As I like to say, "The story goes on..." Here's the latest from the world of The Temptations:





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The Temptations Live March 2008 in England


President George W. Bush joins the Temptations on stage in the East Room of the White House Tuesday, Feb. 12, 2008, after they performed during the celebration of African American History Month.
President Bush speaks about Otis .... "... Otis Williams remembers his mother packing food for their move from Texas -- oh, what a tragic mistake -- (laughter) -- to Detroit. She did so because restaurants along the route refused to serve African Americans. In Detroit, Otis Williams grew up to become the leader of one of the most successful vocal groups in the history of our country: the Temptations. This group has recorded 37 Top 40 singles -- including four Number One hits on the pop charts. Their success paved the way for other African American artists. Their melodies continue bringing Americans of all races together to this day. Otis can remember performing in a venue in South Carolina, where blacks and whites in the crowd were separated by a barrier. The next year when the Temptations returned, the racial divide was gone. As Otis once put it, "The highest achievement for me has been ...to have our music penetrate all kinds of barriers -- for it to be colorless." The music of the Temptations has given countless Americans sunshine on a cloudy day -- (laughter) -- and we cannot help ourselves from loving them. (Laughter.) ..." Copy link to address bar for live footage!!! http://mfile.akamai.com/5913/wmv/whitehouse.download.akamai.com/5913/2008/02/20080212-3.v.asx

BENJAMIN WRIGHT – GREAT FRIEND AND MUSICAL COLLABORATOR
Benjamin Wright (Ben) has been working with the Temps for over thirty years. He is a great man to create music with and a friend for life. Last June, while recording ‘Back To Front’ in Ben’s home-based recording studio we sat down and talked. Here is some of what Ben had to say.

I have been working with Otis since 1976 when a President at Motown said I should be the Musical Director for the Temptations. Right then, I moved to Los Angeles and went on the road as the Musical Director. Quickly I was in the producer and arranger chair on the album ‘Temptations Do Temptations.’

A great joy is writing songs with Otis. A highlight was composing ‘You Are So Necessary.’
Otis and I are best friends too. A lot of friendships don’t last this long – over thirty years.


+++

Thank's Ben for sharing your friendship and your inspiring musical talent for all these years.

Peace,

Otis


TEMPTATIONS NEW RECORD ‘BACK TO FRONT’ NOW AVAILABLE ON ITUNES
I'm happy to announce the birth of our latest collection of songs. These are very special songs to me. When I first heard Sting's "If You Love Somebody, Set Them Free" I liked it quite a lot. Now that I have had the opportunity to sing this song with fellow Temps under the guidance of our music arranger and producer Ben Wright I LOVE this song. Our new recording features songs The Temps all have some personal attachment to and we hope you do too.

You can buy it by clicking here.

We had a lot of fun mastering "Never Never Gonna Give Ya Up" (the ageless Barry White smash), Sam and Dave's seminal "Hold On, I'm Comin'," the Staple Singers' self-assuring "Respect Yourself," the Bee Gees' monumental "How Deep Is Your Love" and the timeless standard "Let It Be Me" as well as "(Every Time I Turn Around) Back In Love Again" (popularized by L.T.D. with Jeffrey Osborne). Also featured are "Wake Up Everybody" (the crossover giant from Philly soul legends Harold Melvin and the Blue Notes featuring Teddy Pendergrass), "I'm In Love," "Minute By Minute" (the Doobie Brothers' hit), "Don't Ask My Neighbors" and "Love Ballad," (made popular by jazz giant George Benson).

We also took the time to revisit and record some of our Temp favorites -- "Just My Imagination (Running Away With Me), "Get Ready", "Ain't Too Proud To Beg," and "Treat Her Like A Lady."

I hope you enjoy these recordings -- we dug in deep to make these songs come alive for you all over again or, maybe for the first time.

Peace,

Otis


TEMPTATIONS FEATURED IN MUSICIAN BIOPIC SPOOF
'WALK HARD: THE DEWEY COX STORY'


Columbia Pictures' new spoof on serious musician biopics (think - Ray and Walk The Line) features a cameo by The Temptations.

