A Motown Sound
“My Baby Must Be a Magician” is the title of a 1967 single release by the Marvelettes which was written and produced by Smokey Robinson.
Original Marvelette Wanda Rogers was the lead vocalist on the track; the background vocals were provided by the Andantes rather than official Marvelettes Ann Bogan and Katherine Anderson. Melvin Franklin of The Temptations is the male voice speaking the song’s intro and the track features guitar licks from Miracles guitarist Marv Tarplin.
The narrator of the song likens her lover to a magician admitting his lack of the expected paraphernalia (e.g. “No rabbits in his hat/ No pigeons up his sleeve…No special gear like Aladdin’s lamp and such”) but maintaining “My baby must be a magician ’cause he’s sure got the magic touch”.
Released in November 1967, “My Baby Must Be a Magician” reached #17 on the Billboard Hot 100 in February 1968, also peaking at #8 on the R&B chart. As the Marvelettes’ third consecutive Top Thirty single, “My Baby Must Be a Magician” set a new level of prolonged Pop chart success for the group; it would also mark their last appearance in the Top 40 and be their final R&B Top Ten hit.
“My Baby Must Be a Magician” has never had a high profile remake; Stiff Records act Sylvia and the Sapphires had a 1983 UK single release produced by Peter Collins. On the title track of Teena Marie’s 1981 album It Must Be Magic – her last for Motown – Teena Marie repeats the hookline from “My Baby Must Be a Magician”: “My baby must be a magician ’cause he’s sure got the magic touch”, as her song’s outro. (Melvin Franklin’s original intro is also included in this song.)
A Motown Sound