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.)
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'.
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.)
Otis Williams (b. Otis Clayborn Williams, 30th October 1941, Texarkana, Texas, U.S.A. His mother was Hazel Lee Williams)
Kell Osborne (b. 12th March 1939, Birmingham, Alabama, U.S.A. d. 29th January 2012, U.S.A.)
...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, b. Fairfield, Alabama, U.S.A. d. 1st February 2018, Chicago, Illinois, 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. Otis Robert Harris, Jr., 3rd July 1950, Baltimore Maryland, U.S.A. d. 18th February 2013, Joseph Richey Hospice, 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 Allen Street, 5th October 1942, Detroit, Michigan, U.S.A. d. 27th February 2013, Las Vegas, Nevada, 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. d. 30th May 2010, Woodland Hills, Los Angeles County, California, 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.)
Theo Peoples (b. Theoplis Peoples III, 1961, St. Louis Missouri, U.S.A.)
Cornelius Grant (guitarist and musical director, b 27th April 1943, Navarro County, Texas, U.S.A.)
Bruce Wiliamson Jnr. (b. 20th September 1970, Los Angeles, California, U.S.A. d. 6th September 2020, Las Vegas, Nevada, 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).
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'.
at the apollo
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.
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'.
whitfield & strong
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 fto 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.
the temptations 1977
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'.
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'.
ruffin & kendricks
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 Jnr. (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.
Kell Osborne passed away in January 2012.
Dennis Edwards passed away in 2018.
bruce williamson jnr.
Bruce Williamson Jnr. passed away from complications of Covid-19, in September 2020.
The Temptations are, probably, the most enduring, hardworking and successful group in Soul Music.
as the Temptations:
Meet The Temptations (Gordy Records 1964)
The Temptations Sing Smokey (Gordy Records 1965)
The Temptin' Temptations (Gordy Records 1965)
Gettin' Ready (Gordy Records 1966)
Temptations Live! (Gordy Records 1967)
With A Lot O'Soul (Gordy Records 1967)
The Temptations In A Mellow Mood (Gordy Records 1967)
Wish It Would Rain (Gordy Records 1968)
as the Temptations with Diana Ross And The Supremes:
Diana Ross And The Supremes join The Temptations (Motown Records 1968)
TGB (Motown Records 1968)
as the Temptations:
Live At The Copa (Gordy Records 1968)
Cloud Nine (Gordy Records 1969)
The Temptations Show (Gordy Records 1969)
Puzzle People (Gordy Records 1969)
as the Temptations with Diana Ross And The Supremes:
Together (Motown Records 1969)
On Broadway (Motown Records 1969)
as the Temptations:
Psychedelic Shack (Gordy Records 1970)
Live At London's Talk Of The Town (Gordy Records 1970)
The Temptations Christmas Card (Gordy Records 1970)
Sky's The Limit (Gordy Records 1971)
Solid Rock (Gordy Records 1972)
All Directions (Gordy Records 1972)
Masterpiece (Gordy Records 1973)
1990 (Gordy Records 1973)
A Song For You (Gordy Records 1975)
House Party (Gordy Records 1975)
Wings Of Love (Gordy Records 1976)
The Temptations Do The Temptations (Gordy Records 1976)
Hear To Tempt You (Atlantic Records 1977)
Bare Back (Atlantic Records 1978)
Power (Gordy Records 1980)
Give Love At Christmas (Gordy Records 1980)
The Temptations (Gordy Records 1981)
as the Temptations with David Ruffin and Eddie Kendricks:
Reunion (Gordy Records 1982)
as the Temptations:
Surface Thrills (Gordy Records 1983)
Back To Basics (Gordy Records 1984)
Truly For You (Gordy Records 1984)
Touch Me (Gordy Records 1985)
To Be Continued ... (Gordy Records 1986)
Together Again (Motown Records 1987)
Special (Motown Records 1989)
Milestone (Motown Records 1991)
Phoenix Rising (Motown Records 1998)
Ear-resistable (Motown Records 2000)
Awesome (Motown Records 2001)
Legacy (Motown Records 2004)
Reflections (Motown Records 2006)
Back To Front (New Door Records 2008)
Still Here (10/30 International Records 2010)
All The Time (UME Direct Records 2018)