Loose Lips

Tears of A Clown - Smokey Robinson and The Miracles

Nana's Sunday Jams

Tears of A Clown - Smokey Robinson and The Miracles

Banner artwork by the majestic Trav, all of Nana's jams are gathered in this playlist. 

Yes, Yes Sunday Jammers. Warm Salutations, hope you are well, happy, hopeful, finding dry spots in the dampness and listening bangers to push you along the way. Hope you are still enjoying the band tour, three more stops along the way then onto new destinations; summer playlists, sweet, sweet summertime, the hope of lazy summer days spent wasting away whatever time you can snatch from grown up duties. If you are anything like me summer will include beaches, wild swimming spots anywhere that water runs through. So, so excited.


Back to this week and a classic band with elegance to spare. It was pointed out to me that bands come in many shapes and genres —  thank goodness —  and that maybe I could turn my attention to some of the other phenomenal bands representing other genres and the answer is: Yes Yes and Yes, of course I can and you don’t have to ask me twice. So, in that vein I give you one of the sweetest soul bands of all time, giving harmonies that could cut through your heart and set your spine ablaze with never ending tingles. Straight from the legendary Motown Cannon (although technically this was recorded on Tamla Records —  a subsidiary of Motown) Smokey Robinson and The Miracles with the beautiful 'Tears of Clown', a total and utter tear-jerker that will lead you around the floor.


This is a stone-cold classic banger, it reminds me of my childhood spent watching old Motown archive footage, parties at relatives houses and time in our car, with my mother at the wheel, as we rolled on through the streets of Lagos and later London. This is an era where the concept of the band is strong across every popular genre; pop, rock and soul and with so many choice selections, it makes total sense that there is such an enduring, passionate desire to uphold the legacy of the band era. Whilst rock, pop, indie and punk continue to endure it feels like soul (which went on to become known as R&B in the 90s era, but really is still soul) is the one that hasn’t fared so well with a solo artist taking centre stage. So, my question is where is the new blood? Somebody holler and put me on the right track. To be clear, I am talking about bands/groups not solo artists.


In the meantime, put on ‘Tears of Clown’, turn it up loud and bask. Bask in the sharpness of the melodies contrasted with sombre but haunting lyrics courtesy of Hank Crosby, Smokey Robinson and Steve Wonder, and the precision of the harmonies; Smokey Robinson is pitch perfect and The Miracles are exactly that. The sound fuses soul, rhythm and blues, rock and pop. It has this immense wall of sound quality that just makes it epic and travels right through you. It has structured rise, falls and lots of crescendos used to well-timed dramatic effect, so divine. I love that, even as I listen to it now, I am caught somewhere between rocking and twisting to clutching my heart in delicious agony in sympathy with the narrative of the lost, yearning lover pining for what has gone and his efforts to carry on in spite of ‘the tears’. My favourite lines; “Now if I appear to be carefree, It’s only to camouflage my sadness, Any honey to shield my pride, To cover this hurt with a show of gladness.” I challenge you not to be undone by the tragic poetic symmetry of it all, completely immense. It’s hard, soft, funky and full of life guaranteed to transport you somewhere else hopefully fuelled by sparkles and electric slides.


Whichever way you choose: soulful sway, skilled shuffle or rock twisting, just make sure you play it loud and if you can find someone to dance it out with, even better. Happy Sunday.