You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

R&B songwriter-guitarist Marv Tarplin dies

Co-wrote hits for Smokey Robinson, Marvin Gaye

Songwriter-guitarist Marv Tarplin, who contributed to major hits by the Miracles, Smokey Robinson and Marvin Gaye, died Sept. 30 of unknown causes in Las Vegas. He was 70.

Born in Atlanta, Tarplin came to Motown Records as the accompanist for the Primettes, the Detroit girl group that became the Supremes. Tarplin’s playing impressed singer-producer-songwriter Robinson, who drafted Tarplin as a full-time member of his vocal unit the Miracles in the late ’50s.

Besides contributing his distinctive guitar work to the Miracles’ singles and albums, Tarplin co-wrote several hits for the group with Robinson, including “The Tracks of My Tears” (No. 2 R&B/No. 16 pop, 1965), “My Girl Has Gone” (No. 3 R&B/No 14 pop, 1965), “Going to a Go-Go” (No. 2 R&B/No. 11 pop, 1966) and “The Love I Saw in You Was Just a Mirage” (No. 10 R&B/No. 20 pop, 1967).

Additionally, he collaborated on the writing of Gaye’s “I’ll Be Doggone” (No. 1 R&B/No. 8 pop, 1965), “One More Heartache” (No. 4 R&B/No. 29 pop, 1966) and “Ain’t That Peculiar” (No. 1 R&B/No. 8 pop, 1965)

Tarplin stayed on with the Miracles until Robinson’s exit in 1972. He co-wrote Robinson’s solo hits “Cruisin’,” which reached No. 4 on the pop and R&B charts in 1979, and “Being With You,” a No. 1 R&B and No. 2 pop entry in 1981.

After years backing Robinson on tour, Tarplin retired to Las Vegas in 2008.

He is survived by three daughters.

More Scene

  • 'Patrick Melrose' TV show premiere

    Benedict Cumberbatch Calls 'Patrick Melrose' His 'Passion Project'

    Songwriter-guitarist Marv Tarplin, who contributed to major hits by the Miracles, Smokey Robinson and Marvin Gaye, died Sept. 30 of unknown causes in Las Vegas. He was 70. Born in Atlanta, Tarplin came to Motown Records as the accompanist for the Primettes, the Detroit girl group that became the Supremes. Tarplin’s playing impressed singer-producer-songwriter Robinson, […]

  • 'Cobra Kai' premiere

    ‘Cobra Kai’: Why Ralph Macchio Revisited 'Karate Kid' Character After 30 Years

    Songwriter-guitarist Marv Tarplin, who contributed to major hits by the Miracles, Smokey Robinson and Marvin Gaye, died Sept. 30 of unknown causes in Las Vegas. He was 70. Born in Atlanta, Tarplin came to Motown Records as the accompanist for the Primettes, the Detroit girl group that became the Supremes. Tarplin’s playing impressed singer-producer-songwriter Robinson, […]

  • Jennifer LopezTime 100 Gala - Red

    Time 100 Gala: J. Lo 'Feels Naked,' Shawn Mendes Performs, Kesha Hugs Parkland Survivors

    Songwriter-guitarist Marv Tarplin, who contributed to major hits by the Miracles, Smokey Robinson and Marvin Gaye, died Sept. 30 of unknown causes in Las Vegas. He was 70. Born in Atlanta, Tarplin came to Motown Records as the accompanist for the Primettes, the Detroit girl group that became the Supremes. Tarplin’s playing impressed singer-producer-songwriter Robinson, […]

  • Robert Downey Jr'Avengers: Infinity War' film

    'Avengers: Infinity War' Premiere Draws Largest Contingent of Marvel Superheroes

    Songwriter-guitarist Marv Tarplin, who contributed to major hits by the Miracles, Smokey Robinson and Marvin Gaye, died Sept. 30 of unknown causes in Las Vegas. He was 70. Born in Atlanta, Tarplin came to Motown Records as the accompanist for the Primettes, the Detroit girl group that became the Supremes. Tarplin’s playing impressed singer-producer-songwriter Robinson, […]

  • 'The Week Of' film premiere

    'The Week Of' Director Talks Reuniting With Adam Sandler After 'SNL'

    Songwriter-guitarist Marv Tarplin, who contributed to major hits by the Miracles, Smokey Robinson and Marvin Gaye, died Sept. 30 of unknown causes in Las Vegas. He was 70. Born in Atlanta, Tarplin came to Motown Records as the accompanist for the Primettes, the Detroit girl group that became the Supremes. Tarplin’s playing impressed singer-producer-songwriter Robinson, […]

  • Beautycon Festival

    Laverne Cox, Paris Hilton Promote Self-Love at Beautycon NYC

    Songwriter-guitarist Marv Tarplin, who contributed to major hits by the Miracles, Smokey Robinson and Marvin Gaye, died Sept. 30 of unknown causes in Las Vegas. He was 70. Born in Atlanta, Tarplin came to Motown Records as the accompanist for the Primettes, the Detroit girl group that became the Supremes. Tarplin’s playing impressed singer-producer-songwriter Robinson, […]

  • Duke and Duchess of Cambridge

    The Duchess of Cambridge Gives Birth to Baby Boy

    Songwriter-guitarist Marv Tarplin, who contributed to major hits by the Miracles, Smokey Robinson and Marvin Gaye, died Sept. 30 of unknown causes in Las Vegas. He was 70. Born in Atlanta, Tarplin came to Motown Records as the accompanist for the Primettes, the Detroit girl group that became the Supremes. Tarplin’s playing impressed singer-producer-songwriter Robinson, […]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content