Co-written and produced by Judd Apatow (Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby; Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy) and co-written, produced, and directed by Jake Kasdan, John C. Reilly stars as the larger-than-life musician and songwriter Dewey Cox. Behind the music is the up-and-down-and-up-again story of a musician whose songs would change a nation. On his rock n roll spiral, Cox sleeps with 411 women, marries three times, has 22 kids and 14 stepkids, stars in his own 70s TV show, collects friends ranging from Elvis to the Beatles to a chimp, and gets addicted to and then kicks every drug known to man. But despite it all, Cox grows into a national icon and eventually earns the love of a good woman - longtime backup singer Darlene (Jenna Fischer).

You'll have to wait until Christmas to see this flick. For now, check out the preview by clicking here.


AMERICA’S TWO MOST HISTORIC AFRICAN AMERICAN FAMILIES MEET THE TEMPTATIONS - by Ed Hines
July 28, 2007. It was a historic night at the Wolf Trap Center For the Performing Arts in Vienna, VA. The Honorable Kris Amundson (D-44th), Member of The House of Delegates to the General Assembly and representatives from Gum Springs, Groveton and Spring Bank, VA in the Mount Vernon area of Fairfax County, VA met with The Temptations. The legendary musical group was presented with proclamations and awards from all three communities who are “Participating Communities” in Jamestown, 2007, America’s 400th Anniversary. State Delegate Amundson, acting as Mistress of Ceremony, presented The Temptations with Proclamations, naming them, “The Temptations: An American Institution, Ambassadors of Music & Goodwill and America’s Cultural Gift to Mankind.”

Dr. Judith Saunders Burton, from the Gum Springs community, great-great-great granddaughter of West Ford, foreman of the slaves at George Washington’s Mount Vernon plantation and founder of Gum Springs, VA (1833) then presented Otis Williams, only living founding member of The Temptations with the “Anthony Johnson Founder’s Legacy Award” in honor of “The First African-American Landowner in America.”

Next, Ms. Charlotte Brown, Historian of the Groveton community, (Remember The Titans), was introduced. Ms. Brown’s ancestral lines include Dr. John Woodson, who traveled with Governor George Yeardley to Jamestown, VA in 1619 and helped establish Flowerdew, the first plantation in “The New World.” Her other noted ancestors include President Thomas Jefferson, First Lady Dolly Madison and the infamous outlaws Frank and Jesse James.

Mrs. Alberta Hines-Webb, of the Spring Bank community, great granddaughter of Charles Henry Quander, the first African-American settler of Spring Bank, VA presented Joe Herndon, bass singer of The Temptations with the “John Pedro Heritage Legacy Award” in honor of the “Second Largest African-American Landowner & The First Martyr In America.” The Quanders are the oldest documented African American family in America (1684).

Mr. Terrence D. Jones, President, CEO of The Wolf Trap Foundation also attended the event and addressed the audience that included residents from all three communities, including churchgoers, fans and relatives. Mrs. Lucille Watkins and her daughters, Mrs. Joan Watkins-Cheeks and Mrs. Denise Watkins-Robinson, aunt and cousins respectively of Joe Herndon and other members of the Mount Calvary Baptist Church in Spring Bank were among the fans and supporters. Mr. Ralph Herndon, brother of Joe Herndon and Choir Director of the Alfred Street Baptist Church (1803) in Alexandria, VA was also on hand beaming with pride. The Alfred Street Baptist Church is the oldest African-American congregation in the Washington-Maryland-Virginia area and one of the oldest in the United States.

The group then took to the stage and did what they do best – entertained and thrilled the crowd with their numerous hits, “Get Ready”, “My Girl”, and “Papa Was A Rolling Stone” among many others. “Stay” a favorite among the ladies, brought the house down. The Jamestown Celebrations are only held once every fifty years. Gum Springs, Groveton and Spring Bank, VA certainly wrote their place in history on this very special night!



THANK YOU VANCOUVER
Vancouver's historic musical venue 'The Cave' hosted The Temptations throughout the sixties. Fans lined up around the entire building waiting to get into the tiny Cave. Mowtown would often send us there to test out new material, workout the kinks, break in a new act. What I remember the most about the Cave was the appreciative audiences. The Cave may be a distant memory but Vancouver's great audiences are still going and growing - thank you Vancouver fans. On August 5 we performed at the Royal Theatre and once again Vancouver welcomed us with open arms. A highlight from the trip was speaking with John Threlfall a music historian and Arts Editor for Monday Magazine, an alternative weekly newspaper based in Victoria, B.C. Thanks John for a thoughtful article that captures the enduring spirit of the Temptations.

