Former Miracle Marv Tarplin Dead at 70

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Oct 1, 2011, 1:27:11 AM10/1/11
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EUR just received word from Billy Wilson of the Motown Alumni
Association
that musician/songwriter Marv Tarplin passed away today (09-30-11).
Wilson
didn't include the details of renown guitarist's death, but he did
include a
fitting tribute:


Marvin "Marv" Tarplin (born 13 June 1941, in Atlanta, Georgia) today
at
the age of 70. You can't express how much this one man meant to those
of us
dreaming to make it in the music business. His quiet mystique and
unconcerned demeanor would make you believe he was just an ordinary
guy. But
his creative back beat rhythms on guitar allowed the powers that be to
find
the creative juices to formulate what would become major classic hits
for
Motown.


Referred to as The Miracles' "secret weapon," Tarplin began his
career
accompanying a teenage Detroit, Michigan girl group known as The
Primettes
(later The Supremes). The Primettes sought an audition with Motown
Records,
and Tarplin played guitar as they performed for Miracles lead singer
Smokey
Robinson. Robinson was impressed by Tarplin's guitar playing, and
asked the
primettes if they could borrow him for some shows. Gradually luring
him away
from the Primettes to join The Miracles. Tarplin joined The Miracles
in
1958.


Tarplin's playing technique along with Smokey Robinson's lyrical
flair
became the inspiration for most of the Miracles hit songs.


While Tarplin remained with the Miracles for as long as Robinson was
their
lead singer, he is only present on the cover of three classic
Miracles
albums: Cookin' with The Miracles (1962), I'll Try Something New
(1962), and
The Fabulous Miracles (1963). He is mentioned, though not pictured, on
the
back cover of the group's very first album, Hi. We're The Miracles
(1961),
and listed as an original group member. As a songwriter, Tarplin
helped
co-compose many of the Miracles' hit singles, amongst them the
million-selling Grammy Hall of Fame winner "The Tracks of My Tears for
which
he received the ASCAP Award Of Merit (1965), "My Girl Has Gone (1965),
"I
Like It Like That, (1964), "Going to a Go-Go (1965), "The Love I Saw
in You
Was Just a Mirage (1967), and Point It Out (1968).


In addition, Tarplin co-wrote several Robinson produced hits by
Marvin
Gaye, including the Top 10 million selling hits, "Ain't That Peculiar
and
"I'll
Be Doggone. His guitar work is featured prominently on Gaye's Top 40
hit,
"One More Heartache, which he also co-wrote, and another of Gaye's
chart
hits, 1965's "Take This Heart of Mine. He also played on The Four Tops
1970
Top 20 hit, Still Water (Love),co-written by fellow Miracle Smokey
Robinson.
He also appeared with the group on The Ed Sullivan Show, the 1964
motion
picture The T.A.M.I. Show, THE 1965 CBS television special, Murray The
K -
It's What's Happening, Baby, and virtually all of the group's
personal
appearance concerts worldwide, including the legendary Motortown Revue
shows
in the early 1960s.[citation needed]


Tarplin left the Miracles in 1973, shortly after Smokey Robinson and
his
wife Claudette left the group. His replacement in The Miracles was
Donald
Griffin, brother of Billy Griffin, Robinson's replacement in the
group.


Robinson and Tarplin continued to collaborate as writers on
Robinson's
solo recordings, including the Top 10 hits "Cruisin' (1978) and "Being
with
You (1981). Tarplin also continued to play guitar on record and in
concert
for Robinson, and, until 2008, continued to tour with Robinson. In
2007,
Milwaukee, Wisconsin musician, Paul Cebar, paid homage to Tarplin with
his
song "Marv's Fluttering Guitar (For Marv Tarplin)" from the album
Tomorrow
Sound Now For Yes Music People.


Tarplin's phenomenal skills as a guitarist and songwriter were
demonstrated on many hits of The Miracles, as well as many studio
recordings
and concert appearances. He served in The Miracles for well over a
decade
until joining Smokey Robinson after Smokey departed from The Miracles
to
pursue a solo career. Tarplin is also pictured on the cover of the
2009
Motown CD release, The Miracles-Depend On Me:The Early Albums
(2009) .His
guitar riffs at the intro of The Miracles' million-seller "The Tracks
of My
Tears" are among the most famous in Pop music history.


Tarplin retired from touring in 2008.


Ray Arthur


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