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Thursday, June 25, 2009

Michael Jackson Aug. 29, 1958-June 25, 2009

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Post by Mr. Wone from Blax-Pride
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http://www.hotelchatter.com/files/admin/mj_kid.jpg
For anyone who was born in the 70's which would probably be most of us who deify this genre, we didn't emotionally connect with the loss of cultural icons like Elvis Presley and John Lennon.

Once we Blaxploitation enthusiasts received expiration notices of musical legends James Brown, Isaac Hayes, Barry White, Curtis Mayfield, Willie Hutch and Norman Whitfield during the past 10 years, we were saddened but "prepared".

This loss took us all by surprise because of our "natural icon timer". We "expect" Fred Astaire, Muhammad Ali, Bob Hope, Ted Williams, etc. to live well into the 80's, right?

Can we answer the question of why we believed that?
http://1.bp.blogspot.com/_Kb4mTDJLT6c/Ry95xUYev1I/AAAAAAAAAJQ/bGVCBLja-54/s400/michael-jackson-thriller.jpg

What is apparent in this current state is the demonization of Michael Jackson that remains even after news of his passing.

If he is The King Of Pop, then in America we are all the Kings and Queens of Judgment, Criticism, and Hypocrisy.

Media contains the pronouns "me" and "i" and that is the primary target in making that communication medium relevant. We search for information and whoever may be the first to give it, we base a belief on it by default unproven or not.

Pass judgement and critique beyond its belief and will allow a perception to become a fact without any research of our own.

Watch the news in coverage of his passing and incessantly hear about his personal choices and financial assets alongside his legacy.

Click on the image link in the Google search engine for Michael Jackson and see the top photos (mugshot, trial photos).

Fascinating how adversity becomes the definition of an icon. No new thing but Michael was representative of it.

The obsession to attach error and flaw to his legend is the same brand of evil he expressly attempted to escape which began at the end of each curtain call in touring the world over for four decades.

As much as he appeared as family to us all and we have personal memories connected to each video and awards performance, we could NEVER relate to him.

His humanity was forfeited at 6 years old to bring us the magic and mystique that shook and shocks us to the day we received this news.

Labeling him and saying "he's only human" is not a way to forgive the perpetual judgements and character analysis on a figure we could not relate to on a personal level.

We can go to the zoo, Disneyland, a movie theater, buy groceries and gadgets in department stores. Have you had paparazzi shooting pictures of you while you were in a bathroom stall?

Probably not.

People speak of his complicated life without ever experiencing a shred of it.

The tragedy in this moment was and forever will be Michael Jackson died a classic death at the hands of the people for which he lived for.

Exaltation followed by vilification and then the mutual shock as if there actually was a surprise in his departure.

He was written off by society and public opinion.

Look at MTV and see if you there's any sign of life that MJ resurrected that network from the dead when they would play no Black acts in the early 80's.

Watch BET. Soul Train. Network television. Hip-hop.

They all say "I was inspired by watching Michael Jackson" but then their lyrics include "b$%^ come suck my %$# and tell me you like it" (not all artists...... just the majority).

You've heard no samples or remakes sung by Akon or rapped by Lil' Wayne (you will hear some posthumous bullshit now but it's too late).

Chris Brown did a 30 second rendition of Billie Jean during an MTV performance but he couldn't keep his hands to hisself enough to spark some sort of kindling reminiscent of The King's eternal fire.

"I feel like I knew him"..... You don't.

"He was like family"........ He wasn't.

"He meant the world to me"........... Enough to take the world from him.
http://www.mjdavid007.com/images/billiejean.jpg

"This is a horribly sad day".......... Nowhere near to the Santa Barbara mugshot plastered all over the news. The unnecessary handcuffing we saw from the Fox News helicopter. The airtime Michael felt he needed to buy to disclose the treatment he received from the police saying "they took photos of my penis".

That's unfathomable in the entertainment world to have reached a plateau so unprecedented and to receive that "King" treatment (Don, Rodney, and Dr. Martin Luther that is).

What's even more "horribly worse of a day" is that currently there are biological fathers exploiting, sexually/mentally verbally abusing their own children toxifying that child's adult life and distorting their perceptions of sexuality from one hand slide under the cover. That's a horribly sad life worldwide that exists unpunished.

