Smokey Robinson & the Miracles

The Tracks of My Tears

Song Review by

Smokey Robinson wrote more than his fair share of classic songs, but "Tracks of My Tears" holds a special place among his hits. Although the song didn't crack the pop Top 15 upon its release as a single in the summer of 1965, as the years passed, it revealed itself as perhaps his definitive ballad, rivaling even "You've Really Got a Hold on Me." Why is that? It's a matter of grace or poetry. Bob Dylan once called Robinson America's greatest living poet, and while he may have said this with his tongue firmly in cheek, he wasn't far from wrong. This song is proof positive that Robinson found poetry not only in lyrics, but also in the music itself. Writing with Warren Moore, Robinson created a song that is so natural, it seems to have always been there. Look closer, and the song seems trickier -- the words are shaded with telling detail and clever rhymes ("Although she may look cute/She's just a substitute") and the music positively aches with longing. Backed by the Miracles, Robinson delivered the definitive reading of the song with the original hit single. While that remains the version that is foremost in popular consciousness, it's been delivered convincingly by artists as diverse as Johnny Rivers, Paul Young, the Jackson 5, Linda Ronstadt, and Bryan Ferry. The covers may not live up to the original, but they're never really bad, since it's hard to completely botch a song as wonderful as this.

Appears On

Year Artist/Album Label Time AllMusic Rating
Going to a Go-Go 1965 Motown / Universal 0:00
Greatest Hits, Vol. 2 1968 Motown 2:54
Motown Chartbusters, Vol. 3 1971
Various Artists
Motown 2:50
Motown Story 1971
Various Artists
Motown 0:00
Anthology [1973] 1973 Motown 2:54
21 Legendary Superstars Oldies but Goodies 1983
Various Artists
Original Sound Entertainment 2:54
Great Songs and Performances 1983 Motown 2:54
The Big Chill [Original Soundtrack] 1983
Original Soundtrack
Motown 2:53
No Image 1984
Various Artists
Motown
21 Rock N Roll Hits at the Movies 1986
Various Artists
Original Sound Entertainment 2:54
The Sounds of Murphy Brown 1990
Original TV Soundtrack
MCA 2:54
The 35th Anniversary Collection 1994 Motown 3:02
Music from the Wonder Years, Vol. 5 1994
Various Artists
Laserlight / Delta Distribution 3:04
Heart & Soul, Vol. 3: Heart Full of Soul 1994
Various Artists
Pro 2:52
Music from The Wonder Years 1994
Various Artists
Laserlight
The Ballad Album 1995 Esx Entertainment, Inc. / Motown 2:55
The Best of Smokey Robinson & the Miracles 1995 Motown 3:01
The Ultimate Collection [1998] 1998 Motown 3:00
Movies Greatest Love Songs 1998
Various Artists
Crimson Productions
The Oliver Stone Connection 1998
Various Artists
Hip-O 2:51
Movie Lovers, Vol. 2 1999
Various Artists
Records 2:55
20th Century Masters - The Millennium Collection: The Best of Smokey Robinson & The Mir 1999 Motown 2:57
Broken Hearted Soul Essentials, Vol. 1 1999
Various Artists
Polygram 3:05
Motown Chartbusters, Vol. 1 - 6 1999
Various Artists
Spectrum Music / Motown 2:50
Early Classics 1999 Karussell 2:56
Going to a Go-Go/Tears of a Clown 199? Motown 2:55
Tracks of My Tears 2000 Spectrum Music / Universal / Spectrum 2:52
Number One Motown 2000
Various Artists
Polygram 2:55
Back to Black: 1900-1999 2001
Various Artists
Universal International 2:50
Going to a Go-Go/Away We a Go-Go 2001 Motown 2:58
Winning Combinations: The Temptations & Smokey Robinson and the Miracles 2001 Universal Special Products 2:57
Motown Chartbusters, Vols. 1-3 2001
Various Artists
Spectrum Music 2:50
Motown Gold 2001
Various Artists
Universal Distribution 3:01
Ooo Baby Baby: The Anthology 2002 Chronicles / Motown 2:57
Classic Soul: Universal Masters 2003
Various Artists
Universal Distribution 2:57
Sixties [UK Box Set] 2003
Various Artists
Spectrum Music 2:50
60's Soul Sessions 2004
Various Artists
Union Square Music 3:02
Motown Classics: Gold 2005
Various Artists
Motown 2:57
My World: The Definitive Collection 2005 Motown 2:55
Dancing in the Streets: Motowns Greatest Hits 2005
Various Artists
Universal Music TV 3:02
The Motown Box 2005
Various Artists
Shout! Factory 3:59
Motown Story [2006] 2006
Various Artists
Motown 2:53
Legends 2006 Universal International 3:02
Chronicles: Music Inspired by the Big Chill [Box Set] 2006
Various Artists
Hip-O 2:57
Gold 2006 Motown 2:57
80s Movie Hits 2006
Various Artists
Universal Music TV 2:44
50th Anniversary Collection 2006 Universal Distribution / UMVD 2:55
Motown Classics 2006
Various Artists
Drew's Famous 0:00
Bobby [Universal] 2006
Original Soundtrack
Island / Island Def Jam Music Group 3:01
Broken-Hearted Love Songs 2008
Various Artists
Chron Reissues / Universal 2:54
Black Music History Hits 2008
Various Artists
Chron Reissues 2:54
Gold: International Version 2008 Universal 2:56
Motown 50 Fanthology 2008
Various Artists
Universal 0:00
Tour of Duty: Top 100 2008
Various Artists
Universal Distribution 3:02
Classic 2009 Motown / Universal 3:02
Icons: Smokey Robinson & the Miracles 2009 Universal / Universal Distribution / Universal Music 2:55
Greatest Ever! Chartbusters 2012
Various Artists
Greatest Ever 2:54
Motown the Musical: 100 Originals 2013
Various Artists
Cobalt Helladisc / Universal Music 2:57
100 Essential 60's
Various Artists
Universal 2:51
100 Essential Love Songs
Various Artists
Universal Music 2:59
60's [Universal]
Various Artists
Universal 2:49
Easy Listening Classics: Time Life's Movie Classics
Various Artists
Time / Life Music 2:52
Heartbreak Hits
Various Artists
Universal 2:56
Icon: Motown Classics, Vol. 2
Various Artists
Motown 3:01
Motown 50 [Universal Mexico 2]
Various Artists
Universal Music 2:51
Motown Greatest Hits [2019]
Various Artists
Universal
No Image
Various Artists
PolyGram
The Stripped Mixes Motown / Strategic Marketing 3:57