Bio

THE TEMPTATIONS members are Dennis Edwards, Eddie Kendricks, Louis Price, David Ruffin, Terry Weeks, Paul Williams, Ali Ollie Woodson. THE TEMPTATIONS released Thirty four albums from 1969 till 2010. The first album THE TEMPTATIONS released in the is 'Cloud Nine' on GORDY Records. Other albums that THE TEMPTATIONS recorded are 'Power', 'To Be Continued', 'Touch Me', 'Surface Thrills'. Seven hundred and twenty six albums of THE TEMPTATIONS reached the billboard Black Albums chart. The highest charted album was 'A Song For You' from 1975. This album debuted in 1975 on the Black Albums chart and reached number 1 and lasts 0 weeks on this chart. Other charted albums are `A Song For You' #1 (Black Albums) and `All Directions' #1 (Black Albums) and `Cloud Nine' #1 (Black Albums) and `Diana Ross & The Supremes Join the Temptations' #1 (Black Albums) and `Gettin' Ready' #1 (Black Albums) and `Masterpiece' #1 (Black Albums) and `Psychedelic Shack' #1 (Black Albums) and `Puzzle People' #1 (Black Albums) and `Solid Rock' #1 (Black Albums) and `TCB' #1 (Pop Albums) and `Temptations Live!' #1 (Black Albums) and `Temptin' Temptations' #1 (Black Albums) and `The Temptations Greatest Hits' #1 (Black Albums) and `The Temptations in a Mellow Mood' #1 (Black Albums) and `The Temptations Sing Smokey' #1 (Black Albums) and `Wish It Would Rain' #1 (Black Albums) and `With A Lot O' Soul' #1 (Black Albums) and `Cloud Nine' #1 (Top R&B Albums) and `Psychedelic Shack' #1 (Top R&B Albums) and `All Directions' #1 (Top R&B Albums) and `Solid Rock' #1 (Top R&B Albums) and `Masterpiece' #1 (Top R&B Albums) and `A Song For You' #1 (Top R&B Albums) and `Temptations Live!' #10 (Pop Albums) and `The Temptations Do The Temptations' #10 (Black Albums) and `To Be Continued' #10 (The Billboard 200) and `The Temptations Do The Temptations' #10 (Top R&B Albums) and `Hear To Tempt You' #11 (Pop Albums) and `House Party' #11 (Black Albums) and `Temptin' Temptations' #11 (Pop Albums) and `The Temptations' #11 (Pop Albums) and `Together Again' #11 (The Billboard 200) and `House Party' #11 (Top R&B Albums) and `Gettin' Ready' #12 (Pop Albums) and `Together Again' #12 (Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums) and `A Song For You' #13 (Pop Albums) and `Power' #13 (Black Albums) and `The Temptations in a Mellow Mood' #13 (Pop Albums) and `The Ultimate Collection' #13 (The Billboard 200) and `Wish It Would Rain' #13 (Pop Albums) and `Power' #13 (Top R&B Albums) and `25th Anniversary' #14 (The Billboard 200) and `Awesome' #14 (The Billboard 200) and `Touch Me' #14 (The Billboard 200) and `Back To Basics' #15 (The Billboard 200) and `Live At The Copa' #15 (Pop Albums) and `Surface Thrills' #15 (Pop Albums) and `Temptations Greatest Hits II' #15 (Pop Albums) and `Ear-Resistible' #16 (Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums) and `My Girl: The Very Best Of The Temptations' #16 (The Billboard 200) and `Sky's The Limit' #16 (Pop Albums) and `1990' #19 (Pop Albums) and `Surface Thrills' #19 (Black Albums) and `1990' #2 (Black Albums) and `All Directions' #2 (Pop Albums) and `Diana Ross & The Supremes Join the Temptations' #2 (Pop Albums) and `Live At The Copa' #2 (Black Albums) and `Reunion' #2 (Black Albums) and `Sky's The Limit' #2 (Black Albums) and `Temptations Greatest Hits II' #2 (Black Albums) and `The Temptations Show' #2 (Black Albums) and `1990' #2 (Top R&B Albums) and `Reunion' #2 (Top R&B Albums) and `Touch Me' #20 (Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums) and `Live at London's Talk of The Town' #21 (Pop Albums) and `Solid Rock' #24 (Pop Albums) and `The Temptations Show' #24 (Pop Albums) and `Special' #25 (Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums) and `Awesome' #27 (Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums) and `Together' #28 (Pop Albums) and `Wings Of Love' #29 (Pop Albums) and `Truly For You' #3 (Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums) and `Wings Of Love' #3 (Black Albums) and `Truly For You' #3 (Top R&B Albums) and `Back To Basics' #30 (Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums) and `The Temptations Sing Smokey' #35 (Pop Albums) and `The Temptations' #36 (Black Albums) and `Reunion' #37 (Pop Albums) and `Hear To Tempt You' #38 (Black Albums) and `On Broadway' #38 (Pop Albums) and `Hear To Tempt You' #38 (Top R&B Albums) and `Cloud Nine' #4 (Pop Albums) and `On Broadway' #4 (Black Albums) and `The Temptations' Christmas Card' #4 (Pop Albums) and `To Be Continued' #4 (Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums) and `House Party' #40 (Pop Albums) and `For Lovers Only' #43 (Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums) and `Phoenix Rising' #44 (The Billboard 200) and `Power' #45 (Pop Albums) and `Bare Back' #46 (Black Albums) and `Anthology' #5 (Black Albums) and `Live at London's Talk of The Town' #5 (Black Albums) and `Puzzle People' #5 (Pop Albums) and `The Temptations Greatest Hits' #5 (Pop Albums) and `Back To Basics' #51 (Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums) and `The Temptations Do The Temptations' #53 (Pop Albums) and `Ear-Resistible' #54 (The Billboard 200) and `25th Anniversary' #55 (Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums) and `The Best Of The Temptations Christmas' #55 (Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums) and `Truly For You' #55 (The Billboard 200) and `Give Love At Christmas' #6 (Pop Albums) and `Together' #6 (Black Albums) and `The Best Of The Temptations Christmas' #60 (Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums) and `The Ultimate Collection' #60 (Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums) and `Anthology' #65 (Pop Albums) and `Masterpiece' #7 (Pop Albums) and `With A Lot O' Soul' #7 (Pop Albums) and `Phoenix Rising' #8 (Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums) and `Milestone' #88 (Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums) and `Psychedelic Shack' #9 (Pop Albums) and `Meet The Temptations' #95 (Pop Albums) From 1960 till 2002 THE TEMPTATIONS released also eighty six singles. The first single THE TEMPTATIONS released in the is 'Barbara' on Records. Other released tracks are 'Do You Really Love Your Baby (1985 / MOTOWN)', 'I'll Keep My Light In My Windows (1984 / GORDY)', 'Look What You Started (1987 / MOTOWN)', 'Papa Was A Rollin' Stone (1987 / MOTOWN)'.

