(“The forgotten one”)
Founded in January 1961, Miracle – the third label established by Berry Gordy Jr – was originally conceived as another R&B-centric imprint within the Motown stable; a kind of second Tamla, with its own roster of acts and with artistic control initially handled by Gordy’s wife, Raynoma Liles Gordy, universally known as “Miss Ray”.
At that time, it was far from clear whether Tamla or Motown might ever go the distance, and so it’s possible this duplication was simply a case of Gordy hedging his bets. Alternatively, with Mary Wells scoring a chart hit for Motown Records with Bye Bye Baby and the Miracles hitting gold for Tamla with Shop Around, it might simply have made good business sense to start up a new imprint for new acts to develop away from what was already becoming the established Motown hierarchy.
Miracle was a short-lived imprint; the first release on the label was Jimmy Ruffin’s Don’t Feel Sorry For Me in January 1961, while the last – Don McKenzie’s Whose Heart (Are You Gonna Break Now) – came just eleven months and twelve singles later, failing to trouble the charts on its release that November.
At the end of 1961, Miracle Records was shut down and most of its acts transferred to other labels in the Motown group; confusion with the band The Miracles (who were signed to Tamla, not Miracle) was perceived to be damaging the label’s profile, and its stupid sales slogan (“If it’s a hit, it’s a Miracle!”, apparently coined as a joke by Motown PR chief Al Abrams) hardly inspired confidence. Miracle’s direct successor as a member of the “big three” Motown labels was the far more successful Gordy label.
Miracle is little remembered nowadays, and is known primarily for having launched the careers of two great future Motown acts, Jimmy Ruffin and (more famously) the Temptations.
All of the singles ever released by Miracle Records have now been covered on Motown Junkies. Click a title from the list below to find out more about each one.
MIRACLE RECORDS: COMPLETE 45 DISCOGRAPHY
- JIMMY RUFFIN: Don’t Feel Sorry For Me (6) / Heart (1) (Miracle MIR 1, January 1961)
- LITTLE IVA & HER BAND: When I Needed You (5) / Continental Strut (3) (Miracle MIR 02, February 1961)
- GINO PARKS: Blibberin’ Blabbin’ Blues (3) / Don’t Say Bye Bye (2) (Miracle MIR 03, May 1961)
- ANDRE WILLIAMS: Rosa Lee (Stay Off The Bell) (2) / Shoo-Doo (7) (Miracle MIR 04, June 1961)
- THE TEMPTATIONS: Oh Mother Of Mine (6) / Romance Without Finance (2) (Miracle M5, July 1961)
- THE EQUADORS: Someone To Call My Own (4) / You’re My Desire (3) (Miracle MIR-7, September 1961)
- PETE HARTFIELD: Love Me (4) / Darling Tonight (3) (Miracle M8, September 1961)
- JOEL SEBASTIAN: Angel In Blue (1) / Blue Cinderella (1) (Miracle MIR-9, October 1961)
- FREDDIE GORMAN: The Day Will Come (7) / Just For You (4) (Miracle MIR-11, October 1961)
- THE VALADIERS: Greetings (This Is Uncle Sam) (2) / Take A Chance (4) (Miracle M6, October 1961)
- THE TEMPTATIONS: Check Yourself (6) / Your Wonderful Love (4) (Miracle MIR-12, November 1961)
- DON McKENZIE: Whose Heart (Are You Gonna Break Now) (2) / I’ll Call You (1) (Miracle MIR-10, November 1961)
(Click a song title to read a full review of that side. NB: The coloured numbers after each title indicate the highly subjective mark out of ten I gave that song on the day I happened to write about it. They weren’t intended to be taken too seriously.)