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The Temptations

Thanks to their fine-tuned choreography -- and even finer harmonies -- the Temptations became the definitive male vocal group of the 1960s; one of Motown's most elastic acts, they tackled both lush pop and politically charged funk with equal flair, and weathered a steady stream of changes in personnel and consumer tastes with rare dignity and grace. The Temptations' initial five-man lineup formed in Detroit in 1961 as a merger of two local vocal groups, the Primes and the Distants. Baritone Otis Williams, Elbridge (aka El, or Al) Bryant, and bass vocalist Melvin Franklin were longtime veterans of the Detroit music scene when they joined together in the Distants, who in 1959 recorded the single "Come On" for the local Northern label. Around the same time, the Primes, a trio comprised of tenor Eddie Kendricks, Paul Williams (no relation to Otis), and Kell Osborne, relocated to the Motor City from their native Alabama; they quickly found success locally, and their manager even put together a girl group counterpart dubbed the Primettes. (Later, three of the Primettes -- Diana Ross, Mary Wilson and Florence Ballard -- formed the Supremes).

In 1961, the Primes disbanded, but not before Otis Williams saw them perform live, where he was impressed both by Kendricks' vocal prowess and Paul Williams' choreography skills. Soon, Otis Williams, Paul Williams, Bryant, Franklin, and Kendricks joined together as the Elgins; after a name change to the Temptations, they signed to the Motown subsidiary Miracle, where they released a handful of singles over the ensuing months. Only one, the 1962 effort "Dream Come True," achieved any commercial success, however, and in 1963, Bryant either resigned or was fired after physically attacking Paul Williams. The Tempts' fortunes changed dramatically in 1964 when they recruited tenor David Ruffin to replace Bryant; after entering the studio with writer/producer Smokey Robinson, they emerged with the pop smash "The Way You Do the Things You Do," the first in a series of 37 career Top Ten hits. With Robinson again at the helm, they returned in 1965 with their signature song, "My Girl," a number one pop and R&B hit; other Top 20 hits that year included "It's Growing," "Since I Lost My Baby," "Don't Look Back," and "My Baby."

In 1966, the Tempts recorded another Robinson hit, "Get Ready," before forgoing his smooth popcraft for the harder-edged soul of producers Norman Whitfield and Brian Holland. After spotlighting Kendricks on the smash "Ain't Too Proud to Beg," the group allowed Ruffin to take control over a string of hits including "Beauty's Only Skin Deep" and "(I Know) I'm Losing You." Beginning around 1967, Whitfield assumed full production control, and their records became ever rougher and more muscular, as typified by the 1968 success "I Wish It Would Rain." After Ruffin failed to appear at a 1968 live performance, the other four Tempts fired him; he was replaced by ex-Contour Dennis Edwards, whose less polished voice adapted perfectly to the psychedelic-influenced soul period the group entered following the success of the single "Cloud Nine." As the times changed, so did the group, and as the 1960s drew to a close, the Temptations' music became overtly political; in the wake of "Cloud Nine" -- its title a thinly veiled drug allegory -- came records like "Run Away Child, Running Wild," "Psychedelic Shack," and "Ball of Confusion (That's What the World Is Today)."

After the chart-topping success of the gossamer ballad "Just My Imagination (Running Away With Me)" in 1971, Kendricks exited for a solo career. Soon, Paul Williams left the group as well; long plagued by alcoholism and other personal demons, he was eventually discovered dead from a self-inflected gunshot wound on August 17, 1973, at the age of 34. In their stead, the remaining trio recruited tenors Damon Harris and Richard Street; after the 1971 hit "Superstar (Remember How You Got Where You Are)," they returned in 1972 with the brilliant number one single "Papa Was a Rolling Stone." While the Tempts hit the charts regularly throughout 1973 with "Masterpiece," "Let Your Hair Down," and "The Plastic Man," their success as a pop act gradually dwindled as the '70s wore on. After Harris exited in 1975 (replaced by tenor Glenn Leonard), the group cut 1976's The Temptations Do the Temptations, their final album for Motown. With Louis Price taking over for Edwards, they signed to Atlantic, and attempted to reach the disco market with the LPs Bare Back and Hear to Tempt You.