The point I'm making is that he was never guilty of those charges but publicly he had been charged and associated with sexual deviance of minors for the past 15 years.

Under the court of American law and the lawless lawmakers whose job it is of theirs to uphold it, they assumed him guilty until the charges were dismissed. Opinion has always been given more credence over truth anyway.

Let's kill the majesty and magic of Michael by allowing accusations to fester as possibility within our psyche.

How rich is that of us?

No culture has more of a fear and demonization of sexuality than America.

No culture retains a more sexual perversion and sexist/gender/racist base than America.

Mike got the key thrown away of the padlock trapping him in all forms of general judgment.

Plastic surgery locked him in, losing his childhood locked him in, a universal appreciation and humanitarian boundlessness from the fans locked him in. Fishbowl abnormalities and an infatuated obsession of the press witch-hunting him locked him in......

He was ripe for the pickin' and no one was there in defense when we killed him in the mid-90's.

Michael Jordan. Bruce Lee. Muhammad Ali. Michael Tyson. They all made a complete overhaul in changing their game but each was a student of the greatness preceded and they personified their style to create something uncommon, extraordinary and unattainable.

Michael changed the vocal range. The dance moves. The quality of music production. The music video. The awards show appearance. The perfection and professionalism in performance. The fashion. The "accessory game" with the beaded socks, high waters, glove, baby hair pumpin'.

He was CHANGE incarnate.

We haven't.

We loved him........ but, did you really?

Here at Blaxploitation Pride on behalf of Funkback and Self-Science, we send a big tribute to the King Of Pop and be sure to be on the ready for a special Blaxploitation Jive Legends Post in his honor.
http://www.jabulela.com/files/images/michael-jackson-concert-2.jpg


Mr. Wone

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Legend: Eddie Kendricks


Eddie arrived in Detroit along with childhood friends Paul Williams and Kell Osborne. Together they had formed a classic vocal group they called The Primes. Their tunes extended beyond the usual teenage Doo-wop tunes to include sophisticated material such as that of the Mills Brothers (a group originally billed as "Four Boys and a Guitar," since the Mills Brothers were so proficient at recreating trumpets, trombones, and saxophones with only their voices).

Naturally, When Otis Williams first saw The Primes perform he couldn't help but notice the vocal prowess of Kendricks, and the smooth moves of Paul Williams.

The Primes disbanded and all three members separated. When Eddie came back to Detroit from Birmingham to visit Paul, he put in a phone call to Otis and the timing was perfect since Otis just happened to have two spots to fill in his group, The Distants. Paul and Eddie added a whole new dimension to his group's sound, and the merging of the two groups became the Elgins. Now they were ready to audition for Berry Gordy.

The audition went well, and the group was offered a contract right on the spot.

It was 1961, but the group wouldn't have their first hit for a few years. Meanwhile, the group worked hard on their singing, their moves, and their look. Eddie always dressed beautifully, he had a knack for being sharp and hip, but classy at the same time, so his job in the group would be wardrobe, and he began putting together the group's stage uniforms.


The group continued recording on a regular basis with either Paul or Eddie leading on all the early songs, but none of the 1962 singles did much, including the unique "Dream Come True", and "Paradise". Both tunes featured Eddie's vocals, and they are appreciated today, but at the time they didn't even make the pop chart.

In early 1964 David Ruffin joined the group and coincidently things began to change. Smokey Robinson told the group he'd booked the studio for them to record a song he'd written with Bobby Rogers, one of the Miracles, while driving on the Pennsylvania Turnpike. That night the five of them met at Eddie's house on Hanover and set out on the familiar walk over to Hitsville. The song, "The Way You Do The Things You Do", was charming and perfect for Eddie's voice. It was like a dream, finally, the song would peak at number 11 on the pop chart, and the group went off on their first full Motortown Review tour. (They had toured previously but only as back up singers.)

Before the year was over, the guys knew that success was not only possible, but probable, and they would get plenty of their share of good times and beautiful women, and Eddie, as it would turn out certainly had the power to attract women.




