With hits like “My Girl” or “Papa Was A Rollin’ Stone”, the Temptations shaped a great soul era. Today, they look back on six decades in the music business – with new songs and lots of nostalgia.
Worldwide hits, Grammys and a musical based on their own story: the Temptations can rightly be celebrated as soul legends. And that’s what’s happening now with “Temptations 60”, an album full of new songs that comes out almost a little too late.
In fact, the band, founded in 1960 around original remaining member Otis Williams, has been on the road for 62 years – according to the website on an “epic journey of courage, struggle, triumph, setbacks and ultimately success from international superstar”.
Motown Era Memories
With “When We Were Kings”, a typically buttery-sounding song from the Temptations of the 60s, the still fabulous singers between falsetto and bass celebrate their peak as a guaranteed hit for the Detroit Motown label – including lovely quotes from them – same (“My Girl”, “Daddy was a rolling stone”).
On “Is It Gonna Be Yes Or No,” they are produced and backed by Smokey Robinson, another icon of the musical era. “How Do You Spell Love” echoes their number one hit “Just My Imagination” from 1971.
“Time For The People” convinces as groovy political funk and reminds us that the Temptations also sometimes indulged in a rougher, socially critical “psychedelic soul”. “Come On” at the end then recounts in Williams’ words once again the development of what is perhaps the greatest vocal group in African-American pop music.
“Our new album brings our heritage into focus,” says the now 80-year-old frontman. ‘Temptations 60’ is an entertaining journey back in time to the early days of rhythm ‘n’ blues and pop, an elegant career record – even if the hip-hop-cut opener ‘Let It Reign’ with rapper K. Sparks and a couple of little thinner songs fall in between.
To crown their anniversary, the five elderly gentlemen soon want to go on an international tour. And the Broadway musical “Ain’t Too Proud: The Life and Times of The Temptations”, nominated for various Tony Awards, will also be performed again. The fact that these musicians have also influenced many popular “retro soul” singers – from Michael Kiwanuka to Leon Bridges and Durand Jones to Curtis Harding – will give them extra joy at the official anniversary celebration. (dpa)