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My Girl by The Temptations

Album: Greatest HitsReleased: 1965Charted:
  • This was written by Smokey Robinson and Ronald White, who were both members of The Miracles. Robinson wrote the lyrics - he was married at the time to his first wife, Claudette (they were wed from 1957-1986), but Smokey said that the song is not about a specific girl, but "written with all the women in the world in mind."
  • This song was written in the Apollo Theater when The Temptations were playing as part of a package tour with The Miracles. According to Robinson, he was working out the song on a piano at the theater when his bandmate Ronald White joined him and they hashed out the song. When The Temptations heard it, they convinced Robinson to let them record it instead of The Miracles. Robinson, who was Berry Gordy's right-hand man at Motown agreed, and rehearsed the song with The Tempts over the next week. When they returned to Detroit, Robinson and White produced the session on December 21, 1964 when they recorded this song.
  • The previous year, Robinson wrote "My Guy" for Motown singer Mary Wells. That song carried the same sentiment of unconditional love, but from a female perspective.
  • In a 2006 NPR interview, Robinson explained that he wrote this with David Ruffin's voice in mind. It was the first Temptations single to feature Ruffin on lead vocals (Eddie Kendricks and Paul Williams sang lead on previous Temptations singles), and it led to a greater role for Ruffin, as he became their primary lead singer. Robinson went on to write many more hits for The Temptations, who were considered the most talented vocal group at Motown.
  • Members of the Motown house band The Funk Brothers played on the track. The song has a very simple but effective arrangement, which was charted by Paul Riser. It opens with James Jamerson's bassline, then goes into the ascending guitar figure played by the song's writer/producer Ronald White. Finger snaps come in, then drums played by Benny Benjamin and strings provided by the Detroit Symphony Orchestra.

    The arrangement accentuates the vocals, making the words very easy to understand. This served as a template for future Temptations recordings and helped make them stars, as attention was always focused on stage on the singers.
  • This was the first of four US #1 hits for The Temptations. It was also the first #1 for a male vocal group on the Motown label.
  • This was used as the title and theme song of a 1991 movie starring Macaulay Culkin and Anna Chlumsky, and also its 1994 sequel, My Girl 2. The song also appeared in the movies The Big Chill (1983), Mannequin (1987), Born on the Fourth of July (1989), Sleeping with the Enemy (1991), Munich (2005) and Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story (2007).

    TV appearances of the song included episodes of The Wonder Years, Magnum, P.I. and Cold Case.
  • Some of the many artists who covered this song include Marvin Gaye, Otis Redding, Dolly Parton and The Mamas & The Papas.

    The Rolling Stones covered the song and released it on their Flowers compilation in June 1967. The Stones also recorded The Temptations' "Ain't Too Proud To Beg" and "Just My Imagination" in 1974 and 1978. >>
    Suggestion credit:
    Bertrand - Paris, France
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Comments: 41

My very fav Motown tune. Just loved loved loved that opening Bass and then lead guitar riff. You can hear the first three notes and know what song it is.Jennifur Sun - Ramona
{A footnote to the next post below}
On February 10th 1965, the Temptations performed "My Girl" on the ABC-TV program 'Shindig!'...
Twenty seven years later the song was re-issued in the United Kingdom; and on February 23rd, 1992 it peaked at #2 for two weeks on the United Kingdom's Singles chart, the two weeks it was at #2, the #1 record for both those weeks was "Stay" by Shakespear's Sister.
Barry - Sauquoit, Ny
On February 10th 1965, the Temptations performed "My Girl" on the ABC-TV program 'Shindig!'...
At the time the song was at #5 on Billboard's Hot Top 100 chart; and eighteen days later on February 28th, 1965 it peaked at #1 for week {See earlier post below}...
If I had to choose my favorite Temp record, impossible; for this one, "I Wish It Would Rain", and "Just My Imagination" are all just super and are among the three greatest Motown records every recorded.
Barry - Sauquoit, Ny
In the Sirius Radio interview of Sept 09 2014 Smokey Robinson said the distinctive guitar riff was written by lead guitarist Robert White during the recording session. He also added that the song was not written or inspired by his then wife Claudette.Tdot - Lakewood, Wa.
Aug 2014,

Bill in KC,

Not that your friend DIDN'T believe it but I think he's the one with the fixation on Drugs, not Smokey Robinson?