The Temptations (also abbreviated as "The Tempts" or "The Temps") are an American Motown singing group whose repertoire has included doo-wop, soul, psychedelia, funk, disco, R&B, and adult contemporary. Formed in Detroit, Michigan, in 1961, The Temptations has always featured five African-American male vocalists/dancers. The group, known for its finely tuned choreography, distinct harmonies, and stylish suits, has been said to be as influential to soul as The Beatles are to rock.

Having sold an estimated 22 million albums by 1982, The Temptations are the most successful group in black music history and were the definitive male vocal group of the 1960s. In addition, they have the second-longest tenure on Motown (behind Stevie Wonder), as they were with the label for a total of 40 years: 16 years from 1961 to 1977, and 24 more from 1980 to 2004. From 1977 to 1980 they were signed to Atlantic Records. As of 2005, The Temptations continue to perform as an independent act with only one original member, founder Otis Williams, in its lineup.

Like its sister group The Supremes, The Temptations' lineup has changed frequently over the years. The original group included members of two local Detroit vocal groups: tenor/baritone Otis Williams, tenor Elbridge "Al" Bryant and bass Melvin Franklin from Otis Williams & The Distants, tenor/falsetto Eddie Kendricks, and baritone Paul Williams (no relation to Otis) from The Primes. Among the most notable future Temptations were lead singers David Ruffin and Dennis Edwards, both of whom became successful Motown solo artists after leaving the group; Richard Street, also a former Distant; Ron Tyson; and Ali-Ollie Woodson.

Over the course of their career, The Temptations have released four #1 pop hit singles, and 10 more #1 R&B hit singles. Their material has earned them three Grammy Awards, while two more awards were conferred upon the songwriters and producers who crafted their seminal 1972 hit "Papa Was a Rolling Stone".
History

The Primes and The Distants

The Primes

Best friends Eddie Kendricks and Paul Williams, along with singing partner Kel Osbourne, left their native Birmingham, Alabama, in 1955 in order to break into the music business. After first moving to Cleveland, Ohio, they settled in Detroit. The Primes, as the doo-wop trio was called, were well-known around Detroit for their meticulous performances. Group manager Milton Jenkins even created a sister group for the Primes called The Primettes, recruiting junior high schoolers Florence Ballard, Mary Wilson, Diane Ross, and Betty McGlown for the spin-off act.

Otis Williams & the Distants

Otis Williams had moved from Texarkana, Texas, to Detroit as a young boy. By 1958, he was the leader of Otis Williams & the Siberians, a doo-wop group that included Williams, his friend Elbridge "Al" Bryant, James "Pee-Wee" Crawford, Vernard Plain, and Arthur Walton. This quintet recorded the single "Pecos Kid" backed with "All of My Life" for a label run by local dee-jay Senator Bristol Bryant. The single never took off outside the local Detroit market, and the Siberians changed their name to The El Domingoes shortly afterward.

At this time, more changes took place. Montgomery, Alabama native Melvin Franklin replaced Arthur Walton as the bass singer, and Franklin's cousin Richard Street replaced Vernard Plain as lead singer. The group soon signed with Northern Records, run by Jonnie Mae Matthews, who renamed the group Otis Williams & the Distants. The Distants recorded two singles for Northern, "Come On" (1959, featuring additional background vocals by The Andantes), and "Alright" (1960). Between these two releases, Albert "Mooch" Harrell replaced Pee-Wee Crawford. "Come On" was a local hit for the Distants, and the Warwick label picked the record up for national distribution.

Influences and colleagues

The Primes and The Distants were but two of dozens of local male vocal acts, the most famous of which was The Miracles, led by Smokey Robinson. The Miracles were known for their excellent stage show, and their pop success was something for which both groups strived. Other important inspirations included The Cadillacs, Frankie Lymon & the Teenagers, The Drifters, and the Isley Brothers.

The various members of The Primes and The Distants who would later become part of The Temptations met a number of their later Motown bandmates, labelmates, and producers during the early part of their careers. Melvin Franklin had been a member of the recording group The Voice Masters, which also included among its ranks Lamont Dozier and David Ruffin. The musicians at the recording session for the Distants' "Come On" included James Jamerson on bass; The Andantes on background vocals; and, on tambourine, Norman Whitfield.

Forming The Temptations

Although "Come On" sold decently in the Detroit area, the Distants never saw much of their share from the record sales, and the second single was not as successful. After receiving an offer from Berry Gordy of Motown Records, the group got out of its contract with Matthews and left Northern. At the same time, it lost Mooch Harrell, Richard Street, and the rights to use its name. Street would front a new group of Distants for the local Thelma label during the early 1960s.

The Distants were acquainted with The Primes, as both groups made the same rounds to local record hops, talent shows, and concerts. The two groups were friendly rivals. Kel Osbourne left the Primes and moved to California, and Eddie Kendricks and Paul Williams returned to Alabama for a short time before returning to Detroit. Eddie Kendricks called Otis Williams, who, needing two more members for an audition for Gordy, offered Kendricks a place in the Distants. Kendricks agreed, with one condition — that he could bring Paul Williams with him.