Get ready for the Temptations - A Tempting Fate

Their name is synonymous with Motown and their legacy is a laundry list of hits: 'Papa Was A Rolling Stone', 'Ain't Too Proud to Beg', 'The Way You Do The Thing You Do', 'Get Ready.' But as with any long-running group (the Stones, the Ink Spots), the Temptations will mean different things to you, depending on your age. For some, they're responsible for that annoying 'My Girl' ringtone on your friend's cell phone; for others, they're best known as that group on The Big Chill soundtrack. For anyone who came of age during the '60s, however, the Temptations had all the right music (and moves) to help change America.

Forty-five years and nearly 40 top-40 hits later, Temptations co-founder Otis Williams is still on the road with the Detroit legend he helped create, boasting one of the longest track-records of any continuously performing artist. But at 66 and well into his fifth performance decade, doesn't he get tired of spending between 35 and 40 weeks a year on the road' 'Yeah, we stay busier than a blind dog in a meat market,' Williams chuckles, his voice deep and accent smooth. 'But it's been a labour of love, even if it has been up and down'but you're gonna have up and down periods every day of your life, even if you're not a Temptation.'

It's an appropriate name, given the group's often checkered history of departing members, internal acrimony and lifestyle abuses. (One notorious example is former lead singer Dave Ruffin'the iconic voice on 'My Girl''who, after being fired from the band in the late '60s, started showing up at Temptations shows in the audience, only to jump on stage, start singing and steal the spotlight on the hits he helped define.) The road to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame is indeed filled with all manner of temptations, which is why Williams (inducted 1989) is so particular about who carries the name today. 'Talent is secondary,' says Williams of the more than 20 singers who have shared the quintet's mantle over the years (with the most recent line-up change happening only six weeks ago). 'I'm more interested in their real essence: Do they have morals and values - Can they work within the confines of a group; be on time, not get in trouble, get drunk or start fighting'' While he's speaking in general terms, Williams could well be (and likely is) running through a checklist of past temptations - both literal and figurative. 'I mean, you can have all the talent in the world, but if you're an asshole, you'll just negate that,' he continues. 'No one man is greater than the sum total-and the sum total is that 11-letter word: Temptations. You get some guys who start thinking they're better and greater than the name, but that's just not true.'

I mention the idea that the Temptations provided the soundtrack for an era. 'That's true,' Williams agrees. 'Before the '60s, black music wasn't getting the validity it should have had, but here comes Motown'and the Beatles, who always mentioned James Brown, Otis Redding and other black acts as their influence - and suddenly white America starts to focus on black music and make it more acceptable. For me, Motown and the Beatles were shoulder-to-shoulder in bringing fantastic music that changed the world . . . and, I'd like to think, changed it for the better. It was such a troubled time; our music was like an ointment that helped soothe the soul.'

When it comes to performing those classic hits, what goes through his head decades later' 'I'll tell you about 'Papa was a Rolling Stone',' he says. 'We didn't want to do it'we were getting tired of doing the psychedelic soul thing'but there was our late great choreographer Cholly Atkins teaching us the moves. And what was on TV was the Munich Olympics, where the Jewish athletes were killed. We could hardly do our choreography for wanting to get back to watching that.'

But even though much of their legacy is behind them, the Temptations still do more than just tour. Williams says they're appearing in a move this fall (Walk Hard), there's talk of a biographical Broadway musical and they've got a new CD coming out this fall: Back To Front, an album of cover tunes. 'When you do a popular song that's already taken on some iconic value of its own, you better be able to throw down or leave it alone,' he says, noting tracks like 'Hold On, I'm Coming' by Sam and Dave, and 'Wake Up Everybody' by Harold Melvin and the Blue Notes. 'If you're going to mess with songs like that, you've got to do it just as good or better - if you don't, you'll hear about it in record sales and bad reviews. But I listen to what we did on Back To Front, and I know we can hold our heads up and still be proud of what we did.'

