go West has a nice sound, but I was a bit disappointed with their lack of vocal range. I came a hair voting for them, but I felt Linda Rondstadt stole this show without question with her country-ish style and vocal dynamics. Linda won me over in a heart beat!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hey Cathy, thanks for stopping by and voting. Linda sure does a great job with this song. I’ll put you down for her… Glad you liked both covers!

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  6. I love Go West and Linda Ronstadt for this song, but since I have to go with one only – LINDA RONSTADT! Great, evenly matched contenders! Good job. 😉

    Liked by 1 person

  7. This is actually a tougher battle than I anticipated. Linda Ronstadt was the “known” while I’d not heard of Go West. They started out a bit slow, but when they got going, it jammed. I don’t think they sing as well as Linda, but I liked their interpretation a lot. I’m feeling torn.

    Give my vote to Go West, with a nod at Linda (because her cover was very enjoyable).

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yay, another vote for Go West! Thanks for that. I think they did a good job with the song and so far, Linda seems to be running away with this one. I’m glad some folks are appreciating Go West. Thanks for stopping by Robin…

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  8. Hi, Hello, Howdy, MICHELE ~
    Good song, and both recordings were nice.

    I’m not nearly the LINDA RONSTADT fan that many folks are (and as a person, I like her even less), but I gotta admit she sang this song just the way it should be done. It was at least as good as the original, in my op. Go West was pleasant too, but LINDA gets the vote.

    ~ D-FensDogG
    ‘Loyal American Underground’

    Liked by 1 person

    • Would love to hear why you dislike Linda Ronstadt as a person…
      Glad you liked both covers so thanks for that. And as always, thanks for your vote and for stopping by. Always nice to get a visit from you… 🙂

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    • Yay Birgit! Glad to hear that you know all three versions! That’s quite an accomplishment. 🙂 Thanks for your vote. I have you down for Linda Ronstadt. Thanks for stopping by…

      Like

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