*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.
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.
Marv was preceded in death by his wife, Sylvia, (who died in 2004) They have a daughter named Talese.
More information will be delivered as it comes in.
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