Around the same time, the uniforms the group had become known for, started getting really wild. Eddie was ahead of his time in picking the clothes, and at first the guys objected to some purple suits he had chosen. Otis thought the suits would make them look like pimps, but in the end they trusted his judgement and he ordered five purple suits with a white button. He was right, when the crowd saw them in those suits, they went absolutely wild.


In 1965, Smokey Robinson, who was writing mostly all of their material, turned his attention away from Eddie momentarily, to hand over "My Girl" to David Ruffin. The song would hit number one and stay there for eight weeks. It was the groups big breakthrough.

Over the next few years, many of the songs would be cut on David, but Eddie would not be left behind either. In 1966, Smokey would hand Eddie the song "Get Ready", but it didn't do as well as the song Norman Whitfield had written with David in mind, which was "Ain't Too Proud To Beg." Norman's song did much better on the charts, and shortly thereafter, Norman Whitfield would begin writing and producing almost exclusively for the group. David would get most of the leads, but Eddie would still have his share.


Up until this time, the guys were tight and always hung out together at one another's houses. Sometimes Melvin would cook up a pot of beans and cornbread. Eddie loved cornbread so much the guys playfully nicknamed him "cornbread".

When David Ruffin was dismissed in 1968, Eddie changed, upset with the attitudes of some of the group members, he formed an alliance with David outside the group. In the late 1960's, times would change and so would Norman's material. Eddie still preferred the harmonious love songs and wanted to do some of his own material separate from the group. The group said no, and Eddie became even more dissatisfied.


At the Copa in 1970, Eddie walked out after the first show, and it was decided, mutually, that it was time for him to leave the group. And so he did, leaving them with one of their all time biggest hits.




In March of 1971, on the wings of his swan song, the gossamer ballad "Just My Imagination," Eddie Kendricks quit The Temptations. The song hung at number one of a couple of weeks, but by that time, Eddie had already gone. Thanks largely to the writing/producing team of Frank Wilson/Leonard Caston Eddie would quickly develop a sound of his own.

His first solo album All By Myself featured testimonials on the back cover from Otis, Melvin, Dennis, and Paul, stating that there were no hard feelings regarding his departure from the group. The debut album contained the significantly titled "It's So Hard For Me To Say Goodbye", and "This Used To Be The Home Of Johnnie Mae", a great ballad that showcases the strength of his natural tenor, that he rarely used within the confines of The Temptations. Can't forget the oh so sexy "Can I", from the same album, apparantly, Eddie added the sexy spoken segments pretty much right on the spot.


The second album, People...Hold On was also well received. The cover picture had Eddie sitting on a African throne, draped in a tux, and holding a spear. It contained the funky "If You Let Me", and the beautiful ballad "Just Memories."


In 1973, the self titled Eddie Kendricks showed that Kendricks had the perfect voice to accompany the disco track "Keep On Truckin", and could still serve up a #1 hit for Motown. Most of the tracks on that album were the love songs that Eddie preferred, including his version of "Any Day Now", a song done by Chuck Jackson in 1963 and a country hit by Ronnie Milsap in 1982. Eddie's version was superior, I think. Also included is "Each Day I Cry A Little" with a rather extensive one of those spoken segments, that Eddie could do so well.



Next up, the album Boogie Down containing the disco hit of the same name. Similar to "Keep On Truckin", but didn't fare as well, especially on the pop charts. It did, however make a good showing on the R&B charts. Much of the album has a disco beat, with some of the lyrics obviously written about himself, such as "The Thin Man", and "Son of Sagittarius", which was, of course, Eddie's astrological sign. Aside from the disco songs, "Trust Your Heart" is a pretty, Temptation-like song, and when you hear "Tell Her Love Has Felt The Need", you know that Eddie wasn't leaving the love songs behind.

Eddie would continue through the 1970's with good to moderate success. The 1974 album For You is a great one including the hit "Shoeshine Boy", and the creamy love songs, "Please Don't Go Away" and "Deep And Quiet Love", as well as his tender rendition of the Jim Croce song, "Time In A Bottle. Again, another good album in 1975, The Hit Man, included the moderate hit "Skippin' Work Today", inspired by the songwriter who was doing just that everyday. He was in the park across the street from the Hitsville West studio, playing tennis instead of working.

