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. Now in the new millennium, their latest release, Awesome, is being called the hottest in Temptation history.
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 Robinsin 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, Too Proud to Beg, Beauty Is Only Skin Deep, I Wish It Would Rain - the hits kept coming.
The classic line-up 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 Temptation Walk became a staple of American style, Flair, flash and class. Millions of fans saw their Temptations as cultural heroes. When the sixties and seventies turned political, the Temps 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.
Awesome, released in 2001, is The Temptations at their freshest, strongest, and most appealing. The current lineup consists of Otis Williams, Terry Weeks, G.C. Cameron, Ron Tyson and Joe Herndon. "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," says Otis, a remarkable modest man, "I don't mean it arrogantly. It's just that we have been tested time and time again and keep coming back. We have suffered the deaths of so many lengendary 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."