welcomes Motown legends, The Temptations
by Antoinette Beaudry
performing in their fifth decade, youll love the way The Temptations
do the things they do on the amphitheatre stage of the Georgia
Frontiere Performing Arts Pavilion at the Sedona Cultural Park,
Their fine-tuned choreography and even finer harmonies,
led The Temptations to became Motowns definitive male vocal ensemble.
Theyve entered the 21st century with a long legacy of songs for
soul and R&B music lovers, along with a deeply entwined and
tumultuous band history.
My Girl, The Way You Do The Things You Do, and
Papa Was A Rolling Stone, became a part of American culture.
The Temptations initial five-man line-up formed
in Detroit in 1961 was a merger of two local vocal groups, the
Primes and the Distants. The Primes disbanded, but not before
Otis Williams saw them perform live, and was impressed both by
Eddie Kendricks silky tenor voice and Paul Williams choreography
skills. Soon, Otis Williams, Paul Williams, Melvin Franklin, Bryant
and Kendricks joined together as the Elgins. Signed by Berry Gordy
Jr., the group renamed themselves The Temptations on the front
law of Motowns offices in 1961.
Choreographer Cholly Atkins joined the band in
1963 to add polish to Paul Williams street-wise steps. Later that
year, Bryant left and David Ruffin joined the group. Ruffin brought
excitement to the group - the wide, horn-rimmed glasses, emotional
facial expressions, and electrifying moves and straining shouts.
Combined with Franklins booming bass, Paul Williams smooth sounds,
and Otis Williams baritone vocal prowess, they were on the road
to staggering success. The hits kept coming through 1968. The
most significant event of the year however was Ruffins leaving
for a solo career.
At first viewed an insurmountable blow, but The
Temptations overcame Ruffins departure by replacing him with the
strong voice of ex-Contour Dennis Edwards and adopting a new psychedelic
soul-sounding style. In 1969, Cloud Nine brought both the group
and Motown its first Grammy. Despite more transitions in band
members, the Temptations continued to blaze trails with Superstar
and Papa Was A Rolling Stone, bringing two more Grammys and keeping
the groups fortunes going.
Over three decades, the band had tremendous career
highs and lows, they struggled through countless members, broken
relationships, coke addiction, alcoholism, suicide, cancer, deadly
arthritis, and still produced 37 career Top Ten hits. In short,
all the melodramatic devices necessary for a TV miniseries, which
they were the subject of in 1998. That same year, The Temptations
made a dramatic comeback with Phoenix Rising and in the spring
of 2000 they released Earresistible.
Again, riding on the crest of an ever mounting
wave of popularity and playing to sold-out audiences nationwide,
The Temptations sweet, smooth songs and voices, shimmering clothes,
and smooth choreography have been the trade mark of what arguably
might be Americas original boy band.
Their charismatic performance style and brilliant
voices are as enchanting today as they were when My Girl was released
in 1965. Dont miss The Emperors of Soul, this July at the Park.