For the 1976 He's A Friend, Frank Wilson would turn over production to Norman Harris. This album and the next one Goin Up In Smoke would have spiritual tones. Religion would become important to Eddie around this time and is evidenced in the title song "He's A Friend" where he speaks of God as his friend. Also on that album, is a number called "It's Not What You Got", where he tells that although he only weighs 145lbs., he's well put together thanks to God, and that he knows how to use what he's got. In the next album, "Goin Up In Smoke" he takes us back to religion with songs like "Born Again", "Don't You Want Light", and the title song "Goin Up In Smoke". On that same album is "The Music Man", where he tells us that he sings about love, he sings about disco, and he sings about god. He pretty well sums it up in those lyrics.




Eddie wrapped up the 1970's with Slick. This one is my favorite because it contains the sweet and fragile "Baby". I love this song, and there's no doubt he still had the goods, right down to the lovely vibratto in his voice.

In the 1980's Eddie switched over to Atlantic for the release of the 1981 Love Keys, a gem of an album with all love songs. Following this album, things dropped off quite a bit and the 1980's wouldn't be very kind to Eddie. Following the 1982 reunion tour with The Temptations, he would find himself ingored by the record industry becuase it was rumored that he'd lost his voice. Adding to his problems, he would be in and out of court with ex-wife Patricia. At the time, Kendricks was living between Atlanta, Georgia and Birmingham, Alabama. In Atlanta, he had his own record label, Msdixie Records, a small independent company, but it would fold within a short time.



In the early 1980's, Eddie would do mostly benefits and some free concerts, with Mary Wells and Martha Reeves, and play clubs and nostalgia shows. In 1985, Kendricks was onstage at the Premier Center, sharing the bill with Mary Wilson, who was then fronting a group of Supremes. David Ruffin had come to see the performance, and Eddie invited him onstage. Less than a year later there would be a hot Kendrick-Ruffin tour. The duo would appear at The Apollo Theater with Hall & Oates, then at the biggest international music event in history, Live-Aid, and would be featured vocalists in the anti-apartheid "Sun City" record and video. The two would do an album together for RCA in 1987, called Ruffin and Kendrick. (Sometime in the early 1980's Eddie had dropped the "s" from his last name).


The duo of Ruffin and Kendrick would tour for the next couple of years, until their 1989 R&R Hall of Fame Induction along with four other Temptations. It was there that they got to talking with Dennis Edwards and the duo became a trio. The three would form a tight bond and would tour and record together. In early October of 1989, the trio, calling themselves Ruffin, Kendrick, Edwards, Former Leads of The Temptations, appeared on the Regis & Kathy Lee show to promote their latest album and tour, Get It While It's Hot. (David was somehow absent from this album, but not the promotional tour that followed.)

In 1991, Ruffin, Kendrick, and Edwards would produce a video, a real treasure for their fans, in association with Street Gold Productions. The video would become a tribute to David Ruffin when he died unexpectedly, and later, Dennis Edwards would be left to wrap things up, when Eddie would succumb to the cancer that had ravaged him for over a year. Eddie Kendrick, the tender falsetto, the sweetest and silkiest of tenors, who had given us so much enjoyment, was gone.



Albums:

Compilations

Resources
Thanks to these blogs : Run's Lossless Library; Flabbergasted Vibes. Frisan's Other Favourites, Jamz for the Soul, Blogsportsoul, Pirate Island, A small selection of whatever fills my Head.

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Legend: David Ruffin



b. David Eli Ruffin, 18th January 1941, Whynot, Mississippi, U.S.A.


d. 1st June 1991, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, U.S.A.


David Ruffin was one of the most recognisable vocalists to have emerged from the Motown Records stable. He was the younger brother of Jimmy Ruffin and the cousin of Melvin Franklin of The Temptations. David was the son of a minister, and commenced his singing career with the gospel group the Dixie Nightingales.He was also the drummer and singer in the doo-wop group the Voice Masters in 1958.


