#594: The Love I Saw In You Was Just A Mirage by Smokey Robinson And The Miracles

Peak Month: March 1967
8 weeks on CKLG’s Vancouver Charts
Peak Position ~ #3
Peak Position on Billboard Hot 100 ~ #20
YouTube.com: “The Love I Saw In You Was Just A Mirage
“The Love I Saw In You Was Just A Mirage” lyrics

William “Smokey” Robinson Jr. was born in Detroit in 1940. An uncle gave him the nickname “Smokey Joe” when he was a child. From the age of five he became acquainted with Aretha Franklin, who lived a few doors from his home in the Belmont neighborhood. In 1955 he formed a doo-wop group named the Five Chimes and renamed them the Matadors in 1957. Later that year they changed their name again to the Miracles. The other members of the Miracles were Robert Edward “Bobby” Rogers, who was born in 1940 in Detroit in the same hospital as Robinson. Bobby Rogers joined the Five Chimes in 1956. Born in 1942, Claudette Annette Rogers was from New Orleans and joined the Miracles in 1957. Ronald Anthony “Ronnie” White co-founded the Five Chimes with Smokey Robinson. Warren Thomas “Pete” Moore was born in Detroit in 1938 and was an original member of the Five Chimes.  Moore and Robinson met at a musical event in public school in Detroit. Marv Tarplin was born in Atlanta in 1941. He became the Miracles guitarist in 1959 after the group had a dismal reception at the Apollo Theatre in Harlem in 1959. With a guitarist backing the five singers, they were headed for stardom.

The Miracles first single release was on the End label titled “Got A Job” about a guy who gets a job at a grocery store. This was an answer song to the #1 hits by The Silhouettes in February 1958 titled “Get A Job”. The song was co-written by Berry Gordy Jr., Smokey Robinson and Tyran Carlo. It climbed to #10 in Oakland, California, on KWBR “The Rhythm & Blues Capital of the West.” The Miracles released another single with End Records before signing with Chess Records where they released three more singles before signing with a new local Detroit company in 1959.

Berry Gordy met Smokey Robinson and it was Robinson who suggested that Berry found a record label which Gordy named Tamla on January 12, 1959. The first hit for the new record company was “Money (That’s What I Want)” by Barrett Strong. The song went to #2 on the Billboard R&B charts in 1960. Meanwhile, The Miracles charted their first single on the Billboard Hot 100 named “Bad Girl”. The song stalled at #93. But it climbed into the Top Ten in Pittsburg (PA) and San Bernardino (CA). The next hit for what Berry Gordy incorporated as Motown (taken from Motor and Town in homage to Detroit’s main industry), was “Shop Around” by The Miracles. The single climbed to #1 on the Cashbox Record chart and the Billboard R&B chart. It stalled at #2 on the Billboard Hot 100 behind Lawrence Welk’s “Calcutta”. In Vancouver “Shop Around” was kept out of the #1 spot in February 1961 by Buzz Clifford’s “Baby Sittin’ Boogie”. The song became Motown’s first million selling record.

In 1961-62 The Miracles struggled to get another hit record. They released two albums and five singles, but nothing seemed to click with record buyers. But that changed with the release of “You Really Got A Hold On Me” in the winter of 1962-63. The single became The Miracles second #1 hit on the Billboard R&B chart and climbed to #8 on the Billboard Hot 100. The song would later receive the Grammy Hall of Fame Award in 1998. In the summer of 1963, The Miracles released “Mickey’s Monkey” which climbed to #3 on the R&B charts and #8 on the Billboard Hot 100. The song climbed to #2 on C-FUN on November 2, 1963. Their next six single releases in 1964 were eclipsed by other Motown recording acts and the British Invasion.

In 1965 The Miracles were back in the Top Ten on the R&B charts and the Top 20 on the Billboard Hot 100. Of the next eight released starting with “Ooo Baby Baby”, six of these reached the Top 20 on the Billboard Hot 100 and six of these made the Top Ten on the R&B chart. The string of hits included “Tracks Of My Tears” (#16 Hot 100/#2 R&B), “My Girl Has Gone” (#14 Hot 100/#3 R&B), “Going To A Go-Go” (#11 Hot 100/#2 R&B) and “(Come ‘Round Here) I’m The One You Need” (#17 Hot 100/#4 R&B). In Vancouver “Ooo Baby Baby” climbed to #8 on CKLG; “Tracks Of My Tears” climbed to #10 on CKLG; “Going To A Go-Go” peaked at #5 on CKLG and “(Come ‘Round Here) I’m The One You Need” climbed to #4 on CKLG. Though not in every case, in the mid-sixties The Miracles often enjoyed higher chart runs in Vancouver than on the national charts in the USA.