But if I knew your friend, I'd ask him to link Smokey Robinson and Ron White to (major) Drug Issues and references in songs?

Now Rick James had no problem making subtle drug references in songs or an entire song about Drugs, "Mary Jane" but I don't think Smokey and the Miracles "BLAZED" a trail for the SuperFreak as it pertains to drugs?
Markantney - Biloxe
On May 28th 1967, the Temptations performed a medley of "My Girl," "All I Need," and "(I Know) I'm Losing You" on the CBS-TV program 'The Ed Sullivan Show'...
At the time "All I Need" was at #10 on Billboard's Hot Top 100 chart...
Following 'Sullivan' was the 'Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour'; and on that program the Association made their national TV debut and performed their debut charted record, "All Comes Mary".
Barry - Sauquoit, Ny
This is my all time great have loved since I was a teen now in my 60s Its extra special as my daughter was born in May. This is my song for her.Linda - Doncaster, United Kingdom
On January 10th 1965, "My Girl" by the Temptations entered Billboard's Hot Top 100 chart; and on February 28th it peaked at #1 (for 1 week) and spent 13 weeks on the Top 100 (and 8 of those 13 weeks were on the Top 10)...
And on January 24th, 1965 it reached #1 (for 6 weeks) on Billboard's R&B Singles chart...
As stated above they had four #1s on Billboard' Top 100 chart; but on the R&B Singles chart they had fifteen #1s (plus they had four that reached #2)...
In 1980 Amii Stewart and Johnny Bristol combined "My Guy" and "My Girl" as a medley, and it peaked at #63 on the Top 100.
Barry - Sauquoit, Ny
Talking about my girl :)Daan - Santpoort-noord, Netherlands
Also used in Three Men & a Little Baby, and in The Big ChillAstrid - Guaynabo, Puerto Rico
In 1968 former teen idol Bobby Vee released a single that was a medley of "My Girl" and Mary
Wells' "My Guy", it peaked at #35!!!
Barry - Sauquoit, Ny
The Wallflowers were playing The Tradewinds in Sea Bright, NJ on March 8th, 1997 when Bruce Springsteen joined them on stage and 'My Girl' was one of the songs they sang...Barry - Sauquoit, Ny
I met Robert White after he moved to Los Angeles several years before his untimely death. He was the most unassuming, talented guitarist. I was teaching a class and he was one of my students.
I had no idea who He was until I had known him for over a year when in passing, he mentioned that He use to be in the music business. That's the kind of man He was.

We jammed on a number of occasions, he played my Martin and I got to play his ES 335, the guitar that you hear on this song.

He mentioned that they did upwards of forty takes on this song.....over and over again and again. After all that, at something like four in the morning, the one they finally used was the third one. A great guy; I still miss him.

Whenever I hear the opening bars of My Girl, I stop, smile and think about Robert.
David - Los Angeles, Ca
Another one of my favorite Tempations songs.Jennifer Harris - Grand Blanc, Mi
Agree with Randy about the movie "Standing in the Shadows of Motown" which is about the Funk Brothers. What a great band they were and they played on all the great Motown songs and behind all the great Motown artists in Detroit. Robert White played what is likely one of the greatest and most recognizable guitar hooks in all of rock music.Wayne - Maple Valley, Wa
Ruffin was the best lead singer, sorry eddie...Clubber Lange - Ocean Gate, Nj
This is my song for my daughter, who is 21.
I dedicated it the day she was born. Everytime I hear this I naturally think of her, and smile.
Thanks, Temptations, and thank God for music and what it can do.
Lisa - Milwaukee, Wi, Wi
This is the first song that my daughter danced to...and she doesn't even know it. When my wife was pregnant with her, we went to see the Temptations in concert at the FANTASTIC Orpheum Theatre in Omaha, NE. As the first strains ot this song came up, my wife felt her kick. She continued to kick all the way through the song.
And, little does she know it, but in two months, at our daughter's wedding reception, I am having the DJ (a personal friend from when I went to college in the late 70s) play this song for our "father-daughter" dance.
Mike - Hastings, Ne
This song makes me smile every time i hear it! Even though its an older song it still fits in everyday like of younger kids. I i want to thank you for making a great song like this. Now me and dad have a song. Its just so great... I love you.....THE TEMPTATIONS!!!!Becca Guerrero - Muskegon, Afghanistan
This song was played at my friends funeral. Every I hear the song it reminds me of her and makes me cryKristin - Santa Maria, Ca
Classic timeless song!Ruffins lead is amazing!Kenneth - Cleveland, Oh
hey i really like this song every time i listen to it, it makes me want to cry because dont really know my dad that much and when it says my girl thats what is sadShannon - Channahon, Il
The very first chords of this song just sets me into this feeling where i just close my eyes and here David's voice and just am blown away like Ive never heard it before. The song when you are alone and you just really listen to the lyrics and the range of the voices can really set off so much emotion. And yes it's such a famed song and you've heard it a thousand times like I have and in movies and such but when you really take it in, you will discover a whole new appreciation for it and the temptations as well.Laura - Hacienda Heights, Ca
Someone find the Affiliated Federation of Musicians credits in the Musicians Union's records (or at least go to a certain Record Company's files) for the Musicians who REALLY played on this and other Motown recordings.

