I heard this song in a 70’s music compilation on You Tube today. It instantly reminded me of an episode from one of my all-time favorite television shows, The Wonder Years.
This particular song was played in an episode called “The Accident” where Kevin & Paul run into Winnie at the skating rink and notice her hanging out with a group of older boys. Winnie is acting strange throughout the episode, Kevin even finds her standing outside her old house one day. She seemed lost and confused but wouldn’t open up to Kevin about what was bothering her. Near the end of the episode, she goes out with the older boys and gets into a car accident. Winnie is okay, but has a broken leg and some bruises & cuts. After her parents bring her home from the hospital, Kevin climbs up to her window and says “I love you.”
The Tears of a Clown was released as a single in the US on September 24, 1970. It was on side two of their album, Make it Happen, which came out in August of 1967. The song became #1 on both the pop and R&B charts within two months. According to songfacts, Robinson based the 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. In the last verse, Robinson sings: “Just like Pagliacci did, I try to keep my surface hid.”
See the clip from The Wonder Years HERE.