Monday, July 26, 2010

Great Band "The Temptations"

The TemptationsImage by vidalia_11 via Flickr
By Albert J Franklin

Tired of being in two separate bands that appeared to be going nowhere, Otis Williams, Melvin Franklin and Elbridge Bryant decided it was time to take things into their own hands. In 1961 they joined together, along with former Primes musicians Paul Williams and Eddie Kendricks, to create an all male singing sensation called Elgin. Having recorded several songs, the band decided to rename their group and so they called themselves the Temptations.

The group started slow, recording song after song, none of which would ever become hits. Since the band had prided itself on being an all male singing group consisting of six members, a gap was torn in them when Bryant made a physical attack against Paul Williams in 1963. Although it is unclear if Bryant was then kicked out of the band or if he left on his own, he left a hole in the heart of the Temptations. When David Ruffin joined it was as if the world finally woke up to their sound. Legend Smokey Robinson signed on to help with the lyric and music writing, and to also produce their sounds.

In 1968 the Temptations suffered quite the blow when David Ruffin decided to take on a solo career, a move that he would later regret as he failed miserably for a long time afterwards. When Dennis Edwards joined the group, he brought with him a breath of fresh air and helped the band grow in terms of sound and lyrics. In 1971 Kendricks quit the band to also try a solo career. He would prove to be more successful at this task than David Ruffin had been. A little later down the road, Paul Williams quit the band as well with a drinking problem, and was later found dead in his car. He had committed suicide.

The Temptations brought in performer Richard Street and began to record more types of music other than ballads. Over the next few years the band went through some major changes. They became bored with their label and began their own. Dennis Edwards kept joining and leaving the band before making his final decision and teaming up with former Temptations, Eddie Kendricks and David Ruffin, who by this time had climbed the ladder of success.

In 1991 David Ruffin died of a drug overdose. Only one short year later, Eddie Kendricks was taken down by lung cancer. Later on, Melvin Franklin would die of a heart attack followed by a severe brain seizure. As the only remaining original member of the Temptations, Otis Williams assisted in releasing a few more albums and winning several awards that included a Grammy award in 2000. After over forty years of ups and downs with his group, Williams is proud of what they all accomplished. With several chart-topping hits, the tragedies endured, successes in their personal lives, and the experience of a lifetime, it is no wonder their group is still known worldwide as one of the greatest of all time.

Albert Franklin
University of Manchester
United Kingdom

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