December 1970 – a song popular in this month – The Tears of a Clown by Smokey Robinson
Smokey Robinson based this song on the Italian opera Pagliacci, which is about a clown who must make the audience laugh while he weeps behind his makeup because his wife betrayed him.
Interesting facts about The Tears of a Clown & Smokey Robinson –
Stevie Wonder came up with the music for this song with a top Motown producer named Hank Cosby. They recorded an instrumental demo and asked Robinson to complete the song – it was common practice for Motown writers to work on each other’s songs at the time.
With his group The Miracles, Robinson had a big hit in 1965 with “The Tracks Of My Tears,” and the tears theme led many listeners to believe that this was a sequel. Robinson said he didn’t notice any similarity until it was pointed out to him, but noted that the songs both deal with “contradictions of desire.”
The lyrics, “Just like Pagliacci did, I try to keep my sadness hid” are also in the 1964 song called “My Smile Is Just A Frown (Turned Upside Down)” written partly by Smokey Robinson, sung by a Motown artist named Carolyn Crawford. The song has similar meaning.
In the UK, this song was re-released in 1976, going to #34. In 1979, a cover version by The Beat (known as “The English Beat” in America), made #6 UK.
This information was provided by Songfacts.com