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The Temptations:How sex,drugs,conflict and ego ruined the Classic five.
The Temptations were one of the pioneers of the showmanship that many black music groups are now known for , they were one complete singing group where all the classic five as they Were then Known could sing and could dance, in short their choreography in modern day Could only be Matched by New Edition.
The Temptations Early times
The classic Five were Otis Williams, Melvin Franklin, Paul Williams, Eddie Kendricks and David Ruffin. In the beginning Otis Williams had a singing group which originally consisted of Melvin Franklin, Aly Bryant, James Crawford, Richard Street and Otis, these five succeeded in securing a record deal With Johnnie Mae, a record label owner who swindled them out of the royalties from the first record which was a minor hit. Then One Night in 1960 while performing at a community centre, in walked a local star and his group (Smokey Robinson and the Miracles) they were accompanied by a song writer/Businessman who was about starting his record label, his name was Berry Gordy, the guy who later introduced us to The Jacksons and Stevie Wonder. After their performance Otis and Berry met in The Restroom where they both came to ease themselves, Berry commended their performance and said if they were not happy with their record label they could come to him. later Richard And James started losing interest in the whole thing as a result they were let go. Their places Were filled by two guys who where a hot duo known as the Primes (Eddie Kendricks and Paul Williams) they brought choreography into the group and showmanship, this new addition to Otis and the Distants now made the Group a complete group and the name was now changed To the Elgins.
After the nasty experience they had with Johnnie Mae ,they decided to meet with Berry Gordy at Hitsville the Building that housed the Motown record label, they auditioned for him using one of their original composition which was not used at Johnnie Mae's label and Berry was Impressed with what he heard and signed them up to Motown, but they had to change their Name because another band had already been using the name so they changed to the Temptations. The group was structured in such a way that the royalties and performance fees were paid Into an account that required only the signature of either Otis or Melvin's to draw a check, While the choreography was handled by Paul Williams and Cholly Atkins, a professional hired by Motown for all the acts on the label, Eddie handled the wardrobe .
The first single "mother of mine " was released on a subsidiary of Motown label which
Was not a hit, a couple of not so successful singles were released but none of this got on To the chart, on these singles both Paul and Eddie handled the lead vocals between themselves. Sometimes in 1963 Al's drinking was beginning to affect his performance and input in the band Even though everyone except Paul Williams drank and he was the teetotaler who always warned all other members that drinking too much could ruin their health, Al's drinking problem got to a stage that other group members had started scouting for his replacement, at that time two Brothers who were singers with singles that were not hits used to come around to Otis house They were the Ruffin brothers (David and Jimmy) they were both fantastic singers.
One night at a venue David Ruffin came out to sing with the group on stage, it was one great Performance and as they retired into their dressing room, the crowd wanted more and Al was ready for it but Paul was worn out and explained to Al who was not going to take No For an answer, he got a beer bottle and hit Paul in the face missing his eyes which landed Paul in the hospital where he was treated the group except Paul felt it was time to let him go , Paul pleaded for him but his attitude to work did not improve and so he was kicked out of the group and replaced with David Ruffin and with Dave's inclusion the classic five Came into being in the history of the temptations.
The Temptations Featuring David Ruffin