For more than fifty years, The Temptations have prospered, propelling popular music with a series of smash hits, and sold-out performances throughout the world.
“The crowds are bigger, the sales are sizzling,” says one industry report. “The outpouring of affection for this super-group has never been greater”.
The history of The Temptations is the history of contemporary American pop. An essential component of the original Motown machine, that amazing engine invented by Berry Gordy, The Temps began their musical life in Detroit in the early sixties. It wasn’t until 1964 however, that the Smokey Robinson written-and-produced “The Way You Do the things You Do” turned the guys into stars.
An avalanche of hits followed, many of which…”My Girl,” for instance…attained immortality. “It’s Growing,” “Since I Lost My Baby;,” “Get Ready,” “Ain’t Too Proud to Beg,” “Beauty Is only Skin Deep,” “I Wish It Would Rain”…the hits kept coming.
The classic lineup was Otis Williams, Melvin Franklin, Paul Williams, Eddie Kendricks and David Ruffin. Beyond the fabulous singing, The temps became known for smooth stepping and flawless presentations. The Temptations Walk became a staple of American style. Flair, flash and class. Millions of fans saw their Temptations as cultural heroes.
Other stellar singers…Richard Street, Ali-Ollie Woodson, Theo Peoples…joined and adding their luster to the groups’ growing fame.
No matter the change in personnel, The Temptations remained true to The Temptations tradition. They survived the whims of fashion, whether disco or techno, and stuck to their guns.
Then came a series of acclaimed records:
Temptations Miniseries,1998- Number 1 rated for two nights. Nominated for 5 Emmys, including best miniseries and winner of 1.
For Lovers Only, a collection of love standards, termed an instant classic by critics, remains among the most cherished of all Temptations recordings.
Phoenix Rising, went through the roof, a platinum-plus mega-hit featuring “Stay,” the Narada Michael Walden produced song that topped the charts.
Ear Resistible, nailed a Grammy and a legion of new fans.
Awesome, released in 2001 is The Temptations at their freshest, strongest, and most appealing.
Reflections, was released in 2005, nominated for a Grammy and brought to the world The Temptations versions of some of Motown’s greatest songs.
Get Ready, This DVD was released in 2006- One of the largest selling music DVD ever
The Temptations Musical, 2016 Musical based on Otis Williams’s book & mini-series.
The current lineup consists of:
Otis Williams, Ron Tyson, Terry Weeks, Larry Braggs, Willie Greene Jr.
“When I tell people we are God’s group,” says Otis, a remarkable modest man, “I don’t mean it arrogantly. It’s just that we have been tested time and again and keep coming back. We have suffered the death of so many legendary singers…Paul Williams, David Ruffin, Eddie Kendricks, Melvin Franklin. Other’s like Dennis Edwards, Richard Street, Ali-Ollie Woodson and Theo Peoples have left, and yet our unity is tighter, our sound brighter and our popularity greater. Someone has watched over this group. Someone has protected our integrity. Someone has said…just go on singing and it’ll get better.”
And so THE TEMPTATIONS go on…….and on…..and on……..
The Four Tops
The quartet, originally called the Four Aims, made their first single for Chess in 1956, and spent seven years on the road and in nightclubs, singing pop, blues, Broadway, but mostly jazz—four-part harmony jazz. When Motown’s Berry Gordy Jr. found out they had hustled a national “Tonight Show” appearance, he signed them without an audition to be the marquee act for the company’s Workshop Jazz label. That proved short-lived, and Stubbs’ powerhouse baritone lead and the exquisite harmonies of Fakir, Benson, and Payton started making one smash after another with the writing-producing trio Holland-Dozier-Holland.
In 1990, with 24 Top 40 pop hits to their credit, the Four Tops were inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame. Though they would no longer have hits on record, the group continued to be a hit in concert, touring incessantly, a towering testament to the enduring legacy of the Motown Sound they helped shape and define. Following Payton’s death in 1997, the group briefly worked as a trio until Theo Peoples, a former Temptation, was recruited to restore the group to a quartet. When Stubbs subsequently grew ill, Peoples became the lead singer and former Motown artist-producer Ronnie McNeir was enlisted to fill Payton’s spot. In 2005, when Benson died, Payton’s son Roquel replaced him.
For Rolling Stone’s 2004 article “The Immortals – The Greatest Artists Of All Time,” Smokey Robinson remembered: “They were the best in my neighborhood in Detroit when I was growing up (and) the Four Tops will always be one of the biggest and the best groups ever. Their music is forever.”