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Marv Tarplin RIP

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Marv Tarplin RIP magazine cover

Guitarist Marvin has passed away R.I.P.




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From The Detroit News:



Susan Whitall/ Detroit News Music Writer

Motown's Marv Tarplin, who as a guitarist and songwriter was a vital part of Smokey Robinson & The Miracles' sound, has died.

The Atlanta, Ga. native was 70 and living in Las Vegas at the time of his death. Details of when and how are still sketchy, but Jeanne Sorensen, who books engagements for the Miracles today out of Metro Detroit, said that Tarplin's daughter Talese Tarplin confirmed that her father died in Las Vegas. Marv Tarplin left Michigan, and the Miracles, in 1973.

Billy Wilson of the Motown Alumni Association sent out an email alert late Friday afternoon that Tarplin had died, lauding him as the Miracles' "secret weapon."







Referred to as The Miracles' "secret weapon",[1] ,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 lured him away from the Primettes to join The Miracles. Tarplin joined The Miracles in 1958. In the 2006 Motown DVD release, Smokey Robinson & the Miracles: The Definitive Performances 1963-1987, Robinson and fellow Miracles Pete Moore and Bobby Rogers commented that Tarplin's unique guitar- playing style was reminiscent of the late Curtis Mayfield,and was actually the inspiration behind many of their greatest hits.

Whilst 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.[citation needed]He died 29th sept 2011


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.[citation needed]

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


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Very sad news- also co-wrote many classic tracks- "Ain't That Peculiar", "Going To A Go Go",

"Tracks of My Tears" off the top of my head. I'm sure there are many more.

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One of the most gifted, underrated and immdiately identifiable guitarists in the history of black American music. What a sad bit of news to start the weekend with...

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sad as it is, this scenario is becoming all too frequent, marv's profound contribution to the success of motown is well documented. i am sure that all concerned with the company will be deeply affected by his passing and we as lovers of the music he was part of, can only offer up our deepest sympathies to his immediate family...he will be remembered

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