The new lineup of Otis Williams, Franklin, Bryant, Kendricks, and Paul Williams took on the name The Elgins and auditioned for Motown in March 1961. Gordy agreed to sign the group to his Miracle Records imprint, provided they change their name. Otis Williams and Miracle employee Bill Mitchell came up with the name The Temptations on the steps of Motown's Hitsville U.S.A. headquarters. Four months prior, The Primes' former protégés The Primettes signed to Motown, and Gordy had their name changed to The Supremes.

Early years

The Temptations released two singles on Miracle before it was closed and merged with the Gordy label (to avoid confusion with The Miracles singing group). All of The Temptations' first seven singles, released between 1961 and 1963, failed to make it onto the US pop singles charts; "Dream Come True" (1962) made it to #22 on the R&B chart. Paul Williams and Eddie Kendricks split most of the leads, with Al Bryant, Otis Williams, and Melvin Franklin occasionally singing lead. Bryant, who preferred his day job as a milkman to performing, soon became restless and uncooperative. After a performance at the 1963 Motown company Christmas party, Bryant was fired from the group. His replacement was David Ruffin, younger brother of Motown artist Jimmy Ruffin.

Many songwriter and producer teams had been trying to craft a hit for The Temptations, including Berry Gordy, Mickey Stevenson, Clarence Paul, and Norman Whitfield, but Miracles lead singer Smokey Robinson had the best rapport with the group. In January 1964, Robinson co-wrote and produced "The Way You Do the Things You Do" with Kendricks on lead; the single became The Temptations' first Top 20 hit that April. While traveling as part of Motown's Motortown Revue later that year, Robinson and fellow Miracle Ronald White wrote a song for the emotive Ruffin to sing lead on, which The Temptations recorded in the fall of 1964. That song, "My Girl," became The Temptations’ first #1 pop hit in December, and is today their signature song. Ruffin also sung lead on the next three Temptations singles, "It's Growing", "Since I Lost My Baby" and "My Baby", all of which made it to the Top 20 in 1965.

Enter Norman Whitfield

In 1966, Norman Whitfield became The Temptations' new main producer, after his "Ain't Too Proud to Beg" performed better than Smokey Robinson's "Get Ready" on the US pop charts.

Nearly all of the pre-1968 Whitfield-produced Temptations singles featured David Ruffin on lead vocals, including the R&B #1/pop Top 10 hits "Beauty Is Only Skin Deep" and "(I Know) I'm Losing You". Other singles from this prolific period included "You're My Everything", on which Ruffin and Kendricks share lead vocals, and "All I Need", produced by Whitfield's protégé Frank Wilson. Whitfield's writing partners during this period included Roger Penzabene, Cornelius Grant, and Edward Holland, Jr.. Barrett Strong, the singer on Motown's first hit, "Money (That's What I Want)", began his long songwriting partnership with Whitfield with the December 1967 release "I Wish It Would Rain".

Initial impact

Between 1964 and 1968, The Temptations went from unknown hopefuls to international stars. The group appeared frequently on television shows such as American Bandstand and The Ed Sullivan Show, and catered to middle America with a pop standards album (The Temptations in a Mellow Mood, 1967) and performances at the Copacabana in New York City and other such supper clubs.

The Temptations' sophisticated soul, with their tailored suits and tight choreography, set the bar for male soul and R&B groups. Before The Temptations became popular, most black vocal groups were rough, high-energy acts with rawer vocals and more improvisational dance movements. Only a few performers, including contemporaries Marvin Gaye and Sam Cooke, showed the refined style that would be popularized by The Temptations.

Berry Gordy insisted his acts be equally appealing to white and black audiences, and employed a creative team to help tailor Motown talent for crossover success. Paul Williams and Motown choreographer Cholly Atkins created The Temptation's trademark precise; energetic, yet refined, dance steps. The most famous of these, the "Temptation Walk", or "Temptation Strut", was adapted from similar moves by a 1950s act called The Flamingos and a 1960s act called The Vibrations. From those two sources, Paul Williams crafted the group's signature dance routine.

