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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.

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