Song of the Day Jan 5
January 5, 2024
This month I’m focusing on some great hits from the 60s.
Today our song is: My Girl by The Temptations
Wikipedia tells us this about the song:
The recorded version of "My Girl" was the first Temptations single to feature David Ruffin on lead vocals. Previously, Eddie Kendricks and Paul Williams had performed most of the group's lead vocals, and Ruffin had joined the group as a replacement for former Temptation Elbridge Bryant. While on tour as part of the Motortown Revue, a collective tour for most of the Motown roster, Smokey Robinson caught the Temptations' part of the show. For their set, the group had included a medley of soul standards, one of which, the Drifters' "Under the Boardwalk", was a solo spot for Ruffin. Impressed, Robinson decided to produce a single with Ruffin singing lead. Robinson saw Ruffin as a "sleeping giant" in the group with a unique voice that was "mellow" yet "gruff". Robinson thought that if he could write just the perfect song for Ruffin's voice, then he could have a smash hit. The composition was to be something that Ruffin could "belt out" yet something that was also "melodic and sweet".
After some persuasion from Ruffin's bandmates, Robinson had the Temptations record "My Girl" instead of the Miracles, who were originally going to record the song, and recruited Ruffin to sing the lead vocals. According to Robinson, he allowed the group to create their own background vocals "because they were so great at background vocals". Consequently, the Temptations came up with boosts like "hey hey hey" and a series of "my girls" that echo David's vocal." The opening bass notes are recognized around the world. As Smokey Robinson says, "I can be in a foreign country where people don't speak English and the audience will start cheering before I even start singing "My Girl." They know what's coming as soon as they hear the opening bass line. [He sings the famous line created by bassist James Jamerson:] 'Bah bum-bum, bah bum-bum, bah bum-bum.'" The signature guitar riff heard during the introduction and under the verses was played by Robert White of the Funk Brothers. This part can be heard without vocals on the 2004 deluxe edition of the soundtrack from the 2002 documentary Standing in the Shadows of Motown.
The Temptations also recorded German- and Italian-language versions of the song, "Mein Girl" and "Solamente Lei", released in 1965 and 1966 respectively. Both versions were later included on two various Motown artists compilation albums, the one-CD Motown Around the World (1987) and the two-CD Motown Around the World: The Classic Singles (2010), as well as on the Temptations' compilation album 50th Anniversary – The Singles Collection (1961–1971) (2011).
The song was re-released in 1992, following the November 1991 release of the film of the same name, which featured the song. It did not reach the Billboard charts, but did reach number 2 in the UK Singles Chart.
"My Girl" was later sampled for "Stay", a single from the Temptations' 1998 album Phoenix Rising, which reached #28 on the US R&B Charts.