The Temptations single “My Girl” was the #1 song in the country today (February 20, 1965).
The single was the first song to feature The Temptations’ new lead vocalist, David Ruffin.
Ruffin had recently joined the group, as a replacement for former member Elbridge “Al” Bryant.
Smokey Robinson caught a live performance of David Ruffin with The Temptations and was convinced he could write a hit for the singer.
Smokey had originally written “My Girl” in just 20 minutes for The Miracles, but at the last minute, he decided to let David Ruffin and The Temptations have the song.
According to “Inside The Hits” by Wayne Webhams, “My Girl” is one of the most complex arrangements Motown ever produced.
The single, which features the signature guitar riffs of legendary Funk Brother Robert White, was arranged by Paul Riser.
In the first 35 seconds “The song features elaborate three-part background singing, a four-part brass section that includes trombones and French horns, a string section playing full chords with two-part lines and intervals featuring major sevenths,” Webhams says of the arrangement.
“‘My Girl’ is a prime example of a mature work of art whose medium was not yet ready for expression at this level,” the authors noted. “Even if 16 or 24 track machines had existed, and if Motown had been willing to buy them, we might enjoy pristine reproduction of some of the finest productions in the history of popular music.”
In addition to the technical success of “My Girl” the song launched a series of hits for The Temptations led by David Ruffin, that lasted from 1965 until 1968 when he left the group.