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date: 20 October 2020

Temptations, thelocked

  • Rob Bowman

Extract

American soul and rhythm and blues vocal group. They came together in Detroit in 1961 when Eddie Kendricks (1939–92) and Paul Williams (1939–73), formerly of the Primes, joined forces with Melvin Franklin (1942–95), Otis Williams (b 1941) and Eldridge Bryant of the Distants. They were signed to Motown as the Elgins (their name was quickly changed to the Temptations by Berry Gordy); most of their recordings were released on the subsidiary label Gordy records. Between 1962 and 1994 the group had an astonishing 82 singles in the American rhythm and blues chart, 52 of which also entered the pop charts. In 1963 David Ruffin replaced Bryant, forming the Temptations' classic line-up. Ruffin possessed a gruff baritone that was juxtaposed by their producer, Smokey Robinson, with Eddie Kendricks's sweeping falsetto. The results were such classic records as The Way You Do the Things You Do...

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