guilty pleasure monday: the tears of a clown (smokey robinson and the miracles)

[cue old commercial i couldn’t find on youtube:]

but dad, it’s SMOKEY!

velvety smokey robinson has been around since the dinosaurs played records for the cavemen. seriously, the man has had the midas touch for a thousand years. to list all of his hits would take up this page and then some. and i love a bunch of them, though i’m not as keen on his stuff from the 1980s on; but it’s hard to dislike that voice: you see, when smokey sings, i hear violins.

but i like to wallow like the next girl, so tears of a clown holds a special place in my heart. stevie wonder wrote the instrumental track and gave it to smokey as a christmas present (can you imagine the exchange? merry christmas, man. here’s a hit song.) smokey apparently thought it all sounded circus-like and wrote about the tears of a clown. hell, i’d be willing to bet it is the only hit song to ever namecheck pagliacci. who knows — it could have made opera lovers out of motown fans for all i know.

can you imagine if this had been covered by someone from the stax roster? it would have been slower, sadder, grittier. i don’t know of any stax covers (though i absolutely adore the english beat’s version, peppy rasta ska that it is) but as it’s a motown song, it’s the happiest sad song there is!

and when someone’s broken up with you, i guess it’s better to wallow to something with a good beat. gets you on your feet again.

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2 Responses to “guilty pleasure monday: the tears of a clown (smokey robinson and the miracles)”

  1. Can’t watch it (I’m at work) but I know the song well, and I could look at Smokey’s green eyes all damn day.

    p.s. I prefer the English Beat version myself, but I didn’t know Stevie wrote the instrumental track, so I may have to revisit this song.

  2. this was my daughters’ favorite song for months. i think she still likes it.

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