Top 10 Singles

    1965: " My Girl"
    1966: " Get Ready"
    1966: " Ain't Too Proud to Beg"
    1966: " Beauty Is Only Skin Deep"
    1967: " (I Know) I'm Losing You"
    1967: "All I Need"
    1967: "You're My Everything"
    1968: " I Wish It Would Rain"
    1968: " I Could Never Love Another (After Loving You)"
    1968 " Cloud Nine"
    1968: " I'm Gonna Make You Love Me" Diana Ross & the Supremes and the Temptations)
    1969: " Run Away Child, Running Wild"
    1969: " I Can't Get Next to You"
    1970: " Psychedelic Shack"
    1970: " Ball of Confusion (That's What the World Is Today)"
    1971: " Just My Imagination (Running Away with Me)"
    1972: " Papa Was a Rollin' Stone"
    1973: "Masterpiece"
    1973: "Let Your Hair Down"
    1974: "Happy People"
    1975: "Shakey Ground"
    1991: "The Motown Song" Rod Stewart featuring The Temptations)
    1992: " My Girl" (reissue)

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The Temptations (abbreviated as "The Temps" or "The Tempts") are a Grammy-winning vocal group that achieved fame as one of the most successful acts to record for Motown Records. The group's repertoire has included, at various times during its five-decade career, R&B, doo-wop, funk, disco, soul, and adult contemporary music. Formed in Detroit, Michigan in 1960 as The Elgins, the Temptations have always featured at least four African American male vocalists/dancers. The group, known for its recognizable choreography, distinct harmonies, and onstage 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 one of the most successful groups in 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 2007, the Temptations continue to perform and record for Universal Records with only one original member, founder Otis Williams, in its lineup. The original group included members of two local Detroit vocal groups: The Distants, which featured second tenor/baritone Otis Williams, first tenor Elbridge "Al" Bryant and bass Melvin Franklin; and first tenor/falsetto Eddie Kendricks and second tenor/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 (another former Distant), Damon Harris, Ron Tyson, Ali-Ollie Woodson, Theo Peoples, and G.C. Cameron. Like its sister female group, the Supremes, the Temptations' lineup has changed frequently over the years. Over the course of their career, the Temptations have released four Billboard Hot 100 number-one singles and 14 Billboard R&B number-one singles. Their material has earned them three Grammy Awards, while two more awards were conferred upon the songwriters and producers who crafted their 1972 hit "Papa Was a Rollin' Stone".


The Classic Five era

In January 1964, Smokey Robinson and Miracles bandmate Bobby Rogers co-wrote and produced "The Way You Do the Things You Do" with Eddie Kendricks on lead. The single became the Temptations' first Top 20 hit that April. "The Way You Do The Things You Do" and several pre-David Ruffin singles were compiled onto the group's first album, Meet The Temptations, released in 1964.

While traveling as part of Motown's Motortown Revue later that year Robinson and another fellow Miracle, Ronnie White, wrote a song for the emotive Ruffin to sing lead on, which the group recorded in the fall of 1964. Released as a single on December 24, 1964, "My Girl", became the Temptations' first number-one pop hit in March 1965, and is their signature song to this day.

After the success of "My Girl", Ruffin sang 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. The b-side to "My Baby", "Don't Look Back", featured a stirring lead from Paul Williams, and was a sleeper hit on the R&B charts and a standard for vocal groups playlists.

Norman Whitfield had requested the opportunity to write for the group. In 1966, he was given the opportunity- should Robinson's "Get Ready" fail to chart in the Top 20, the next song would be his. "Get Ready" missed the mark, and Whitfield's "Ain't Too Proud to Beg" was released. The song did well, and Whitfield was made the group's main producer. He began pushing the group away from Robinson's ballad-based production towards a harder-edged and brass-heavy soul sound reminiscent of the work of James Brown.

Nearly all of the pre-1968 Whitfield-produced Temptations singles featured David Ruffin on lead vocals, including the R&B number-one/pop Top 10 hits "Beauty Is Only Skin Deep" and "(I Know) I'm Losing You". Other important singles from this period included the incredibly popular, "You're My Everything", on which Kendricks and Ruffin share lead vocals, and "All I Need", produced by Whitfield's protégé Frank Wilson.

Whitfield's writing partners during this period included Roger Penzabene, Temptations road show manager and guitarist Cornelius Grant, and Edward Holland, Jr.. After Eddie Holland left Motown with the rest of the Holland-Dozier-Holland songwriting/production team in 1967, Barrett Strong (who sang Motown's very first hit, 1960's "Money (That's What I Want)") began working with Whitfield and Penzabene on Temptations material. Two of Whitfield/Strong/Penzabene's collaborations, "I Wish It Would Rain" and "I Could Never Love Another (After Loving You)", became hits in 1968. Strong became Whitfield's sole collaborator after Penzabene's suicide in December 1967

The Motown Sound (1961–1968)

Following their first Motown hit, the group would alter their style several times over the ensuing years, adapting to the popular styles of the day while retaining their signature visual and vocal styles. The earliest Temptations recordings backed by Motown's stalwart studio band, the Funk Brothers, reflect the influence of producers Berry Gordy and Smokey Robinson, and featured a cohesive blend of black rhythm and blues along with elements of white pop music that later came to be known as the "Motown Sound". Recordings made prior to 1966 such as "My Girl", were built around songs with simple, direct lyrics supported by an R&B rhythm section with orchestral strings and horns added for pop appeal. During this period, each recording usually featured only one lead singer, usually David Ruffin or Eddie Kendricks, although Paul Williams, Melvin Franklin, and Otis Williams each had solo numbers of their own at various times during this period.

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Top Ten albums

    1966: Greatest Hits

    1967: Temptations Live!

    1967: The Temptations with a Lot o' Soul

    1968: Diana Ross & the Supremes Join the Temptations

    1968: TCB (with Diana Ross & The Supremes)

    1969: Cloud Nine

    1969: Puzzle People

    1970: Psychedelic Shack

    1972: All Directions

    1973: Masterpiece

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