Personalities | The Temptations | Sixties | Rock
(Vocal group, 1960–present)
Formed in 1960, The Temptations were Motown’s leading male group, with smooth harmonies and crisp choreography. Their first big hit, 1965’s ‘My Girl’ was written by Smokey Robinson in reply to his earlier ‘My Guy’, penned for Mary Wells. From 1967, producer Norman Whitfield gave them a harder edge. Adding psychedelic soul to the Motown pop mix, further hits included 1969’s drugs-referencing ‘Cloud Nine’ and the civil-rights appeal of 1972’s epic ‘Papa Was A Rolling Stone’.
Several Temptations frontmen have had successful solo careers: David Ruffin (brother of Jimmy) was forced into one, sacked in 1968 for egotism; Eddie Kendricks quit after 1971’s ‘Just My Imagination’, unhappy with the new psychedelic direction; and Dennis Edwards has been in and out three times. Latterday reunions have been plagued by internal disagreements and ill-health. Otis Williams is the only original Temptation in the current line-up, which still tours the oldies circuit.
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