began his career at Motown in the late Fifties as the guitarist in the
Primettes, a teenage girl group that later evolved into the Supremes. He
was drafted into Robinson's band, where he would go on to write the
memorable chord progression at the center of the group's classic hit
"Tracks of My Tears."
In addition to his work with Robinson, Tarplin collaborated with Marvin Gaye
on the hits "I'll Be Doggone" and "Ain't That Peculiar." The guitarist
never stopped working with Robinson, continuing to write, record and
perform with the singer until Tarplin's retirement in 2008.
Photo by Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images