'My Girl' By The Temptations Is My Unforgettable Song
Every time I hear The Temptations' first hit song, it brings back pleasant memories.
My Girl was written in 1964, the year after I graduated from high school. I was working in New York to save money to go to college the next year. I was at the age of innocence and after watching American Bandstand I had learned to evaluate a song by its beat, the words and how easy it is to dance to. My Girl by the Temptations had all those characteristics, and it became my go-to song when I wanted to feel good. Whenever I heard the words in the song, I pretended I was the girl the group was singing about.
Background of My Girl
The origin of My Girl is extremely interesting. The song was written by Smokey Robinson and Ronald White, who were both members of The Miracles and not The Temptations.
Both groups were performing at the Apollo Theater in New York during the same concert. Robinson and White wrote the song on the spot as they sat at the piano. When The Temptations heard it, they convinced Robinson to let them record it instead of The Miracles. Officials, including Berry Gordy of Motown, agreed. Robinson and White recorded the song for The Temptations instead of for their own group on December 21, 1964.
About My Girl
My Girl became The Temptations' first U.S. number-one single hit and is today the signature song of the five-men group. Many other artists have recorded My Girl over the years. No matter how good they sing the song, no one can perform it like The Temptations with their smooth and precise dancing.
Robinson said the song is not about a specific girl. Instead, he and White wrote it with all the women in the world in mind. The song has very few words, and they are easy to understand. Even I, who have no musical talent, can sing along with the group.
"I've got sunshine on a cloudy day. When it's cold outside I've got the month of May. Well, I guess you'd say: What can make me feel this way? My girl (my girl, my girl) Talkin' 'bout my girl (my girl) . I've got so much honey the bees envy me ; I've got a sweeter song than the birds in the trees . Well I guess you'd say : What can make me feel this way? My girl (my girl, my girl) . Talkin' 'bout my girl (my girl ooh) . I don't need no money, fortune, or fame. I've got all the riches baby one man can claim (oh yes I do) . I guess you'd say : What can make me feel this way? My girl (my girl, my girl) ."
After all these years, My Girl is still popular. In 2018, the song was selected for preservation in the National Recording Registry by the Library of Congress as being "culturally, historically, or artistically significant."
About My Guy
Robinson also wrote My Guy for Motown singer Mary Wells. It is the counterpart for My Girl because it tells of the unconditional love of a woman for her guy. My Guy became Wells' biggest hit. It was her first and last hit single for Motown. She recorded for other record labels before her death from cancer on July 26, 1992 at the age of 49. Smokey Robinson gave the eulogy at her funeral.
Why My Girl Means So Much to Me
Since I was living in New York at the time, I used some of the money I had saved to go to college to see The Temptations in person at the Apollo Theater. That meant a lot to me because it was the first time I had attended a live concert. I was in the same place where the song was written. The memory of that experience is still etched in my mind. Every time I hear The Temptations and see them on television, I remember what I heard and saw on stage so long ago when I was a teenager.
Even today at the age of 75, I find myself swaying to the music of the long time popular song. It makes me feel wonderful especially when I hear my husband of 52 years talking about me and still saying, "my girl."