Smokey Robinson and the Miracles stayed right on track, pun intended, after the 1965 success of one of their most indelible and timeless songs. With “The Tracks of My Tears” still in the R&B Top Ten that fall, the Motown favorites entered the same Billboard chart on October 16 with “My Girl Has Gone.”
Deliberately similar to “Tracks” in tempo and feel, the new Tamla release was credited to Smokey Robinson, Pete Moore, Ronnie White and regular guitarist Marv Tarplin; all but White had collaborated on the its masterful predecessor. Bandmate Bobby Rogers was on the new single too, as was Smokey’s then-wife Claudette, still a group member although she had recently been “retired,” to her disappointment, from the touring line-up. Robinson, of course, was on production duty as usual, with superb accompaniment by the Funk Brothers. Tarplin added distinctive guitar, just as he had on “Tracks of My Tears.”
“My Girl Has Gone” sometimes falls in the shadow of both “Tracks of My Tears” and the similarly towering ballad that came before it, “Ooo Baby Baby”, but it maintained their sky-high standards as purveyors of soul music at its most elegant. Debuting at No.38 R&B, it climbed to No.3 – already their eighth Top 10 hit on that survey – and went to No.14 on the pop side.
Like “Tracks,” “Ooo Baby Baby,” and their next hit, “Going To A Go-Go,” it was included on the LP that shared the name of the latter song. That long player came out a few weeks later, in November 1965. No doubt all of those selections were part of a residency by the Miracles and Motown labelmates the Marvelettes (including Wanda Rogers, Bobby’s wife) and the Contours at Chicago’s Regal Theater, from October 8-14. Four years on, in 1969, “My Girl Has Gone” would be covered as a single by another Motown artist, Bobby Taylor.