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  1. #1

    Would a few more leads have helped paul?

    Otis mentioned in the book[temptations]that he didn't really know when pauls troubles started, he did state that paul wanted more leads but nobody was writing for him,do you think that maybe his mental wellbeing would've improved with more leads? I've asked myself this question also.

  2. #2
    I believed so, but not completely.

  3. #3
    Unfortunately, once Ruffin hit as the principal lead, even displacing Eddie to a large extent, it WAS David Ruffin & The Temptations, despite the one for all group atmosphere Otis and the others were trying to create, and David letting it all go to his head... Paul's unique and emotional vocals perhaps hit much better in live performances than on recordings once Ruffin's vocals became the business model and the writers were anxious to write for him as Paul's role in the group became more and more grounded in helping structure and formulate stage routines...I'm have no doubt this frustrated Paul and contributed to his frustration as Ruffin became the primary business model for the group, much to Otis's chagrin...

  4. #4
    I've always thought that Paul's voice was very much like David Ruffin's, but without that edge to it that gave Ruffin's voice its character and charisma. I think perhaps their voices were too similar in some ways and with the way Ruffin's voice, when it seemed to "crack" [[like when he sings "I know you wanna leave me...") just made his the more marketable because of that additional X-factor.

  5. #5
    Quote Originally Posted by kenneth View Post
    I've always thought that Paul's voice was very much like David Ruffin's, but without that edge to it that gave Ruffin's voice its character and charisma. I think perhaps their voices were too similar in some ways and with the way Ruffin's voice, when it seemed to "crack" [[like when he sings "I know you wanna leave me...") just made his the more marketable because of that additional X-factor.
    Paul was a baritone while Ruffin was a tenor... Ruffin had the ability to make that vocal "stretch" that Motown producers liked to record...

  6. #6
    I think Motown tended to go with what worked and hit. While I think the group was on an upward trend in late '63 and '64, My Girl got the group more attention and kinda cemented Ruffin as the lead singer. Sure Eddie and Paul did leads but David sort of became the star after My Girl. It seems that Paul recorded lead on a good number of songs, but none were released as singles and only a few made it onto their albums. On the group's Lost & Found set of the 20 unreleased songs, Paul leads on 6 and shares lead on two others. Does anyone know what Paul and David's relationship was like - during and after David's time with the group?

    And as a side note, not meant to derail this thread/topic, but I've always wondered the same question about Florence Ballard and the Supremes. Was the root of the groups internal conflict the lack of leads on songs and in concert a point of friction for the ladies? At least Paul got leads on songs, in concert and on tv, which is more than what Mary and Florence were allowed to do.

  7. #7
    Quote Originally Posted by SatansBlues View Post
    I think Motown tended to go with what worked and hit. While I think the group was on an upward trend in late '63 and '64, My Girl got the group more attention and kinda cemented Ruffin as the lead singer. Sure Eddie and Paul did leads but David sort of became the star after My Girl. It seems that Paul recorded lead on a good number of songs, but none were released as singles and only a few made it onto their albums. On the group's Lost & Found set of the 20 unreleased songs, Paul leads on 6 and shares lead on two others. Does anyone know what Paul and David's relationship was like - during and after David's time with the group?

    And as a side note, not meant to derail this thread/topic, but I've always wondered the same question about Florence Ballard and the Supremes. Was the root of the groups internal conflict the lack of leads on songs and in concert a point of friction for the ladies? At least Paul got leads on songs, in concert and on tv, which is more than what Mary and Florence were allowed to do.
    As a side note. I happened upon Paul shortly before his tragic death and had lunch with him [[it was apparently breakfast time for him). I hadn't seen him in some time and he sadly looked not good, but in our conversation, I did ask him the story behind David's departure from the group, and his answer..."David was on Cloud Nine"... From my personal observation from years earlier in their heyday at shows, it did seem to me that David tended to suck up all the oxygen in the room, and the other guys may have resented it...Just my take...

