Pete Moore, Original Miracles Member, Dies at 79

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The Miracles (Pete Moore is second from left)

The Motown family has lost another star from its early years: Pete Moore, an original member of The Miracles—the group led by Smokey Robinson—died in Las Vegas on Nov. 19, his 79th birthday. The cause of death was complications of diabetes.

Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee Moore, who sang bass with the group from its inception, was the co-writer of several of the Miracles’ biggest hits, including “Ooh Baby,” “My Girl Has Gone,” “Going to a Go-Go” and “The Tracks of My Tears,” and, along with Robinson, also co-wrote songs for other Motown acts, including the Temptations’ (“It’s Growing” and “Since I Lost My Baby”) and Marvin Gaye’s “Ain’t That Peculiar” and “I’ll Be Doggone.” Moore also co-wrote “Love Machine,” a huge hit for the Miracles in the group’s post-Robinson phase, and produced some of the Miracles’ recordings, including the hit “Choosey Beggar.”

Watch the Miracles perform “The Tracks of My Tears”

Warren “Pete” Moore was born in Detroit on Nov. 19, 1938, where he befriended Robinson at age 12. Their first group, formed in 1955, was called the Five Chimes (which also included Ronnie White, who would also become a Miracle). They next became the Matadors and, with the addition of a female singer, Claudette Rogers (who was married to Robinson for 27 years), the Miracles. Bobby Rogers and guitarist Marv Tarplin filled out the classic lineup.

Pete Moore in his later years

The Miracles’ first minor chart hit was in 1959 for Chess Records, “Bad Girl,” but it was their signing to Gordy’s Tamla label (a Motown spinoff) that brought them success, beginning in 1960 with “Shop Around” and continuing with hits such as “You’ve Really Got a Hold on Me” (later covered by the Beatles), “Mickey’s Monkey” and, as Smokey Robinson and the Miracles, “I Second That Emotion,” “The Tears of a Clown” and the above-named songs. Robinson left the group in 1972 to go solo and work as an executive at Motown and the Miracles continued on without him, scoring a #1 hit with “Love Machine (Part 1)” in 1976.

Related: An interview with the author of a definitive Motown book

In a statement, Motown founder Berry Gordy Jr. wrote, “I am deeply saddened to hear of the passing of Warren ‘Pete’ Moore, a fine human being and valued member of the Motown family. Pete was an original member of my very first group, the Miracles. He was a quiet spirit with a wonderful bass voice behind Smokey Robinson’s soft, distinctive lead vocals and was co-writer on several of the Miracles hits.”

Moore’s songs have been covered by Linda Ronstadt, Michael Jackson, Marvin Gaye, Aretha Franklin, George Michael, the Rolling Stones, Tom Jones, the Temptations, The Four Tops and, as noted above, the Beatles.

Moore remained in the Miracles until the group dissolved in 1978.

Watch the post-Smokey Miracles perform their #1 hit “Love Machine”


Bonus video: The classic “Ooh Baby Baby”

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