Born in Atlanta in 1941, Tarplin arrived at the Motown record label in the late 1950s as the guitarist for the Primettes, the all-female singing group that went on to become The Supremes, according to The New York Times. Smokey Robinson eventually hired Tarplin to work with The Miracles in a relationship that would span five decades.
Tarplin wrote several hits for The Miracles, including “Going To A Go-Go” and “My Girl Has Gone.” He also co-wrote one of The Miracles’ biggest hits, 1965’s “The Tracks Of My Tears.”
He also co-wrote several songs for Marvin Gaye, including “Ain’t That Peculiar” and “I’ll Be Doggone.”
Tarplin continued to work with Robinson after the singer left The Miracles and played on several of his solo hits, including 1979’s “Cruisin’.” He is survived by three daughters.