  8. #8
    Quote Originally Posted by StuBass1 View Post
    As a side note. I happened upon Paul shortly before his tragic death and had lunch with him [[it was apparently breakfast time for him). I hadn't seen him in some time and he sadly looked not good, but in our conversation, I did ask him the story behind David's departure from the group, and his answer..."David was on Cloud Nine"... From my personal observation from years earlier in their heyday at shows, it did seem to me that David tended to suck up all the oxygen in the room, and the other guys may have resented it...Just my take...
    So how did you take his comment of David being on Cloud Nine? Was it about David being caught up in fame or was he alluding to a substance abuse issue? Do you recall what else you two talked about over lunch/breakfast?

  9. #9
    No matter what group is involved, it’s got to be difficult to see one member of a group that’s been together since their teens, get singled out by the press, the public, the record company etc. The others have to watch them becomes celebrities, stars, be far more recognizable. It has got to create jealousy and tension.

  10. #10
    Quote Originally Posted by arr&bee View Post
    Otis mentioned in the book[temptations]that he didn't really know when pauls troubles started, he did state that paul wanted more leads but nobody was writing for him,do you think that maybe his mental wellbeing would've improved with more leads? I've asked myself this question also.
    Good question arr&bee and I don't feel that giving Paul Williams any more lead vocals while he was a member of The Tempts would've helped his mental state. Paul might not have sung as many leads on the group's major hit singles during the '60s but he always got to sing lead on album cuts [such as 'Just Another Lonely Night', 'No More Water In The Well', 'Who You Gonna Run To'] and in concert ['Don't Look Back' & 'For Once In My Life']. Sadly, Paul Williams suffered from both depression & sickle cell anemia and those were both very difficult things for Paul [or anyone for that matter] to live with.
    Last edited by Motown Eddie; 04-08-2021 at 05:12 AM.

  11. #11
    Quote Originally Posted by SatansBlues View Post
    And as a side note, not meant to derail this thread/topic, but I've always wondered the same question about Florence Ballard and the Supremes. Was the root of the groups internal conflict the lack of leads on songs and in concert a point of friction for the ladies? At least Paul got leads on songs, in concert and on tv, which is more than what Mary and Florence were allowed to do.
    Yes Indeed! When it came to The Supremes, the focus on making Diana Ross the leader of the group [and eventually building her rise to solo-superstar] created friction in the group [especially for Florence who hated having to only be a backup singer]. We all know what eventually happened with them since it's been discussed many times.

  12. #12
    Quote Originally Posted by arr&bee View Post
    Otis mentioned in the book[temptations]that he didn't really know when pauls troubles started, he did state that paul wanted more leads but nobody was writing for him,do you think that maybe his mental wellbeing would've improved with more leads? I've asked myself this question also.
    One thing that surely hurt Paul Williams was being told that he couldn't work with The Tempts anymore due to his declining health. In his book, Otis Williams mentions that he couldn't bring himself to tell Paul that he had to leave the group [and that Paul's doctor was the one to tell him to quit The Tempts].

  13. #13
    After Dennis joined the group, Paul began to get more leads with the vocal tag team formula Norman Whitfield employed. He even sang lead on live performances of “My Girl”. I’m sure the added responsibilities gave him a much needed boost, but by then the damage had been done apparently.

  14. #14
    Quote Originally Posted by StuBass1 View Post
    Paul was a baritone while Ruffin was a tenor... Ruffin had the ability to make that vocal "stretch" that Motown producers liked to record...
    I’m sure you are correct about that. I am no musical expert, just a music lover. But to me their voices had very similar qualities and evoked much the same vibes, except David’s added that soaring and a little bit untrained/unrestrained rather churchy quality which worked so well on many of the songs.

  15. #15
    Quote Originally Posted by Motown Eddie View Post
    Yes Indeed! When it came to The Supremes, the focus on making Diana Ross the leader of the group [and eventually building her rise to solo-superstar] created friction in the group [especially for Florence who hated having to only be a backup singer]. We all know what eventually happened with them since it's been discussed many times.
    But weren't all the lead singers the de facto leader of the group and star? Martha, Smokey, Levi, Glady K, Jr. Walker, Michael J.?

