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The Tears Of A Clown
Song

The Tears Of A Clown

Smokey Robinson and The Miracles
Album:
Make It Happen

Song Meaning and Background of The Tears Of A Clown by Smokey Robinson and The Miracles


Stevie Wonder gave Robinson a recording of this track, for which he was struggling to write the lyrics for.

Once Robinson heard the melody he originally envisioned a circus, but Robinson later recalled: “What can I write about the circus that’s going to touch people’s hearts? Can’t write about the animals. People love animals, but what’s that got to do with touching people’s hearts, unless I write something tragic about an animal.”


He finally settled on the concept of a sad clown, and led to a big hit single.

"The Tears of a Clown" is a song written by Hank Cosby, Smokey Robinson, and Stevie Wonder and originally recorded by Smokey Robinson & the Miracles and appearing on the 1967 album Make It Happen.


Its success led Miracles lead singer, songwriter, and producer Smokey Robinson, who had announced plans to leave the act, to stay until 1972.


Stevie Wonder his producer Hank Cosby wrote the music for the song, and Cosby produced the instrumental track recording.


Wonder brought the instrumental track to the 1966 Motown Christmas party because he could not come up with the lyrics to fit the instrumental.


Wonder asked Robinson what he could come up with for the track.


Robinson, who remarked that the song's "sounded like a circus," provided lyrics that reflected his vision and sang lead vocal.


In the song, his character, is sad because a woman has left him, and compares himself to the characters in the opera Pagliacci, comedians/clowns who hide their hurt and anger behind empty smiles.

He had used this comparison before: the line "just like Pagliacci did, I'll try to keep my sadness hid" appears in this song


The song is one of very few hit tunes to feature the bassoon.


It was re-released as a single in July 1970, and became a #1 hit on the UK Singles Chart. Subsequently, Motown released "The Tears of a Clown" as a single in the United States as well, where it quickly became a #1 hit also.


This song is an international multi-million seller and a 2002 Grammy Hall of Fame inductee.

 

Lyrics of The Tears Of A Clown by Smokey Robinson and The Miracles


Oh yeah, yeah, yeah

 

Now if there's a smile on my face

It's only there trying to fool the public

But when it comes down to fooling you

Now honey, that's quite a different subject

 

But don't let my glad expression

Give you the wrong impression

Really, I'm sad

Oh, I'm sadder than sad

You're gone and I'm hurtin' so bad

Like a clown I pretend to be glad

 

Now there's some sad things known to man

But ain't too much sadder than

The tears of a clown

When there's no one around

 

Oh yeah, baby

 

Now if I appear to be carefree

It's only to camouflage my sadness

In order to shield my pride I've tried

To cover this hurt with a show of gladness

 

But don't let my show convince you

That I've been happy since you

Decided to go

Oh, I need you so

I'm hurt and I want you to know

But for others I put on a show

 

Oh, there's some sad things known to man

But there ain't too much sadder than

The tears of a clown

When there's no one around, oh yeah

 

Just like Pagliacci did

I try to keep my sadness hid

Smiling in the public eye

But in my lonely room I cry

The tears of a clown

When there's no one around

 

Oh yeah, baby

 

Now if there's a smile on my face

Don't let my glad expression

Give you the wrong impression

Don't let this smile I wear

Make you think that I don't care

Really, I'm sad

Hurtin' so bad

Release Date

1967

Songwriter/s

Hank Cosby, Smokey Robinson, Stevie Wonder

Producer/s

Hank Cosby and Smokey Robinson

Label/s

Tamla

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