David then signed to the Anna label in Detroit as a solo artist in 1960. His released singles at that label and on the Check-Mate imprint in 1961. In January 1964, David replaced Eldridge Bryant as the tenor vocalist in the Temptations line-up. The original arrangement was that he would support Eddie Kendricks as a background vocalist, however, he was soon elevated to featured vocalist on many subsequest releases.


From 1965 onwards David became the lead singer on several of the bands hits including 'My Girl'’, Wish It Would Rain', 'I'm Losing You' and 'Ain't Too Proud To Beg'. David was becoming recognised as the lead vocalist within the group. Motown, however, felt that some of his behaviour left a little to be desired and he lost the outright lead singer status by 1968. It was this occurrence that led to David embarking upon a solo career, with 'My Whole World Ended', becoming a Top 10 hit in 1969.


These recordings were undertaken under the wings of producers Harvey Fuqua and Johnny Bristol. David also recorded with his brother, Jimmy, at the time. Throughout the Seventies, his work with Van McKoy became highly popular, especially with his personal renaissance album ‘Who I Am’ that contained the pop smash ‘Walk Away From Love’, a huge hit both sides of the Atlantic.

In 1976, he released ‘Everything’s Coming Up Love’, an album that became highly regarded amongst soul fans in the U.K. In 1979, he left Motown for Warner Brothers Records. Here he recorded ‘So Soon We Change’ in 1979, that featured ‘Let Your Love Rain Down On Me’ and ‘Morning Sun Looks Blue’, an album that was to be held in high regard in the following decades. 'Gentleman Ruffin' followed in 1980.

In the early 80's David was briefly jailed for tax evasion, however a Temptations reunion in 1982 brought him back into contact with Eddie Kendricks. Following this liaison, Ruffin and Kendricks established a regular partnership. They were showcased in a prestigious concert at New York's Apollo by long-time Temptations fans, Hall And Oates, which was captured on a 1985 live album, and Ruffin and Kendricks also joined the rock duo at the Live Aid concert in Philadelphia. They subsequently recorded a well-received album of duets for RCA which revived memories of their vocal collaborations with the Temptations two decades earlier.


The pairing also released one album in 1987, simply, entitled ‘Ruffin And Kendricks’, which contained the modern soul tunes, ’I Couldn’t Believe It’ and ‘Don’t Know Why You’re Dreamin’, produced by Ronnie McNeir. David recorded with Ian Levine's Motor City label in 1990, a stint including 'Hurt The One You Love' and toured with Eddie Kendricks and Dennis Edwards as 'Tribute To The Temptation's on a package tour in 1991. A few weeks after the last performance David Ruffin died in tragic circumstances following an overdose of crack cocaine.




Albums:



Compilations
  • Motown Legends: I've Lost Everything I've... (Motown 1995)
  • The Ultimate Collection (Motown 1998)
  • 20th Century Masters - The Millennium... (Motown 2000)
  • Motown Legends: Walk Away From Love (Universal 2001)
  • Essential Collection (Spectrum 2002)


Thanks to these blogs : Another Sucker On The Vine, Frisian's Favourites.

Legendary Group: The Temptations


The Temptations were formed in 1961 in Detroit, Michigan, U.S.A., by former members of two local R & B groups. Eddie Kendricks (b. Edward James Kendrick, 17th December 1939, Union Springs, Alabama, U.S.A., d. 5th October 1992, Baptist Medical Center-Princeton, Ensley, Alabama, U.S.A.) and Paul Williams (b. 2nd July 1939, Birmingham, Alabama, U.S.A., d. 17th August 1973, Detroit Michigan, U.S.A.), both sang with 'The Primes'.


The Primes

Melvin Franklin (b. David Melvin English, 12th October 1942, Montgomery, Alabama, U.S.A., d. 23rd February 1995, Los Angeles, California, U.S.A.), Eldridge Bryant (Eldridge 'Al' Bryant, b. 28th September 1939, Michigan, U.S.A. d. 26th October 1975, Orange County, Florida, U.S.A., buried in Thomasville, Georgia, U.S.A.) and Otis Williams (b. Otis Clayborn Williams, 30th October 1941, Texarkana, Texas, U.S.A. His mother was Hazel Lee Williams) were part of 'The Distants'.

...later Temptations included...

