During the turbulent years of the 1960’s, one of the few things that helped keep us together as a nation was the amazing music. From the girl groups to the British Invasion, to the Haight Ashbury, music was everywhere, and it was all amazing. Perhaps no group did more to put us in a collective groove than The Temptations. No matter what they sang about, we were always hooked. We just found a video of The Temptations performing this classic on television, and it is going to whisk you to another time and place when you watch it.
Dave Ruffin, Paul Williams, Otis Williams, Eddie Kendricks, and Melvin Frankel were The Temptations.
Formed in 1960, The Temptations have been entertaining the world right up to this very day.
This song was an instant classic when it was released in 1965, and it held its own against the tsunami of British bands spilling onto our shores in the wake of the Beatles, reaching number one on the pop charts and staying number one in the hearts of lovers everywhere from then on.
The song was written and produced by the legendary Smokey Robinson and Ronald White for Berry Gordy’s record label, Motown.
Robinson had caught a set by The Temptations during a Motown review tour date, and was impressed with Dave Ruffin’s voice when he stepped out front to sing Otis Redding’s “Under The Boardwalk.”
Smokey believed that the right song in the band’s hands would end up on the top of the charts, and he set out to compose a tune that would highlight Ruffin’s “mellow, yet gruff” voice.
He and Ronald White sat down to compose the hit and the song they emerged with was so good, they almost kept it for Smokey Robinson and the Miracles, but after some persuasion, the Miracles let the Temptations have it.
It was recorded over the course of three studio dates in September, October and November of 1964 with Smokey and Ronald sitting in the producer’s chairs.
This hit was released in time for Christmas, and by January had climbed to the number one spot on several Billboard charts. It became the first number one single for The Temptations and for Gordy’s Motown label, which would go on to become one of the most successful African American companies in history.
For The Temptations it earned them their first Grammy award, and became just the first in a remarkable streak of smash hits that included “Ain’t too Proud to Beg,” I’m Losing You,” “Since I Lost My Baby,” “Cloud Nine,” and many others.
By 1967 however, relations became strained between Ruffin and the rest of the members. While Paul Williams and Eddie Kendrick also sang lead on numerous singles, Ruffin came to believe that he was the primary driver of the band’s success and began to make increasingly difficult demands on the members and management, which led to his being released from The Temptations in 1968 and replacement by Dennis Edwards.
Today, only Otis Williams remains as an original member, but The Temptations continue to entertain audiences around the world.
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