  16. #16
    Quote Originally Posted by SatansBlues View Post
    But weren't all the lead singers the de facto leader of the group and star? Martha, Smokey, Levi, Glady K, Jr. Walker, Michael J.?
    Yes all them were the lead singer & stars of their groups, however, Florence Ballard had started the group and was their original lead singer & star [and when they were told to change their name from 'The Primettes', Flo chose the name 'The Supremes']. When they started recording for Motown and B.G. chose Diana as the sole lead singer [and leader/spokesperson of the group], Flo couldn't accept that and this lead to friction in The Supremes [as well as Flo's dismissal]. All of the other cases you listed accepted having their respective lead singers as the stars of their groups.
    Last edited by Motown Eddie; 04-08-2021 at 01:57 PM.

  17. #17
    Quote Originally Posted by Motown Eddie View Post
    Yes all them were the lead singer & stars of their groups, however, Florence Ballard had started the group and was their original lead singer & star [and when they were told to change their name from 'The Primettes', Flo chose the name 'The Supremes']. When they started recording for Motown and B.G. chose Diana as the sole lead singer [and leader/spokesperson of the group], Flo couldn't accept that and this lead to friction in The Supremes [as well as Flo's dismissal]. All of the other cases you listed accepted having their respective lead singers as the stars of their groups.
    I hear what you're saying but the group's early recordings - pre-WDOLG- tell a different story. As do the few live concert recordings that exist. Mary and Florence shared very few leads in the run up to WDOLG. I believe Gordy designated Ross as the lead during the recording of their CW&P album in '63. But even prior to that Mary and Florence recorded very few leads and never in concert. While in the Temptations, David, Eddie and Paul regularly shared leads, on recordings and in concert. In the Marvelettes Gladys and Wanda essentially switched roles after '64, but Gladys still sang lead on some album cuts and I'm assuming in concert.

  18. #18
    Quote Originally Posted by SatansBlues View Post
    So how did you take his comment of David being on Cloud Nine? Was it about David being caught up in fame or was he alluding to a substance abuse issue? Do you recall what else you two talked about over lunch/breakfast?
    Briefly, I don't recall that entire conversation or what prompted me to bring up Ruffin...Just as I interpreted him saying that Ruffin got a way too big for his britches...I was walking through Biffs on W Grand Blvd at lunchtime and walking toward the back we caught each others eye and Paul who was sitting at a table alone in recognized me and invited me to join him [[lunch for me, breakfast for him as I recall). I admit I didn't know the extent of his physical health issues at the time, but his appearance was much different and just worn out looking and even somewhat more depressed than I had ever seen him in the earlier days. I do recall when I asked him what he was up to, he tried to put a good face on and mentioned that he was in the studio working on a solo project. Going back in time, I recall hanging out with Paul and the group in the dressing room before and after the show at the Roostertail the night they cut the Live album... Paul had me and my biddy shagging him drinks of scotch at the bar, and was even buying us drinks, although we were all of about 15 or 16 LOL, and it was a typical scene with Motown people, including the Gordy family coming backstage, Paul the only guy I recall drinking and eating a big steak between shows, and Ruffin of course, surrounded by gaggles of women surrounding him as he walked through the hallway... That was the Paul I remembered, as through those years, I'd talk with Paul on occasion, asking advice, and him telling me that it was a mistake to play in "mixed" race groups...that sticking with white groups was where the money was at... This was just before groups like Sly & The Family Stone hit it big... Anyways, for some reason, Paul's death escaped me when it happened and I found out about it shortly thereafter. It definitely brought back the way he appeared to me that last time I saw him...
    Last edited by StuBass1; 04-08-2021 at 02:38 PM.