  • David Ruffin (b. 18th January 1941, Whyknot, Mississippi, U.S.A., d. 1st June 1991, Philadelphia, Pennsylvannia, U.S.A.)
  • Dennis Edwards (b. Dennis Wayne Edwards Jnr, 3rd February 1943, Birmingham, Alabama, U.S.A.)
  • G.C. Cameron (b. George Curtis Cameron, 21st September 1945, Jackson, Mississippi, U.S.A.)
  • Louis Price (b. Louis Bernhardt Price, 29th March 1953, Chicago, Illinois, U.S.A.)
  • Ronald Wilson (of the group Bloodstone)
  • Raymond Davis (b. Raymond Davis, 29th March 1940, Sumter, South Carolina, U.S.A. d. 5th July 2005, Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital, New Brunswick,U.S.A.)
  • Damon Harris (b. Damon Othell Harris, 3rd July 1950, Baltimore Maryland, U.S.A.)
  • Glenn Leonard (b. Glenn Carl Leonard, 11th June 1947, Washington D.C., U.S.A.)
  • Harry McGilberry (b. Harry McGilberry Jnr, 19th January 1950, Pennsylvannia, U.S.A. d. 3rd April 2006)
  • Richard Street (b. Richard Dale Street, 5th October 1942, Detroit, Michigan, U.S.A.)
  • Ron Tyson (b. Ronald Tyson, 8th February 1948, Philadelphia, Pennsylvannia, U.S.A.)
  • Ali 'Ollie' Woodson (b. Ollie Creggett, 12th September 1951, Detroit, Michigan, U.S.A.)
  • Richard Owens (b. Richard Edgar 'Ricky' Owens, 24th April 1939, St Louis, Missouri, U.S.A. d. 6th December 1995, Los Angeles County, California, U.S.A.)
  • Dennis Williams
  • Theo Peoples (b. Theoplis Peoples III, 1961, St. Louis Missouri, U.S.A.)
  • and Cal Osborne.

Additional participants:

  • Cornelius Grant (guitarist and musical director, b 27th April 1943, Navarro County, Texas, U.S.A.)
  • Barrington Scott 'Bo Henderson (b. 10th June 1956, Washington, Pennsylvannia, U.S.A.)
  • Joseph Lucian 'Joe' Herndon (b. 5th January 1949, Washington D.C., U.S.A.)
  • Terry Wayne Weeks ( b. 23rd December 1963, Birmingham, Alabama, U.S.A.)

The Temptations were formed out of two groups, the Primes (whose line up included Eddie Kendricks, Paul Williams and Kell Osborne) and the Distants (who in 1959 recorded the single 'Come On' for the Northern imprint). The Primes manager had even put together a girl version of the group, the Primettes (three of the Primettes, namely, Diana Ross, Mary Wilson and Florence Ballard were later to form the Supremes). After the Primes and the Distants had merged, they became the Elgins, a name that was later to change to the Temptations in 1961, at the request of Berry Gordy, who took the group to his Motown Records imprint. Under the new mantle, they recorded three sides for the Miracle label (a Motown subsidiary), one of which was under the name of the Pirates. They later moved to the Gordy imprint where they made the charts in 1962 with the song 'Dream Come True'. Gordy then teamed up the Temptations with Smokey Robinson, a liaison that was to prove highly fruitful.

In 1963, Eldridge Bryant left the group (or was fired after physically attacking Paul Williams) and David Ruffin was recruited to the ranks, bringing to the music scene, what is considered by many to be, the 'classic' Temptations line-up. David's coarser delivery proved to be the perfect foil for Eddie Kendricks' softer falsetto style of singing. Between 1963 and 1965 the group recorded several chart hits, kicking off proceedings with 'The Way You Do The Things You Do'. 1965 saw the group hitting the number one spot with the song 'My Girl', with David Ruffin taking the lead. 'It's Growing', 'Since I Lost My Baby', 'My Girl' and 'Get Ready' followed on with varying levels of success into the following year.