Many soul and R&B vocal groups, such as 1970s Motown act The Jackson 5, the Johnny Gill-led version of New Edition; Dru Hill; and, perhaps most notably, 1990s Motown act Boyz II Men were influenced by The Temptations.

Exit David Ruffin

David Ruffin felt that he was almost single-handedly responsible for the group's success. He demanded special treatment, riding to and from gigs in a mink-lined limousine with his then-girlfriend, singer Tammi Terrell (who was well-known for her duets with Marvin Gaye), instead of in the group's station wagon. There were problems that affected group morale and performances, as well. He missed a number of rehearsals, concerts, and group meetings; and began regularly using cocaine. In addition, Ruffin wanted top billing. After seeing how Motown had made Diana Ross the focus of The Supremes by renaming the group "Diana Ross & the Supremes", Ruffin demanded that his group be renamed, as well — to "David Ruffin & the Temptations."

There was general agreement among the rest of The Temptations that Ruffin needed to be replaced, and when Ruffin missed an Apollo Theater engagement in June 1968 to instead attend the opening of his new girlfrined (one of Dean Martin's daugters), it was decuded that Ruffin had crossed the line. The other four Temptations drew up legal documentation and had Ruffin fired from the group, and Dennis Edwards, formerly of The Contours, was brought in as the new lead singer. Edwards and Ruffin were good friends, and Ruffin at first went along with the changing of the guard. Shortly afterward, however, he began turning up at The Temptations' shows, jumping onstage and stealing the spotlight. The audiences were delighted, but The Temptations and Motown were frustrated and embarrassed. Extra security guards were hired to prevent Ruffin from attending The Temptations' performances. Ruffin sued Motown in 1969, and Motown settled with Ruffin by offering him a solo recording contract.

Beginning in 1968, Berry Gordy commissioned a number of collaborations for The Temptations with their old colleagues Diana Ross & the Supremes, including a joint tour, two studio albums (Diana Ross & The Supremes Join The Temptations, featuring the #2 hit single "I'm Gonna Make You Love Me", and Together), and two NBC television specials, TCB (aired December 9, 1968) and G.I.T. on Broadway (aired November 12, 1969).

Psychedelic soul

In late 1968, Norman Whitfield began producing psychedelic-based material for The Temptations, based on the sound of funk band Sly & the Family Stone. This new style, which debuted with "Cloud Nine" in fall 1968, was a marked departure from the David Ruffin-era ballads. The instrumentation was funkier, the beat was hard-driving, and all five Temptations traded lead vocals à la the Family Stone. "Cloud Nine", the centerpiece of the group's landmark Cloud Nine LP, was a Top 10 hit and won Motown its first Grammy Award, for Best R&B Group Performance of 1968. The blending of the Motown sound and psychedelic rock sound resulted in a new subgenre of music called "psychedelic soul", also evident in the work of Diana Ross & the Supremes ("Reflections", "Love Child"), Marvin Gaye ("I Heard It Through The Grapevine"), and the music of The Fifth Dimension and War. More Temptations psychedelic soul singles would follow over the next two years, including "Runaway Child, Running Wild", the #1 pop hit "I Can't Get Next to You", "Psychedelic Shack" in 1969), and "Ball of Confusion (That's What the World is Today)" and "Ungena Za Ulimwengu (Unite the World)" (with "Hum Along and Dance" as a b-side) in 1970.

Exit Eddie Kendricks and Paul Williams

Paul Williams had sickle-cell anemia and frequently was in poor health. After he developed alcoholism, it became hard for him to continue with the group. Oxygen tanks were kept in the wings of performance venue stages for Williams, and the other four Temptations made valiant efforts to raid his alcohol stashes and drain his cognac bottles. At some Temptations performances, former Distant Richard Street, who was now signed to Motown as part of The Monitors, was called upon to sing Williams' parts from offstage, while Williams danced and lip-synced for the audience.

Eddie Kendricks was also becoming detached from the group, and sometimes would pick fights with Otis Wlliams and Melvin Franklin. In addition, Kendricks was uncomfortable with the psychedelic soul material the group was now performing, preferring the material from the earlier days. He began an association with David Ruffin, who convinced him to quit The Temptations and go solo. After another confrontation between himself, Williams, and Franklin, Kendricks during a late 1970 Copacabana engagement, Kendricks walked off in-between shows, and it was then decided by both sides that Eddie Kendricks would be leaving the Temptations.

