(“The forgotten one”)

**This is a discography for Miracle Records – other Motown labels are listed here. If you’re looking for a full list of every Motown single, try the Master Index instead!**

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.


(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.)

4 thoughts on “Miracle”

  1. Robert Klein said:

    I don’t think Miracle was “hedging” Gordy’s bets for which of his 3 labels would survive. I think it was a bid to get more airplay. DJs and radio stations wouldn’t play more than a few records from the same company at the same time. He wanted to make sure that if he had released 6-8 worthy records at the same time, they’d all have a chance to be played. He could also place his different labels with different distributing companies, to see which were more effective (which is just what he did).


    • Bread 6000 said:

      Right on, I just wish Berry Gordy would had purchased his own distribution company and record pressing plant the way CBS Records Inc. (now Sony Music Entertainment Inc.) did in the 1960s. It would have been cost effective and The Motown Record Corporation would have been able to compete better with CBS Records Inc., who took over the top spot in the black music market in the 1970’s and 1980’s with the likes of Sly & The Family Stone, Philadelphia International Records (The O’Jays, Harold Melvin & The Blue Notes/Teddy Pendergrass), The Isley Brothers/T-Neck Records, Earth, Wind & Fire/Kalimba Productions/ARC (The Emotions, Deniece Williams, Ramsey Lewis), Herbie Hancock, LaBelle, Heatwave, Luther Vandross, Sade, Tabu Records (S.O.S. Band, Alexander O’Neal), all the hip hop artists on Def Jam Recordings (LL Cool J, The Beastie Boys, Public Enemy) and sadly for him The Jacksons/Michel Jackson. We would never know even bigger The Motown Record Corporation would have gotten because of these steps Berry did not take.


  2. Robb Klein said:

    With Gordy founding Rayber even before Tamla, I’d say that Miracle was his 4th label, rather than 3rd, as mentioned above. Despite having only one release, Rayber was Berry’s label, and had a legitimate release (even distributed by a local distributor).


  3. Actually a shared label, with future Mrs Gordy. I guess he didn’t want a co-pilot, nor ride on his sisters (Anna/Gwen) label.

    I guess it worked out for the best, because the whole world knows Motown, but not Rayber. (except a select few that really dig).


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