Why Smokey Robinson Gave ‘My Girl’ to The Temptations and Didn’t Regret It

Some of Smokey Robinson’s most famous music was performed by other artists. For example, Robinson wrote the classic hit “My Girl” and gave it to The Temptations. During an interview, Robinson revealed why he didn’t regret giving “My Girl” to The Temptations.

The Temptations wearing suits
The Temptations | Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images

Smokey Robinson said The Temptations inspired him to write ‘My Girl’

David Ruffin was a singer from The Temptations. During a 2020 interview with The Detroit News, Robinson discussed why he thought “My Girl” was perfect for Ruffin’s vocals. “So David with his gruff voice like that, if I can get him to sing something sweet, I think it’s going to be a hit,” Robinson recalled. 

Robinson had no issue giving “My Girl” to The Temptations. “People asked me many times: ‘Why didn’t you keep “My Girl” for yourself?'” he said. “Because if it hadn’t been for David Ruffin and Temptations, I probably would have never ever written ‘My Girl.’ They inspired that. I thought it was a great subject for him to sing about.”

Smokey Robinson received a gift from Motown founder Berry Gordy for writing the song

During a 2020 interview with USA Today, Robinson revealed when he knew “My Girl” had become a monster hit. “Back in those days, (Motown founder) Berry Gordy had a policy with all the producers at Motown: If you produced a No. 1 record, you got a $1,000 bonus check,” Robinson recalled. “I had been on the road with the Miracles for two weeks and come back to Detroit, and Berry calls me to his office. 

“He said, ‘Here’s your check,'” Robinson said. “And I said, ‘My check?’ And he was like, ‘Yeah, you’ve got a No. 1 record (with) ‘My Girl.'”


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The way the world reacted to The Temptation’s ‘My Girl’

“My Girl” reached No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 for one week. “My Girl” became The Temptations’ first No. 1 hit in the United States. It spent 13 total weeks on the chart. The song appeared on the album The Temptations Sing SmokeyThe Temptations Sing Smokey reached No. 35 on the Billboard 200 and stayed on the chart for 26 weeks. 

“My Girl” was initially a minor hit in the United Kingdom. According to The Official Charts Company, the song peaked at No. 43 for one week in 1965. In 1986, “My Girl” charted again, hitting No. 92 and staying on the chart for two weeks. Finally, “My Girl” became a major hit in the U.K. in 1992. That year, the song reached No. 2 and stayed on the chart for 10 weeks.

“My Girl” appeared on the compilation album Greatest Hits. Greatest Hits peaked at No. 17 in the U.K. and lasted on the chart for 40 weeks. “My Girl” was hugely popular and Robinson was glad he gave it to The Temptations.