Before Kendricks leaving the group, however, he and Paul Williams recorded their final lead vocals on a Temptations single, for a whistful, lush ballad named "Just My Imagination (Running Away With Me)". The single was released in January 1971, and began steadily climbing the charts. By March, Kendricks had negotiated his release from the group and signed a solo deal with Motown's local Tamla label. A month after Kendricks left the group, "Just My Imagination" became the #1 song in the country.

Kendricks' original replacement was to be Ricky Owens from The Vibrations, the same act from which the Temptations had adapted their signature Temptation Walk. However, Owens gave poorly received performances during the four shows he performed with the group, and was almost immediately replaced by twenty-year-old Damon Harris, a Kendricks fan who had recorded for The Isley Brothers' T-Neck label as part of a Temptations tribute band named The Young Tempts.

Later the same year, Richard Street officially replaced Paul Williams, who remained on The Temptations' payroll as an advisor and choreographer. After Williams had recovered enough to perform again, Motown made plans for a Paul Williams solo career, but Williams committed suicide on August 17, 1973.

The Temptations in the early 1970s

Otis Williams, Dennis Edwards, Melvin Franklin, Richard Street, and Damon Harris continued recording and performing; and Norman Whitfield continued producing hits for The Temptations, including the Top 40 hits "Superstar (Remember How You Got Where You Are)" (1971), a message from The Temptations to the estranged David Ruffin and Eddie Kendricks, and "Take A Look Around" (1972).

1972 saw the release of Norman Whitfield's magnum opus, "Papa Was a Rolling Stone". Originally a record Whitfield had written and produced for The Undisputed Truth, Whitfield took the somber tune and created a sprawling, dramatic twelve-minute version for The Temptations. An edited seven-minute version was released as a single in September 1972, hitting #1 on the pop charts and #5 on the R&B charts. In 1973, "Papa Was a Rolling Stone" won The Temptations their second Grammy for Best R&B Performance by a Group. Whitfield and arranger/conductor Paul Riser won Best R&B Instrumental Performance with the instrumental version of "Papa" on the single's b-side, and Whitfield and Barrett Strong won the songwriters' Best R&B Song Award.

After "Papa Was a Rolling Stone", Whitfield stopped working with Barrett Strong, and began writing and arranging The Temptations' material on his own. The success of "Papa Was a Rolling Stone" led him to create more elongated, operatic pieces, including the Top 40 hit "Masterpiece" (1973) and the tracks on the album it anchored, also called Masterpiece. Tensions developed between The Temptations and Whitfield. They felt Whitfield was arrogant and difficult to work with, and his productions began to emphasize his talents over the group's. The Temptations complained about Whitfield's actions to Berry Gordy, who intervened and reassigned them to producer Jeffery Bowen.

The final Norman Whitfield-produced Temptations album, 1990, was released in late 1973, and included the Top 30 single "Let Your Hair Down". Whitfield left Motown shortly afterwards, and in 1975 established Whitfield Records, taking The Undisputed Truth, and Rose Royce, who performed the instrumental track for "Let Your Hair Down", with him.

Dry spell

Bowen's first LP with The Temptations was 1975's A Song For You, which included a cover of the titular Leon Russell tune (popularized with soul audiences by Donny Hathaway), along with the pop Top 40/R&B #1 hits "Happy People" and "Shakey Ground" (featuring instrumentation by P-Funk members), and the pop Top 40 hit "Glasshouse". A number of producers, including Bowen, Brian Holland, JameS Carmichael, and even The Temptations themselves tried producing hits for the next three LP's, Wings of Love, House Party, and The Temptations Do The Temptations, but each single performed worse than the next. Wings of Love's only single, "Up the Creek (Without a Paddle)" was co-written by Sly Stone, the inspiration for many of the Temptations' psychedelic soul records; because of tax reasons, he could not take a publishing credit on the song.

