Smokey Robinson & the Miracles

This great song was released in 1970 and peaked at #1 on the Billboard 100, #1 in the Uk and #7 in Canada. It was written by Robinson, Stevie Wonder and Hank Robinson.

This would be their only #1 hit in the Billboard 100. They had 42 songs in the top 100 and 6 top ten hits. Smokey would soon leave the Miracles after this song.

From Songfacts. 

Stevie Wonder came up with the music for this song with a top Motown producer named Hank Cosby. They recorded an instrumental demo and asked Robinson to complete the song – it was common practice for Motown writers to work on each other’s songs at the time.

Robinson listened to the song for a few days and decided it sounded like a circus – he came up with the lyrics based on the clown. “I was trying to think of something that would be significant, that would touch people’s hearts, but still be dealing with the circus,” said Smokey. “So what is that? Pagliacci, of course. The clown who cries. And after he makes everyone else happy with the smile painted on his face, then he goes into his dressing room and cries because he’s sad. That was the key.”

Tears of a Clown

Now if there’s a smile on my face
It’s only there trying to fool the public
But when it comes down to fooling you
Now honey that’s quite a different subject
But don’t let my glad expression
Give you the wrong impression
Really I’m sad
(Sad, sad, sad, sad)
Oh I’m sadder than sad
(Sadder than sad)
You’re gone and I’m hurtin’ so bad
(Hurtin’ so bad)
Like a clown I pretend to be glad
(Sad, sad, sad, sad)

[Pre-Chorus]
Now there’s some sad things known to man
But ain’t too much sadder than

[Chorus]
The tears of a clown, when there’s no one around
Oh yeah baby

[Verse 2]
Now if I appear to be carefree
It’s only to camouflage my sadness
And honey to shield my pride I try
To cover this hurt with a show of gladness
But don’t let my show convince you
That I’ve been happy since you
Decided to go
(Decided to go)
Oh I need you so
(I need you so)
I’m hurt and I want you to know
(Want you to know)
But for others I put on a show
(It’s just a show)
Ooh yeah

[Pre-Chorus]
Now there’s some sad things known to man
But ain’t too much sadder than

[Chorus]
The tears of a clown
When there’s no one around
Oh yeah

Author: badfinger20

Guitar, Bass, song writer,

9 thoughts on “Smokey Robinson & the Miracles”

  1. The Beatles and Bob Dylan were big fans of Smokey- that’s a good enough endorsement for me. The first Motown group that I got into. Smokey not only a great singer but a great songwriter. it is hard to believe they only had one #1 hit.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. It is hard to go wrong with Smokey and The Miracles! Here is one as far as the charts go- The Tracks of My Tears- only reached #16. That is hard to believe.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. That is just wrong on so many levels. I’ve learned so much by doing this…songs I thought were huge…were not has big as I thought in some cases.

        Liked by 1 person

      3. and it goes to show- popularity has nothing to do with greatness!! I think in the case of The Tracks Of My Tears it has picked up momentum over the years- what 1960’s movie soundtrack doesn’t have that on it? Smokey- Bob Dylan’s favorite poet.

        Liked by 1 person

      4. That says all you need to know…when Dylan says that…and John Lennon talked about him til the end for him. What a influence he was…You are so right about popularity… Does Justin B ring a bell….

        Liked by 1 person

  2. I’m in the minority on this one. Though Smokey Robinson is one of my favorite singers, i.e., his lilting vibrato on everything, but especially Oooo Baby Baby, I’ve never cared for this song. I appreciate the sophisticated lyrics and the production, it just doesn’t strike a chord with me.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. What I like is where the music kicks in… that bass and keyboard after the circus part… the production is good… but I get it… I’ve known people where the circus part throws them off of it

      Liked by 1 person

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