A parent album was released entitled 'Temptations Sing Smokey', an album considered by many pundits to be the finest album of that decade. By the end of 1966, Smokey took a back seat as the groups Producer, with Norman Whitfield taking the helm. Norman was to be employed in this role for the following decade, teaming up with the singer / songwriter Barrett Strong. 'Ain't To Proud To Beg' was the initial release under the new tutelage. 'Beauty Is Only Skin Deep' made the Top Three, followed by 'I'm Losing You' and 'You're My Everything'.
The group also charted at the top spot with the classic song 'I Wish It Would Rain', the groups sixth number one tune. By this time, David Ruffin had taken on the role of singing lead, which led to requests that he had an individual credit for his efforts. This was refused and, after failing to appear at a 1968 live performance, the other four Temptations fired him and David left the line-up. The lead singer in the group the Contours, Dennis Edwards, was then drafted into the ranks.


Norman Whitfield, following a need to take the group in a new direction, moved the groups sound into an area that reflected the burgeoning psychedelic scene of the late Sixties. 'Cloud Nine' reflected this political shift with it's obvious drug connotations. The Civil Rights movement of the time also became reflected in Norman and Barrett Strongs writings, typified in the song 'Ball Of Confusion (That's What the World Is Today)'. The issues effecting teenagers were addressed by the song 'Runaway Child, Running Wild'. Personal issues were also addressed in the form of 'I Can't Get Next To You', a song that hit the number one spot. Even the Vietnam War came under Norman's scrutiny in the guise of 'Stop The War Now'.


Norman Whitfield set a musical styling that was way ahead of it's time and still influences the songwriters of today. The groups new direction left Eddie Kendricks feeling uncomfortable with his vocal stylings being suited more to a ballad format. He recorded some sides with the Supremes during the latter part of that decade. Eddie did receive the lead role on the number one hit 'Just My Imagination', a beautiful song, however, he was to leave the group in 1971 to pursue a solo career.


Richard Owens was then drafted in to replace Eddie, who was in turn substituted for Damon Harris the same year. Paul Williams then departed the group, replaced by another member of the Distants, Richard Street. In 1971, the group had a hit with 'Superstar (Remember How You Got Where You Are)'. The following year, the group scored another number one hit with the song 'Papa Was A Rolling Stone', a song that perfectly embodies the production techniques of Norman Whitfield. The song was later to win a Grammy Award.

Paul Williams, tragically, commited suicide in 1973 by shooting himself, following years of depression and drug abuse. Norman and Barrett's liaison ended the same year. The groups fortunes waned somewhat, although there were some excellent releases, including 'Masterpiece', The Plastic Man' and 'Let Your Hair Down' in 1973, followed by 'Happy People' two years later. In 1975, Norman Whitfield left Motown, Damon Harris had left the line-up, replaced by Glenn Leonard. 1976, saw Dennis Edwards leaving, Louis Price replacing him, and the group leaving Motown for the Atlantic imprint after the group recorded 1976's 'The Temptations Do the Temptations', their final album for Motown.

At Atlantic the group had a dabble with the disco market, releasing the LP's 'Bare Back' and 'Hear to Tempt You'. This change of labels brought the group little chart success resulting in a return to the Motown stable. Dennis Edwards rejoined the ranks and in 1980 the group released the album 'Power'.

In 1982, they teamed up with Rick James, recording the album 'Reunion', featuring the dancer 'Standing On The Top'. This album also saw a return to the fold for Eddie Kendricks and David Ruffin, however, this arrangement was to be shortlived. After the departure of the pair, Ron Tyson replaced Glenn Leonard, and Ali 'Ollie' Woodson took over the role of lead vocalist from Dennis Edwards. In 1984, the group charted again with the song 'Treat Her Like A Lady', their most successful song in a decade. The parent album produced several singles including the title song 'Truly For You'.



Tragedy struck in 1991 when David Ruffin died on the 1st of June 1991, after overdosing on cocaine. On the 5th of October 1992, Eddie Kendricks died at the age of 52 of lung cancer. In 1995, Melvin Franklin died after suffering a brain seizure, leaving Otis Williams (who published his autobiography in 1988) as the sole surviving founder member from the original line-up.