After Edwards returned to the fold (resulting in Price's hasty exit), the Temptations re-entered the Motown stable, and scored a 1980 hit with "Power." In 1982, Ruffin and Kendricks returned for Reunion, which also included all five of the current Temptations; a tour followed, but problems with Motown, as well as personal differences, cut Ruffin's and Kendricks' tenures short. In the years that followed, the Temptations continued touring and recording, although by the '90s they were essentially an oldies act; only Otis Williams, who published his autobiography in 1988, remained from the original lineup. The intervening years were marked by tragedy: after touring in the late '80s with Kendricks and Edwards as a member of the "Tribute to the Temptations" package tour, Ruffin died on June 1, 1991, after overdosing on cocaine; he was 50 years old. On October 5, 1992, Kendricks died at the age of 52 of lung cancer, and on February 23, 1995, 52-year-old Franklin passed away after suffering a brain seizure. In 1998, the Temptations returned with Phoenix Rising; that same year, their story was also the subject of a well-received NBC television mini-series. Ear-Resistable followed in the spring of 2000 and would win the Grammy Award for Best Traditional R&B Vocal Performance the following year. In 2004, Legacy became their last album for Motown as 2006’s Reflections was released by New Door. The label also released their 2007 effort, Back to Front, which featured new recordings of soul classics from the '60s and '70s. After three years of touring the globe, they returned with Still Here, which was issued on the eve of their 50th anniversary. ~ Jason Ankeny, Rovi
full bio

Selected Discography

Comments

boost1234.bm
I like this song by Tempt's treat her like a lady
Itz ALRIGHT? NO.? YEA DIDNT I ALWAYS SSY ITS WAS!!!!!WELL HEREIT IS. NO QUE NO?
Real music not coming back
David Ruffin was the man!
Gods. Possible CdbAby. Each. Nelson. Marlins & THE KIND. OF. GOD. WE SERVE. Live. In. Chicago
CdbAby. Gods posse


Real music don't make like that anymore
Love me some temptation great group real old-school.
What can I say, but to get down oh happy days lol.
dragonlady60 8 8
BENN.Y...... . . P L Z ! DON'T TY
dragonlady60 8 8
WOW LCW....
dragonlady60 8 8
THE TEMPS....LOV E THESE GUYS...MOTIW N . . . . I MISS!
This word Sunshine is my sisters nick name and she really is sunshine to me
val.dorsey52 8

Lyric
I like this song! maybe it was just my mind playing tricks on me!
I Like this song! Don't look Back! Keep Moving!
great song!!
catherinerod
Dis song never gets old ^_^
rub you down rub all over your body make feels so relaxs and then make love to you!!
tonight for sure make sweet love!!
lcw5800
Enjoyed the Temps and Four Tops Concert end of August in Atlanta, Otis is the only living Original, Great Time and Awesome Performance, brought back when groups Choreographe d dance with the music. Raw Talent
Don't read this it actually works,you will be kissed on the nearest possible Friday by the love of your life.tomorro w will be the best day of your life.however if you don't post this u will die in 2days.now you've started reading so don't stop.this is so scary put this on at least 5 songs in143 minutes wen done press f6 and your lovers name will come on the screen in big letters.this is so scary it because it actually works

merdiebabe
Like them very much
selena
One of my favorite songs
The movie...whhh o o o
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chrisobiesie
Wonderfuul obiesue
Cool. .......
I love the temptations songs
They are best
canadybrittk a m 2
There will never be a another group like the Temptations Greatest group of all time PERIOD
canadybrittk a m 2
For once in my : Paul Willams listen to it being tears to your eyes
STOP HATIN. THIS SONG GOESSSSS HARD...THIS RITE HERR, THIS SHHHH RITE HERR SHOW Y THA TEMPS WILL FOREVER B THA CREAM OF THE CROP..HANDS DOWN...SANGG G G G G G G G ITT Y'ALL......
Listen to the drifter's music not this junk! !
Sang the song. Paul. Classic. Temps
I guess I have no choice but to just once and for all give up on there ever being an us.
I
Miss
The
Temptation
My farovite. Is temptation called song named is my girl
Dont forget the one's whp made that bad music THE FUNK BROTHERS
The. Temptation. Was. A. Bad. Group. No. One. Can. Copy. Them. Or. Be. Them. They. Were. One. Of. A. Kind. Bad. Bad. A. Classic

Here comes the rain.
Don't look back oh just love this one.(Temptat i o n s .
Aint To Proud Beg aint to proud to plead, love it
This version of I'm Gonna make You Love Me is a collaboratio n between the Temptations and Diana Ross and the Supremes. Most of the Temps weren't in the studio. Most of the Supremes weren't in the studio. hope they all got paid.
Tyrone Davis in the moody
I love this song but scary at the biginng I watch her pas me by
I had forgotten how great the intro was on Papa Was a Rolling Stone. By the time we get to September 3rd, we're already hooked. As good as anything Sly or Marvin ever did--only Curtis can compare.
shaykbriggs
Funk Brothers
The Tempt's made a lot off good music. I like all there music from the 60's & 70's. now that was music.they don't make music like they use to. Gary C.
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