The last of these eight single released starting with “Ooo Baby Baby” was “”The Love I Saw In You Was Just A Mirage”. It was also the first single to bill the group as Smokey Robinson And The Miracles.

The Love I Saw In You Was Just A Mirage by Smokey Robinson And The Miracles

Marv Tarplin and Smokey Robinson co-wrote “The Love I Saw In You Was Just A Mirage”. The song is about dating someone who leads someone else on romantically. They get a thrill out of acting infatuated. However, it turns out the whole purpose of there dating relationship was to sabotage the other persons sense of wellbeing. The singer reflects on the romance “you lured me into something I should have dodged.” When they went to romantic places the temptress offered kisses they only pretended to feel. The trap was set for the guy in the song with “untrue kisses” and a “false embrace.”
Being blindsided by the outcome, the singer likens the experience to a mirage. He thought there was a green oasis where there was only sand.

“The Love I Saw In You Was Just A Mirage” later appeared in the 1980 crime drama starring Richard Gere film American Gigolo. In the scene where the song is featured, Richard Gere plays the role of Julian Jaye, a male escort in Los Angeles. Kaye is choosing what to wear and as the song plays in his bedroom on the radio, Kaye (Gere) sings along with the song.

Smokey Robinson And The Miracles followed up with “More Love”, which climbed to #5 on the Billboard R&B. Their biggest hit in 1967 was “I Second That Emotion” which became their third #1 hit on the Billboard R&B charts, and was their second highest chart position to date after “Shop Around” on the Billboard Hot 100 at #4, and #6 on CKLG in Vancouver in December 1967. Over the next few years Smokey Robinson And The Miracles struggled to repeat their successes from the 1965-67 chart run. In Vancouver, “Baby Baby Don’t Cry” stalled at #22 in February 1969. They had a final #1 hit in 1970 titled “Tears Of A Clown” on CKVN in Vancouver, as well as on the Billboard pop and R&B charts in the USA.

In addition to the hits they wrote for themselves, members of the Miracles also wrote hit songs for other Motown recording acts. Smokey Robinson and Pete Moore co-wrote “It’s Growing” and “Since I Lost My Baby” for The Temptations and “Ain’t That Peculiar” and “I’ll Be Doggone” for Marvin Gaye. Smokey Robinson and Bobby Rogers co-wrote “The Way You Do The Things You Do” for The Temptations. Warren Moore co-wrote “Since I Lost My Baby” with Smokey Robinson. He later wrote The Miracles final hit from 1976 titled “Love Machine”. Robinson and Ronale White co-wrote “My Girl” as a tribute to Claudette Rogers Robinson, who married Smokey in 1959. They divorced in 1986.

Smokey Robinson went solo in 1972. In 1975 he had a #1 R&B hit titled “Baby That’s Backatcha”. He had a #1 hit in 1979 titled “Cruisin'”. And in 1981 he had a #1 hit called “Being With You”. The Miracles continued to perform with Billy Griffin as lead singer until they split in 1978. They reformed in 1980 until 1983, when they disbanded for another ten years. But in 1993 they began to do reunion tours with Sydney Justin as lead singer along with Ronnie White, Bobby Rogers and Claudette Robinson. In 1995 Ronnie White lost a battle with leukemia.

Marv Tarplin remained as guitarist with The Miracles until 2008. The current lineup of The Miracles consists of Sydney Justin, Kerry Justin,Cordell Conway, and Eric Swindell. Smokey Robinson continues to tour in 2019 with eleven concert dates between January and June.

January 30, 2019
Ray McGinnis

References:
Smokey Robinson biography, Smokey Robinson.com.
CKLG Boss 30, CKLG 730 AM Vancouver, BC, March 31, 1967.
The Love I Saw In You Was Just A Mirage” American Gigolo excerpt, 1980.
Lyrics to “Got A Job” by The Miracles, 1958.
About the Miracles, The Miracles Music.com.

For more song reviews visit the Countdown.

Sign Up For Our Newsletter