The combination of those background vocals, Ruffin’s distinct voice, and Smokey’s writing abilities is what made the song such a hit. These three important factors all aligned at the right moment.

“No, I don’t wish I would have kept it for myself,” Smokey says of the song. “[The Temptations are] the ones who brought it out of me!”

This strong sense of community was always prevalent in Smokey’s career with Motown. Everyone there, he adds, felt like family.

The Temptations perform their signature hit, “My Girl,” in 1965. (

“I always was so happy whenever I got a hit record on one of the artists,” Smokey says. “They were my brothers and sisters. If I could do something to enhance their career and make things better for them, that made me happy.”

Watch the clip to get behind-the-scenes at Motown!