The Temptations to release Still Here
For more than forty 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 supergroup 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 in Detroit by Berry Gordy—the Tempts began their musical life in the early sixties.
Artist: The Temptations
Title: Still Here
Release date: 05/4/10
Label: Hip-O Records
Buy at: Amazon
It wasn’t until 1964, however, when the Smokey Robinson written-and-produced “The Way You Do the Things You Do” turned the group 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 Tempts 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 the Temptations as cultural heroes. When the sixties and seventies turned political, the Tempts got serious. They changed their tone, dress, and music. Producer Norman Whitfield led the way. His Temptations’ hits, many featuring Dennis Edwards who had replaced David Ruffin, burned with intensity. “Runaway Child,” “Cloud Nine,” “I
Can’t Get Next to You,” “Papa Was a Rolling Stone” and “Psychedelic Shack” still smolder.
Other stellar singers—like Richard Street and Ali-Ollie Woodson—joined and added their luster to the group’s 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. “Great singing,” says Williams, “will always prevail.”
In the eighties, the Tempts prevailed with smashes like the Otis Williams-penned “Treat Her Like A Lady.” Then, in the nineties, another Temptations explosion: It began with their appearance on “Motown 25” in 1983 and it continued with the NBC mini-series that chronicled the group’s history, which was a ratings triumph over two nights in prime time. An Emmy® Award followed. Then came a series of acclaimed records: For Lovers Only, a collection
of love standards was termed an instant classic by critics and remains among the most cherished of all Temptations recordings.
Phoenix Rising went through the roof and was a platinum-plus megahit featuring “Stay,” the Narada Michael Walden-produced song that topped the charts. Ear Resistible nailed a Grammy® and a legion of new fans. Reflections was released in 2005, nominated for a Grammy®, and brought to the world the Temptations’ versions of some of Motown’s greatest songs.
Today, the stellar Tempts’ lineup consists of OTIS WILLIAMS, RON TYSON, TERRY WEEKS, JOE HERNDON, and BRUCE WILLIAMSON. “The more we change,” says veteran Ron Tyson, “the more we stay true to ourselves. We’re about singing straight-up soul. It’s a style that will live on forever.” “The Temps have always been known for great lead singers,” says Williams. “Today, we have three of the greatest leads in the proud history of the group.” The soaring voice of Ron Tyson is perhaps the best high tenor in the business.
Terry Weeks grew up in Alabama and spent eight years in the Air Force before his makeshift audition for Otis on a Hollywood street corner. His smooth textures and tones express an extraordinary full range of feelings. Newest member Bruce Williamson started singing in a church choir at the ripe age of five and hasn’t stop since. He has sung on everything from commercials to musicals to the top showrooms in Las Vegas. Bruce was introduced to Otis by Ron Tyson. “Our challenge,” says Williams, “is to live in the present while respecting the past. Our past is filled with riches only a fool would discard. At the same time, we thrive on competition. As a Motowner, I grew up in the most competitive musical atmosphere imaginable. But we also understand that for a group with history, no matter how glorious that history might be, reinvention is the name of the game.
“When I tell people we are God’s group, 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. Others, 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...and they’re still here.
"Still Here" by The Temptations - release date: 05/4/10..