By 1967, the Miracles were already approaching the end of their first decade in show business, and what a mark they’d made, in the world of soul music and far beyond. 47 years ago, on September 30, 1967, they returned to the Billboard album chart with another classy offering, ‘Make It Happen.’
It’s a record well known to fans of Smokey Robinson and the Miracles for its vintage hit singles ‘The Love I Saw In You Was Just A Mirage’ and ‘More Love.’ But the album has a historic place in the group’s history for another reason: it contained a song written by Robinson, Henry Cosby and Stevie Wonder that languished as a mere album track for three years, until it was discovered in the UK and raced to No. 1 there. That song was ‘Tears Of A Clown.’
That was one of three songs on ‘Make It Happen’ co-written by Wonder, who also had co-composer credits on ‘My Love Is Yours (Forever)’ and ‘After You Put Back The Pieces (I’ll Still Have A Broken Heart).’ Those are just some of the gems on a terrific album of deep cuts, also including the Clarence Paul and Morris Broadnax ballad ‘My Love For You,’ Smokey’s own ‘Don’t Think It’s Me’ and the club-friendly, toe-tapping ‘The Soulful Shack’ and ‘Dancing’s Alright.’
Smokey and the group also offer their fine interpretation of the Little Anthony and the Imperials favourite ‘I’m On The Outside (Looking In).’ The Andantes add backing vocals to ‘It’s A Good Feeling’ and the whole disc is expertly produced by Robinson, Brian Holland, Lamont Dozier and Hank Cosby.
The album entered the US chart at No. 196 that week in 1967, climbing to No. 28 in a 23-week run. Once ‘Tears Of A Clown’ broke big, Motown didn’t miss a moment in repromoting it under the name of that smash hit. Here is it as part of the double pack reissue with the LP that followed it in ’68, ‘Special Occasion.’