500 Greatest Songs of All Time

50

Smokey Robinson and the Miracles, 'The Tracks of My Tears'

Writers: Pete Moore, Robinson, Marv Tamplin
Producer: Robinson
Released: June '65, Tamla
12 weeks; No. 16 

Legend had it that audiences would actually break into tears when Robinson and the Miracles sang "The Tracks of My Tears." "It tapped into their emotions," said Moore of the Miracles. Pete Townshend was obsessed with the way Robinson put across the word "substitute" ("Although she may be cute/She's just a substitute"). So obsessed, he said, "that I decided to celebrate the word with a song all its own" — which is how he came to write the Who's 1966 hit "Substitute." When Robinson cut "Tears," it was such a clear winner that even hard-to-please Motown founder Berry Gordy proclaimed it a masterpiece.

Appears on: Going to a Go-Go (Motown)

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