Because of the Lack of Credits and despite the Trusty Brand Name, a lot of MOTOWN recordings were NOT recorded here in Detroit. A lot of Out-Sourcing took place in Los Angeles BEFORE the company moved there entirely!
Dave - Oak Park, Mi
When my daughter and I sing this song we replace my girl with daddy's girl. Thanks Smokey.Eddie - Natchez, Ms
I love this song! This is my dad's song for me. i think it is so sweetCaitlin - Upper Township, Nj
um, i believe that this was the first single by the temps with ruffin singing lead as opposed to kendricks, but i'd like to know if i'm wrong.Marcus - Maitland, Fl
It's an ok song but it gets SO much airplay even 40 years after its release that it gets tiring. One popular FM station in LA plays it so much that I refer to that station as K-MyGirl.Bobodobo - Los Angeles, Ca
The heartbeat sound at the beginning of the song is Funk Brothers bass player James Jamerson playing dead strings on his bass. Very hard to duplicate.
Larry, TN
Larry Harris - Kingsport, Tn
I've never heard that, Bill, and I'm pretty sure that drug references were incredibly uncommon in Motown music.Fred - New York, Ny
I knew this song from a Korean movie which named My sassy girl. Nice movie,nice song!!!Greatwall - Nanjing, China
This song was also featured in several other movies, including 'Soul Food'Nikki - Remington, Va
interesting aside....notice how the beginning riff sounds like a heart beating....love in bloom
indeed......i got sunshine.......sweet young first love...the memories....if we only knew at the time it was the best time of our lives!
Scott - Chicago, Il
My teacher used to play this song in our classroom and the girls all sang along. Man that got annoying!Mgjghh - Hghfghfg, Mt
this is probably my favorite classic oldie song. it's so cute.Izzie - Lala, Hi
I agree with Gonny of FakeTown. Lousy rendition on American Dreams!Jim Morrison - Tinley Park, Il
I worked at a Dallas radio station in the early
70's .One of the disc jockeys was an expert on
soul/urban music and claimed thatr "My Girl"
was one of the first big hits about drugs. He claimed that "girl" and "boy" were street terms
for heroin and cocaine.He also pointed out that if
you listen to the lyrics, the "Temps" never refer
to holding hands or kissing as you would with a
usual romantic song, just a feeling, and at least that part of it's true. Anybody heard this--Graybeard
Bill - Kansas City, Ks
Written by Smokey Robinson as an answer record to Mary Wells' "My Guy", of which featured both the Temptations and Supremes for background vocals. And, the Temptations and Supremes did a melody of "My Girl"/"My Guy."Brandon - Seattle, Wa
American Idol ruined this song for me.Gonny - Faketown, Ga
It was recorded by Jackson Five and also by The Rolling Stones. In my country Argentina, the Rolling Stone's versiƃ?n was used at the end of a great TV serie calle "Okupas".Lupanar - Rosario, Argentina
WONDERFUL Movie about the Motown house band (the Funk Brothers). Came out in 2003 and called "Standing in the Shadow of Motown". Also think the movie "The Temptations" is VERY good tooRandy - Beaumont, Tx
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