The Temptations are the face of Motown and will continue to be for the foreseeable future. This group has been touring since the 1960s and garnered national acclaim as the first of the Motown Sound to make the big breakthrough. Even now in a new century this band of five have been able to entertained venues packed with Temptations tickets holders eagerly awaiting the men in matching suits choreograph one of the best concerts of the year.
The current lineup features the lone living member of the original troupe. In fact, Otis Williams is also the architect who first thought to end the rivalry between the Primes and the Distants to form a super Motown group, one soon to be known as the Temptations. This group, with Eddie Kendricks and Paul Williams mostly responsible for the lead and Melvin Franklin and Al Bryant providing the deep bass, would be one of the first all-African-American groups to rise above the racial strife of the time and win over the masses.
The Temptations brought Motown to the national focus just as Rock and Roll was beginning to make its big break. In this sense, the Temptations and the Beatles were contemporaries. The Beatles are widely recognized as the most influential rock band and have been granted the title of the most influential contemporary artists far and wide. However, the Temptations have earned similar praise within the R&B community, and deserve the same kind of recognition on a national level.
The group was the first to Motown group to win a Grammy Award. They were able to adjust their sound and their lineup to record and release hits well beyond the golden age of Motown. In the 1960s they had “My Girl”, in the 1970s they had “Papa Was a Rollin’ Stone” and in the 1980s they had Treat Her Like a Lady”.
This current lineup still sings these very songs. They still wear matching suits. They still the same choreographed marks. Only, Ron Tyson is the lead tenor, Terry Weeks occasionally joins as co-lead tenor, Joe Herndon is the bass singer, and Bruce Williamson is a third tenor. Otis Williams is the baritone.