Damon Harris was fired from the group during the recording of A Song for You, as his behavior and work ethic were deemed unprofessional. Harris re-formed his tribute group, renaming it Impact, and had some minor hits on Atco and Fantasy Records; his replacement in The Temptations was Glenn Leonard. Dennis Edwards left The Temptations two yerars later when the group, citing Motown's inattention as the reason for their declining sales and popularity, left the label and signed with Atlantic Records. The Atlantic Temptations releases, with Louis Price as the main lead vocalist in Edwards' place, did no better than their Motown releases, and Berry Gordy fought to re-sign The Temptations to Motown, finally succeeding in 1980.

Return to Motown and Reunion

Upon the return to Motown, Price departed from the group, and Dennis Edwards returned to the lineup. Berry Gordy co-wrote and produced The Temptations' first single under the new contract, "Power", which missed the Top 40 but hit #11 on the R&B charts. Two years of underperforming singles and albums followed until, in 1982, Motown began making plans for a Temptations reunion tour.

Eddie Kendricks and David Ruffin, whose solo careers had by now run dry, agreed to re-join The Temptations for the Reunion album and tour. Motown funk star Rick James, who had used The Temptations as backup vocalists on his 1981 hit "Super Freak", wrote, produced, and guest starred on the album's lead single, "Standing on the Top". The song, which featured Ruffin, Kendricks, and Dennis Edwards on lead, went to #6 on the R&B charts. The Reunion tour with all seven Temptations (Ruffin, Kendricks, Edwards, Otis Williams, Melvin Franklin, Richard Street, and Glenn Leonard) was only partially successful; Kendricks' voice had weakened after decades of chain smoking, and Ruffin, still addicted to cocaine, missed a number of the performances. At the conclusion of the Reunion tour, Ruffin and Kendricks were fired; they began touring and performing together as a duo. Glenn Leonard also left at this time, and was replaced by Ron Tyson.



From the 1980s to the 1990s

By this time, The Temptations' releases were no longer performing well on the pop charts, though they sometimes made the R&B Top 20. "Love on My Mind Tonight" made it to #17, and "Sail Away", produced by a returning Norman Whitfield, made it to #13. In 1984, Edwards left the group for a solo career, and was replaced with Ali-Ollie Woodson, who sang lead on the #2 R&B hit "Treat Her Like A Lady", co-written by himself and Otis Williams. Woodson remained with The Temptations until 1987, when he was replaced by a returning (for the second time) Dennis Edwards.

Dennis Edwards left The Temptations for the third and final time in late 1987, with Ali-Ollie Woodson re-joining the lineup. The following year, Otis Williams published his autobiography, Temptations, which he co-authored with Patricia Romanowski. The book chronicled the careers of The Temptations from the Primes/Distants days to the present, focusing on the lives of Williams and his best friend Melvin Franklin. An updated version of the book was published in 2002.

In 1989, The Temptations were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, honoring Edwards, Franklin, Otis Williams, David Ruffin, Eddie Kendrick, and, posthumously, Paul Williams. After reuniting at the induction ceremony, Edwards, Ruffin, and Kendricks made plans to tour and record as "Ruffin/Kendrick/Edwards, Former Leads of The Temptations". The tour was carried out, much to the chagrin of Otis Williams and Motown, but production on the album was cut short when Ruffin, age 50, died on June 1, 1991 after overdosing on cocaine. Kendrick was diagnosed with lung cancer and retired; he died on October 5, 1992 at the age of 52 in his native Birmingham.

Richard Street left The Temptations in 1992 after a twenty-year association with the group, with Theo Peoples taking his place. Two years later, Melvin Franklin was forced to leave the group because of failing health; he died on February 23, 1995 at age 52 after suffering a brain seizure. Ray Davis from Parliament - Funkadelic assumed the bass role for the 1995 pop standards album For Lovers Only, and Harry McGilberry became the permanent bass.

