You can’t have discussions about Motown without discussing The Temptations. We’ve all seen the TV biopic miniseries about their lives, so we don’t have to discuss that.
The lineup has changed frequently over the past 50+ years, but the classic 5 lineup (Otis Williams, David Ruffin, Melvin Franklin, Eddie Kendricks & Paul Williams) will always be remembered for their hits “My Girl,” “(I Know) I’m Losing You & “Ain’t Too Proud To Beg.”
The group would later be known for pioneering psychedelic soul with “Cloud Nine,” “Ball of Confusion” & “Papa Was A Rolling Stone.”
The legends get their flowers for being significant in the evolution of Soul & R&B music.
Most of the group members (David Ruffin, Eddie Kendricks & Dennis Edwards) have ventured into solo careers, & have created some bops!
The group’s music has been sampled & covered by the greatest artists of all time!
Albums Released: Meet The Temptations, The Temptations Sing Smokey, The Temptin’ Temptations, Gettin’ Ready, The Temptations with a Lot o’ Soul, The Temptations in a Mellow Mood, The Temptations Wish It Would Rain, Diana Ross & The Supremes Join The Temptations, Cloud Nine, Together, Puzzle People.
The group’s debut album was released in 1964 after a slow start with their earlier singles that featured Elbridge “Al” Bryant. David Ruffin is only featured on their breakout single “The Way You Do The Things You Do.”
Their earlier singles were bops though! They should’ve gotten more appreciation at the time.
When the group started to work with Smokey Robinson, he penned their most signature song, “My Girl.” It was recently selected for preservation in the National Recording Registry by the Library of Congress.
The classic 5 lineup continued their reign with hits like Ain’t Too Proud To Beg, (I Know) I’m Losing You, Get Ready & I Wish It Would Rain
Eventually David Ruffin was fired from the group, & was replaced by Dennis Edwards. The Cloud Nine LP was the beginning of the psychedelic soul era for the group. The group also received their first Grammy in 1969.
Albums Released: Psychedelic Shack, The Temptations Christmas Card, Sky’s The Limit, Solid Rock, All Directions, Masterpiece, 1990, A Song For You, House Party, Wings Of Love, The Temptations Do The Temptations, Here To Tempt You, Baer Back,
In the early 70s, the group kept the hits fused with that psychedelic twist coming to the pop & R&B scene with “Ball of Confusion,” & Psychedelic Shack.
The group’s final song with Eddie Kendricks before he quit working with the group, was one of my favorites “Just My Imagination (Running Away With Me).”
Paul also had to leave the group in 1972 due to his health, but stayed on the group’s payroll until his untimely death in 1973 from a suicidal gunshot wound.
Damon Harris & Richard Street (from the groups earlier days prior to signing with Motown,) joined the group & the era of the psychedelic soul continued with one of their most signature songs “Papa Was A Rolling Stone.”
The group continued to drop quality records throughout the 70s before leaving Motown in 76.
Albums Released: Power, Give Love At Christmas, The Temptations, Reunion, Surface Thrills, Back to Basics, Truly for You, Touch Me, To Be Continued, Together Again, Special.
After the group had rocky years on the Atlantic label, they returned back to Motown in 1980.
In 1982, the group released a reunion album, which Dennis Edwards, Eddie Kendricks & David Ruffin reunited with the current members of the group, Otis, Melvin, Glenn Leonard, & Richard Street.
They had a hit with Standing On The Top, which featured Melvin’s nephew Rick James.
The group had another hit with “Treat Her Like A Lady. Issa bop! Lady Soul too! The rest of the 80s were blessed with some great tunes from the temps.
Albums Released: Milestone, For Lovers Only, Phoenix Rising.
A miniseries which depicts the classic 5 lineup’s lives was released in 1998. Based on Otis’ 1988 book of the group, the miniseries portrays the group from his perspective.
Although it was not 100% accurate, it did introduce a new generation to the Motown gems. Group members from the classic 5 lineup (David Ruffin, Eddie Kendricks & Melvin Franklin) passed away in the 90s, leaving Otis to be the only surviving member of the group in its heyday.
The group also released an album the same year titled Phoenix Rising, which was their first platinum selling album in over 20 years. This album is known for the hit “Stay,” which samples “My Girl.”
Albums Released: Ear-Resistance, Awesome, Legacy, Reflections, Back To Front.
our favorite group kept the hits coming in the 2000s.
Albums Released: Still Here, All The Time.
The group recently just released their newest album, & it’s still so rich with The Temptations sound we love so much.
The Temptations will always be one of the best male R&B groups in Black music history. Their love songs kept us happy, but their songs relating to political purposes are also important to their legacy.
Every member of the group brought something special, but the classic 5 lineup will always reign supreme for being one of the groups that made Motown a household name. Temptations forever. -MJ