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Passings: Warren "Pete" Moore of the Miracles (1939 - 2017)

by VVN Music

Warren "Pete" Moore, a member of the Miracles from 1955 to 1978, died on Sunday at the age of 78. No cause of death was announced.

Motown founder Berry Gordy told Rolling Stone "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 became friends with Smokey Robinson at a Detroit Public School musical event when they were around 11. They became fast friends and, in 1955, formed a group called the Five Chimes with Ronald White, Clarence Dawson and James Grice.

Over the next couple of years, the group performed locally and went through a number of personnel changes that eventually gelled around Robinson, Moore, White, Bobby Rogers, Claudette Robinson and Marv Tarplin. They auditioned for Brunswick Records who rejected them but one of the executives, Berry Gordy, was impressed enough to follow their progress. When he found out that Robinson had a notebook full of songs, he began working with the group, producing their first record, "Got a Job".

While "Job" and their next three singles, the third of which was for Gordy's fledgling Tamla Records, their fifth, "Bad Girl", finally proved they could find an audience. While it only got to number 93 on the Hot 100, and they followed with two more singles that didn't chart better, Gordy kept working with them and, in late 1960, they finally hit it big when "Shop Around" went to number 2 and hit the top of the R&B singles.

Over the next sixteen years, the Miracles went on to have a total of six top ten hits on the Hot 100 and 26 that made the R&B top ten. Along with singing with the group, Moore also, occasionally, picked up his pen and wrote a number of major Motown hits with Robinson and other writers. His major songwriting credits:

  • That's What Love Is Made Of - Miracles (1964 / #35 Pop / #9 R&B)
  • I'll Be Doggone - Marvin Gaye (1965 / #8 Pop / #1 R&B)
  • Ooh Baby Baby - Miracles (1965 / #16 Pop / #4 R&B) //  Linda Ronstadt (1978 / #7 Pop / #2 Adult Contemporary / #85 Country)
  • It's Growing - Temptations (1965 / #18 Pop / #3 R&B)
  • The Tracks of My Tears - Miracles (1965 / #16 Pop / #2 R&B) // Johnny Rivers (1967 / #10 Pop) //  Linda Ronstadt (1975 / #25 Pop / #4 Adult Contemporary / #11 Country)
  • Since I Lost My Baby - Temptations (1965 / #17 Pop / #4 R&B)
  • Ain't That Peculiar - Marvin Gaye (1965 / #8 Pop / #1 R&B)
  • My Girl Has Gone - Miracles (1965 / #14 Pop / #3 R&B)
  • My Baby - Temptations (1965 / #13 Pop / #4 R&B)
  • Going to a Go-Go - Miracles (1965 / #11 Pop / #2 R&B) //  Rolling Stones (1982 / #25 Pop / #5 Rock)
  • One More Heartache - Marvin Gaye (1966 / #29 Pop / #4 R&B)
  • Love Machine - Miracles (1975 / #1 Pop / #5 R&B)
Robinson left the Miracles in 1972, replaced by Billy Griffin, and Moore remained with the group co-writing their biggest hit, "Love Machine", but he retired from the road in 1978. 

Moore got back together with the original Miracles in 1983 for the NBC special Motown 25: Yesterday, Today, Forever and, in 2009, he attended the enshrinement of the Miracles on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. In 2012, a major over site was corrected by the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame when the Miracles were inducted, 25 years after Robinson had been inducted alone.