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  1. #1

    Smokey Robinson Reveals Origin Story Behind ‘I Second That Emotion’

    Smokey Robinson explains how some Christmas shopping inspired not only the Miracles’ 1960 hit ”Shop Around,” but the group’s 1967 track “I Second That Emotion,” on the first installment of AARP Studios’ new series Smokey Wrote That.
    In the clip, Robinson calls “I Second That Emotion” another “happenstance song,” which came about while he and co-writer Al Cleveland were in a department store looking for holiday gifts. The pair were talking to a sales rep at a counter, and Robinson says the conversation prompted Cleveland to say not the familiar phrase, “I second that motion,” but the readymade refrain, “I second that emotion.

    “We were getting ready to leave out of the store,” Robinson remembers, “and I said, ‘Man, you know that’s a great idea for a song.’ And he said, ‘You’re right!’”
    AARP Studios launched Smokey Wrote That to celebrate Black Music Month, which takes place in June. The eight-episode series will find Robinson reminiscing on his various hits, with future episodes centering around “Tracks of My Tears,” “Shop Around,” “Ooh Baby Baby,” “Tears of a Clown,” and “My Girl.”

    Smokey Robinson Talks Origins of 1967 'I Second That Emotion' - Rolling Stone

  2. #2
    I remember hearing that story way back in the 60's.

  3. #3
    I thought when I first heard that story, it was on overhearing the conversation of someone else at a different table in a restaurant.

  4. #4
    No, I saw Smokey on a TV interview in late 60's telling the department store story.

  5. #5
    Smokey shared this story on the 1970 THE MOTOWN STORY collection as well.

  6. #6
    From Al Cleveland`s book "They are about to enter a department store when they notice a beautiful young lady walking out.They each grab one of the double doors, then they hold them open for her.
    "There You Go" Al says.
    Smokey smiles at her "Merry Christmas,"he says in a flirtatious tone.
    "Merry Christmas to you too," she replies warmly, as she walks off, both men watching her go.
    Smokey shakes his head. "Wow, that was one incredible woman"
    "I second that emotion," Al replies.

  7. #7
    I remember hearing that origin story of "I Second That Emotion" many times over the years. Looking forward to hear what other memories Smokey Robinson will tell on his new AARP Studios series Smokey Wrote That.

  8. #8
    I'm not doubting the story, but the track was recorded in September of 1967.

    If Smokey wished this woman "Merry Christmas", that would have been December of 1966? So it took Smokey almost a year to write and record the song?

    Of course, wiki tells a completely different story than Al's recollection: One morning in 1967, Robinson and Cleveland were shopping at Hudson's, a Detroit department store. Robinson found a set of pearls for his wife, Claudette. "They're beautiful." he said to the salesperson. "I sure hope she likes them." Cleveland then added "I second that emotion." Both songwriters laughed at Cleveland's malapropism; he had meant to say "I second that motion." The two were immediately inspired to write a song using the incorrect phrase.

  9. #9
    Whatever the origin of the title was, it doesn`t really matter as the outcome was a great song. Multiple eyewitnesses to crimes generally have different recollections as to what actually happened.

  10. #10
    Quote Originally Posted by marybrewster View Post
    I'm not doubting the story, but the track was recorded in September of 1967.

    If Smokey wished this woman "Merry Christmas", that would have been December of 1966? So it took Smokey almost a year to write and record the song?

    Of course, wiki tells a completely different story than Al's recollection: One morning in 1967, Robinson and Cleveland were shopping at Hudson's, a Detroit department store. Robinson found a set of pearls for his wife, Claudette. "They're beautiful." he said to the salesperson. "I sure hope she likes them." Cleveland then added "I second that emotion." Both songwriters laughed at Cleveland's malapropism; he had meant to say "I second that motion." The two were immediately inspired to write a song using the incorrect phrase.
    Can we be sure the pearls were for Claudette?

  11. #11
    Quote Originally Posted by Roger Polhill View Post
    Whatever the origin of the title was, it doesn`t really matter as the outcome was a great song. Multiple eyewitnesses to crimes generally have different recollections as to what actually happened.
    So basically another Motown Myth.

  12. #12
    I wonder which song was inspired by the overheard remark at the restaurant then.

  13. #13
    I’d love to be able to come up with a song just like that

  14. #14
    Quote Originally Posted by marybrewster View Post
    So basically another Motown Myth.
    I don’t think this is necessarily a myth; I think it may be difficult for an 80 year old man to remember the particulars of one shopping trip more than 50 years ago and the exact inspiration for one of thousands of song lyrics. The details get lost with the passage of time...

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