By Antonio Dileo
Over a month ago, on a Sunday morning, I was sitting in my kitchen with my breakfast and coffee while reading the paper (yes, I still read an actual, hard copy of a newspaper). Finally reaching the front section and getting up to speed on local, national, and global events, I turned to the op-ed section and to nationally-syndicated columnist Leonard Pitts, Jr.’s Sunday piece on a milestone in pop music. Pitts, Jr. discussed both the cultural and social impact that this song has had. On the first week of March, 50 years ago, “My Girl” by the Temptations reached number one on the Billboard Hot 100 singles chart. It became the future Rock and Roll Hall of Fame members’ first number one hit and is considered by some to be their signature song.
The commentary, aptly titled “Some Songs Have The Power To Excite Forever,” absolutely nails it when it comes to the rarity of how one song has a lasting impact. It transcends all social, age, gender, racial, economic, or any other barriers that humans throughout history may have allowed to divide themselves from each other. The opening guitar riff and melody by the Funk Brothers that underlies the beautiful lyrics by Smokey Robinson are forever part of our collective memory and of our musical and pop cultural landscape. The song has inspired many covers in various genres, including classic and alternative rock – even country.
“My Girl” was even covered on an episode on a certain classic cheesy sitcom…
It has also inspired a 1991 movie of the same name, starring Anna Chlumsky (Veep), Dan Aykroyd, Jamie Lee Curtis, and Macaulay Culkin. The 1994 sequel, My Girl 2, found Chlumsky, Aykroyd, and Curtis reprising their roles (then-current teen dream Austin O’Brien joined the cast).
“My Girl” (Movie Soundtrack version)
* Smokey Robinson was inspired by his then wife, Claudette (who was also a member of The Miracles) to write the song.
However, I feel that Pitts, Jr.’s column can show better what power this song has had, regardless of whether you even like the song or not. Read Leonard Pitts, Jr.’s column here.
Covers of “My Girl”:
Mamas and Papas’ version from their 1967 album Deliver:
The Rolling Stones’ version:
Jesus and Mary Chain version:
7-year-old boy by the name of JD sings cover of My Girl on YouTube channel:
Country version by Savannah (1984). This was one of only two charted hits by the group. It reached #73 on the Billboard Country chart in 1984