In 1998, The Temptations released Phoenix Rising, their first million-selling album in over twenty years. The album was anchored by the single "Stay", a #1 hit on the adult contemporary charts that featured a sample from The Temptations' "My Girl". By this time, Ali-Ollie Woodson and Theo Peoples had departed the group, replaced with Barrington "Bo" Henderson and Terry Weeks, respectively.

The Temptations mini-series

Main entry: The Temptations (miniseries).

1998 also saw the debut of The Temptations, a four-hour television miniseries broadcast in two parts on NBC on November 1 and November 2, 1998. The miniseries was a ratings success and won an Emmy award for Best Direction; it was subsequently rerun on the VH-1 cable television network and released to VHS and DVD.

Otis Williams' ex-wife Josephine, Melvin Franklin's mother Rose Franklin, and, on David Ruffin's behalf, his family, filed suit against Williams, Motown, De Passe Entertainment, Hallmark Entertainment, and NBC for a number of charges, including defamation of character. The judges ruled in favor of the defendants, and the ruling was upheld when the plaintiffs appealed in 2001.

From the 1990s to the present day

The Temptations were inducted into the Vocal Group Hall of Fame in 1999. The next year, their latest album, Ear-Resistible, won the group its third Grammy, this one for Best Traditional R&B Vocal Performance. Three classic Temptations songs, "My Girl", "Ain't Too Proud to Beg", and "Papa Was a Rolling Stone", are among The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame's 500 Songs that Shaped Rock and Roll.

The current Temptations lineup of Otis Williams, Ron Tyson, Terry Weeks, new lead singer G.C. Cameron from The Spinners, and bass Joe Herndon continue to record and perform on tour. Their latest album, Legacy, was released in 2004. In late 2004, The Temptations asked to be released from their Motown contract, and are now currently an independent act.

A number of ex-Temptations continue to perform outside of the group. Dennis Edwards tours frequently with his own group, sometimes billing himself as Dennis Edwards & The Temptations or The Temptations Review featuring Dennis Edwards, drawing the legal wrath of of the group. Ali-Ollie Woodson fronts an act called Ali-Ollie Woodson & the Emperors of Soul--Emperors of Soul being the name of the 1994 Temptations box set. Richard Street and Damon Harris sometimes perform together as well; with Harris also performing with his own Temptations Review.

Personnel

The Temptations and Norman Whitfield parted company after the release of 1990 in 1973.

For a detailed listing of the various versions of The Temptations, see: Temptations chronology.

The Primes

* Paul Williams (1955 – 1960)
* Eddie Kendricks (1955 – 1960)
* Kel Osbourne (1955 – 1960)


Otis Williams & the Distants

aka Otis Williams & the Siberians and The El Domingoes

* Otis Williams (1958 – 1960)
* Elbridge "Al" Bryant (1958 – 1960)
* James "Pee-Wee" Crawford (1958 – 1959)
* Vernard Plain (1958 – 1959)
* Athrur Walton (1958 – 1959)
* Melvin Franklin (1959 – 1960)
* Richard Street (1959 – 1960)
* Albert "Mooch" Harrell (1959 – 1960)


The Temptations

aka The Elgins

* Otis Williams (1960 – present)
* Elbridge "Al" Bryant (1960 – 1963)
* Melvin Franklin (1960 – 1994)
* Eddie Kendricks (1960 – 1971, 1982 reunion)
* Paul Williams (1960 – 1971)
* David Ruffin (1964 – 1968, 1982 reunion)
* Dennis Edwards (1968 – 1977, 1980 – 1984, 1987)
* Ricky Owens (1971)
* Richard Street (1971 – 1992)
* Damon Harris (1971 – 1975)
* Glenn Leonard (1975 – 1982)
* Louis Price (1977 – 1980)
* Ron Tyson (1983 – present)
* Ali-Ollie Woodson (1984 – 1986, 1987 -1998)
* Theo Peoples (1992 – 1998)
* Ray Davis (1994 - 1995)
* Harry McGilberry (1995 - 2003)
* Barrington “Bo” Henderson (1998 - 2003)
* Terry Weeks (1998 - present)
* G.C. Cameron (2003 – present)
* Joe Herndon (2003 – present)
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