Singing classic Motown melodies, covering other artists . . . what's Williams think of today's music? 'Not too much,' he deadpans. 'By and large, a great majority of it just sucks. Half of them can't even sing, there's no melody, no harmony, no lyrical content . . . they don't leave a damn thing to your imagination. A lot of them don't have the talent or the willpower to sit down and work at it.' Williams mentions a few current artists who stand as exceptions - John Legend, Alicia Keys, Beyoncé - but the names are few. 'Thank god we still have some stalwarts like Prince and Stevie [Wonder], still doing their thing, still being great artists who can come up with innovative stuff, who can keep it real.'

And with enough ex-members out there to keep Vegas steeped in Temptations tribute acts for the next five decades, is Williams content to keep on singing, keep that legacy alive? 'As long as I have the ability and the strength, and it's still fun - which is the operative word for what we do,' he says. 'I've been very thankful that God has let me weather all the different changes we've gone through. We've always been given a sign that the Temptations should continue.' He pauses and seems to look for a way to sum it all up.

'Performing is a breeze,' the last of the original Temptations concludes. 'The only thing that takes the starch out of your booty is the ungodly hours of traveling.'

-John Threlfall


GET READY DVD GOES PLATINUM
Thanks to you, since its release in September, 2006, over 100,000 copies of 'Get Ready-Definitive Performances 1965-1972' have been purchased. Now certified PLATINUM, 'Get Ready' is the first-ever official Temptations performance DVD. It includes original classic live and lip-sync performances of some of our biggest Motown hits, stunning audio with all lip-sync performances restored using original stereo master tapes, hardly-seen color footage of the group in the studio recording "Sorry Is A Sorry Word".

Interestingly, the Temptations were part of the evolution of how pop music was presented on television. It is tricky to present music on television - even in today's world. So, a lot of people lip-sync to their records. Motown records sounded great on the radio but fell flat on television. So Berry Gordy decided to record the shows band and the Temptations background vocals then mixed it for each and every one of our television appearances. Then the lead singer would sing live with the pre-recorded piece. This is still done today. I hope you enjoy these one of a kind performances - click here


New Photos
New photos are available on the gallery page, which contains more than thirty photos. Some are from the old days and others are from recent live performances. Check it out!

Click Here


LADIES ONLY! LADIES ONLY!
Finally we answered your call! No need to alter those oversized men's t-shirts -- you can put away your scissors and look stylish in tees made exclusively for 'My Girls'!

Click here to visit the store.





NEW INTERVIEW
I sat down and chatted with DJ Souleo from Providence Rhode Island's historic WBRU (95.5). Click here to listen in.

TEMPTATIONS AND RHODE ISLAND POPS WILL RECREATE MOTOWN SOUND
Rick Massimo Providence Journal writer describes our work with the Rhode Island Pops. Check it out by clicking here.

Ain't Too Proud To Brag
Erik Loyd, staff writer for Bakersfield's Californian, interviewed me a few weeks back. I thought I'd pass it along to you. Thanks Erik for writing an insightful article. And thanks to the Bakersfield Central Valley fans for a wonderful evening. Temptations founder delves into the band's success and the power of Motown on eve of Bakersfield show.

If America ever had an effective counterpunch to the British Invasion of the 1960s, it was the Motown hit factory. While the Brits gave us the Beatles, Rolling Stones, Kinks and The Who, Detroit churned out hit after soulful hit from the likes of Smokey Robinson, The Four Tops, The Supremes and the Temptations.

The Temps was the flagship male act of Berry Gordy's powerhouse label, Motown Records. The group scored chart-topping hits, sold millions of records and became one of pop's strongest influences. The Temps' sharp, tailored suits, cool vocals and distinctive dance steps took soul revue to a new level of excellence.

Read More


TEMPTATIONS RECEIVE KEYS TO RALEIGH.
On February 24, 2007, Mayor Charles Meeker and his gracious staff awarded us the keys to Raleigh, North Carolina.

FANS AS FAR AS THE EYE COULD SEE
Scorching Heat Doesn't Stop Fans. Braving some of the highest temperatures in history, a record breaking crowd of over 40,000 filled New Haven Green for a most memorable performance. Thanks to all of the fans -- some of whom traveled over 1200 miles round trip. Without you none of this would be possible. Phil Helsel of the New Haven Register thank you for writing this piece - it captures the spirit of a wonderful summer night. Check out Phil's article by searching for 'The Temptations' at www.nhregister.com.

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