The Temptations continued to record and perform, achieving success in 1998 with their excellent outing 'Phoenix Rising' (featuring the band utilising a sample from 'My Girl'), on the excellent song 'Stay'. A new, Grammy winning, album arrived in the year 2000, entitled 'Ear-resistable' (on Motown), which was well received. The line-up was by now, Otis Williams, Harry McGilberry Jr. (later replaced by Joe Herndon, former bass singer for Pookie Hudson & The Spaniels), Terry Wayne Weeks, Barrington Scott Henderson and Ron Tyson.

In 2001, the Temptations returned to the recording studio recording the album 'Awesome'. In 2003, G.C. Cameron joined the groups ranks, and in 2004 the group released the album 'Legacy'. Harry McGilberry passed away on the 3rd of April 2006. The Temptations are, probably, the most enduring, hardworking and successful group in Soul Music.



Albums:

  • Meet The Temptations (Gordy 1964)
  • The Temptations Sing Smokey (Gordy 1965)
  • The Temptin' Temptations (Gordy 1965)
  • Gettin' Ready (Gordy 1966)
  • Temptations Live! (Gordy 1967)
  • With A Lot O'Soul (Gordy 1967)
  • The Temptations In A Mellow Mood (Gordy 1967)
  • Wish It Would Rain (Gordy 1968)
  • with Diana Ross And The Supremes: Diana Ross And The Supremes join The Temptations (Motown 1968)
  • with Diana Ross And The Supremes: TCB (Motown 1968)
  • Live At The Copa (Gordy 1968)
  • Cloud Nine (Gordy 1969)
  • The Temptations Show (Gordy 1969)
  • Puzzle People (Gordy 1969)
  • with Diana Ross And The Supremes: Together (Motown 1969)
  • with Diana Ross And The Supremes: On Broadway (Motown 1969)
  • Psychedelic Shack (Gordy 1970)
  • Live At London's Talk Of The Town (Gordy 1970)
  • The Temptations Christmas Card (Gordy 1970)
  • Sky's The Limit (Gordy 1971)
  • Solid Rock (Gordy 1972)
  • All Directions (Gordy 1972)
  • Masterpiece (Gordy 1973)
  • In Japan (1973)
  • 1990 (Gordy 1973)
  • A Song For You (Gordy 1975)
  • House Party (Gordy 1975)
  • Wings Of Love (Gordy 1976)
  • The Temptations Do The Temptations (Gordy 1976)
  • Hear To Tempt You (Atlantic 1977)
  • Bare Back (Atlantic 1978)
  • Power (Gordy 1980)
  • Give Love At Christmas (Gordy 1980)
  • The Temptations (Gordy 1981)
  • with David Ruffin and Eddie Kendricks: Reunion (Gordy 1982)
  • Surface Thrills (Gordy 1983)
  • Back To Basics (Gordy 1984)
  • Truly For You (Gordy 1984)
  • Touch Me (Gordy 1985)
  • To Be Continued ... (Gordy 1986)
  • Together Again (Motown 1987)
  • Special (Motown 1989) 
  • Milestone (Motown 1991)
  • For Lovers Only (1995)
  • Phoenix Rising (Motown 1998)
  • Live at San Pablo (2000)
  • Ear-resistable (Motown 2000)
  • Awesome (Motown 2001)
  • Legacy (Motown 2004)
  • Reflections (Motown 2006)
  • Back to Front (2007)
  • Still Here (2010)

EP
  • Just Let Me Know (1964)
  • It's Growing (1965)

COMPILATION


MISCELLANEOUS
  • "Ball Of Confusion"
  • "The Temptations" TV series soundtrack


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Dennis Edwards

Albums

  • Don't Look Any Further (Gordy 1984)
  • Coolin' Out (Gordy 1985)
Compilations
  • Essential Collection


Singles
  • Don't Look Any Further (Feat. Siegah Garrett) (1984)
  • Don't 'Look Any Further [12" Single] (1984)
  • Don't Look Any Further [Remix] (2008)
Resources



Special Thanks To
Bentley Funk, Never Enough Rhodes, Funk Classic Master, Boogie Palace, Baia boy, Fullundie, The Crooner's Corner, Oloraviejo, Avax, A Small Selection of Whatever Fills My Head, Love in the Ghetto, Taringa and ZAND.

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