“Cruisin’”

“Cruisin’”

From Chicken Soup for the Soul: The Story Behind the Song

Smokey Robinson
“Cruisin’ ”

Written by William “Smokey” Robinson and Marvin Tarplin
Recorded by Smokey Robinson

Many, if not most, of my hits have been written based on music by Marv Tarplin and played on his guitar. He would give me a tape that I would listen to over and over until I got an idea for a song that went with that music. He’s so good and so prolific. We’ve been working together and have been close friends since 1961. He played with Diana (Ross) and I asked if I could “borrow” him for a gig and from then on he was in my band — until 2008. Diana reminds me every time I see her.

When he gave me this particular tape of music, I loved it. It was so sensual, so sexy. It did something to my soul. I played it forever — in my car, when I got home, over and over. I wrote two or three other songs to that music but they didn’t work. Nothing fit this music. This song came in bits and pieces. “Cruisin’ ” took five years to write. Some songs come quicker than others, like “Shop Around.” That was the first million seller at Motown and I wrote it in thirty minutes.

One night I was listening to the music again and thought about how it was ethereal, making you soar:

You’re gonna fly away, glad you’re going my way

I love it…. .

Then I tried figuring out where to go from there — “ ’cause we’re going together”? That wasn’t it. Why do I love it?

I was driving down Sunset Boulevard, after I moved to Los Angeles, and a record I loved by a group called the Rascals came on the radio. It was “Groovin’.”

Groovin’…on a Sunday afternoon

That’s it!

I love it… when we’re groovin’ with each other?

No. I liked the sound of “groovin’.” What sounds like that? Cruisin’!

I love it… when we’re cruisin’ together.

Then I wrote the rest of the song. I was glad that I came up with something I’d never heard before. I try to say things differently. When I wrote “Tracks Of My Tears” I listened to Marvin Tarplin’s music and came up with

Take a good look at my face

You’ll see my smile looks out of place

It was going to be about my smile looking out of place.

If you look closer, it’s easy to trace

I was thinking, “I miss you so much.” “I have to find you.” “My smile is crooked.” “You don’t love me anymore.” Nothing rang a bell. Then I realized there are many, many songs about crying, but what if a person cried so much that the tears left tracks on their face? That was it: “The Tracks of My Tears.”

People always come up and ask me, “What’s “Cruisin’?” What does that mean?” My reply is always the same, “Whatever you want it to be.”

“Cruisin’ ”

Baby, let’s cruise

Away from here.

Don’t be confused

The way is clear.

And if you want it, you got it, forever,

This is not a one night stand, baby.

Yeah

So let the music take your mind

Just release and you will find

You’re gonna fly away,

Glad you’re goin’ my way,

I love it when we’re cruisin’ together.

Music is played for love,

Cruisin’ is made for love,

I love it when we’re cruisin’ together.

Baby, tonight

Belongs to us

Everything right

Do what you must

And inch by inch we grow closer and closer

To every little part of each other.

Oooh, baby, yeah

Sooo

Let the music take your mind

Just release and you will find

You’re gonna fly away

Glad you’re goin’ my way,

I love it when we’re cruisin’ together.

Music is played for love,

Cruisin’ is made for love,

I love it when we’re cruisin’ together.

Cruise with me baby

Ooooooooooooooooohhhhhhhh

Yeah,

Oooooooooooooooohhhhhhhh, Oooohhh baby, let’s cruise,

Let’s float, let’s glide.

Oooohh

Let’s open up and go inside.

And if you want it, you got it, forever.

I could just stay here beside you and love you baby.

Let the music take your mind

Just release and you will find

You’re gonna fly away

Glad you’re goin’ my way,

I love it when we’re cruisin’ together.

Music is played for love,

Cruisin’ is made for love,

I love it when we’re cruisin’ together.

You’re gonna fly away,

Glad you’re goin my way,

I love it when we’re cruisin’ together.

Music is played for love,

Cruisin’ is made for love,

I love it when… I love it, I love it, I love it…

Ooohh

Cruise with me baby.

I love it when we’re cruisin’ together.

Words and Music by William “Smokey” Robinson and Marvin Tarplin. © 1979 BERTRAM MUSIC COMPANY. All Rights Controlled and Administered by EMI APRIL MUSIC INC. on behalf of JOBETE MUSIC CO., INC. All Rights Reserved. International Copyright Secured. Used by Permission.

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