  19. #19
    Quote Originally Posted by StuBass1 View Post
    Briefly, I don't recall that entire conversation or what prompted me to bring up Ruffin...Just as I interpreted him saying that Ruffin got a way too big for his britches...I was walking through Biffs on W Grand Blvd at lunchtime and walking toward the back we caught each others eye and Paul who was sitting at a table alone in recognized me and invited me to join him [[lunch for me, breakfast for him as I recall). I admit I didn't know the extent of his physical health issues at the time, but his appearance was much different and just worn out looking and even somewhat more depressed than I had ever seen him in the earlier days. I do recall when I asked him what he was up to, he tried to put a good face on and mentioned that he was in the studio working on a solo project. Going back in time, I recall hanging out with Paul and the group in the dressing room before and after the show at the Roostertail the night they cut the Live album... Paul had me and my biddy shagging him drinks of scotch at the bar, and was even buying us drinks, although we were all of about 15 or 16 LOL, and it was a typical scene with Motown people, including the Gordy family coming backstage, Paul the only guy I recall drinking and eating a big steak between shows, and Ruffin of course, surrounded by gaggles of women surrounding him as he walked through the hallway... That was the Paul I remembered, as through those years, I'd talk with Paul on occasion, asking advice, and him telling me that it was a mistake to play in "mixed" race groups...that sticking with white groups was where the money was at... This was just before groups like Sly & The Family Stone hit it big... Anyways, for some reason, Paul's death escaped me when it happened and I found out about it shortly thereafter. It definitely brought back the way he appeared to me that last time I saw him...
    Wow, what an incredible story. Do you recall who opened for the Temptations at the Roostertail? It's rather tragic how it all ended for him.

  20. #20
    Quote Originally Posted by stubass1 View Post
    as a side note. I happened upon paul shortly before his tragic death and had lunch with him [[it was apparently breakfast time for him). I hadn't seen him in some time and he sadly looked not good, but in our conversation, i did ask him the story behind david's departure from the group, and his answer..."david was on cloud nine"... From my personal observation from years earlier in their heyday at shows, it did seem to me that david tended to suck up all the oxygen in the room, and the other guys may have resented it...just my take...
    thanks stu,you imput is greatly valued because you knew paul.

  21. #21
    Quote Originally Posted by SatansBlues View Post
    Wow, what an incredible story. Do you recall who opened for the Temptations at the Roostertail? It's rather tragic how it all ended for him.
    Can't recall an opening act...Me and my buddy Mark were hanging out in the dressing room prior to the first show and then standing with the group in their prayer circle prior to the show just outside the room, then of course the drummer, Norman Roberts kicking off that drum intro to Girl, Why You Wanna Make Me Blue, and they were off... The most "classic" example of the Tempts in their heyday...

  22. #22
    Hey Jai ...

  23. #23
    Quote Originally Posted by SatansBlues View Post
    I hear what you're saying but the group's early recordings - pre-WDOLG- tell a different story. As do the few live concert recordings that exist. Mary and Florence shared very few leads in the run up to WDOLG. I believe Gordy designated Ross as the lead during the recording of their CW&P album in '63. But even prior to that Mary and Florence recorded very few leads and never in concert. While in the Temptations, David, Eddie and Paul regularly shared leads, on recordings and in concert. In the Marvelettes Gladys and Wanda essentially switched roles after '64, but Gladys still sang lead on some album cuts and I'm assuming in concert.
    I understand; but over time the focus on Diana Ross [as lead singer, spokesperson & star of The Supremes] started to take a toll on Florence Ballard. I also forgot to mention that Flo hated the constant workload of recording, TV shows & concerts that the group were undertaking at this time. So to paraphrase the title of this thread, "a few more lead vocals" [and a less demanding performing schedule] would've truly made a difference when it came to Flo Ballard.
    Last edited by Motown Eddie; 04-09-2021 at 04:45 AM.

  24. #24
    Wow! Just 4 on-topic replies before reverting to Diana!

  25. #25
    Quote Originally Posted by PeaceNHarmony View Post
    Wow! Just 4 on-topic replies before reverting to Diana!
    The responses do relate back to the original topic.

  26. #26
    Quote Originally Posted by StuBass1 View Post
    As a side note. I happened upon Paul shortly before his tragic death and had lunch with him [[it was apparently breakfast time for him). I hadn't seen him in some time and he sadly looked not good, but in our conversation, I did ask him the story behind David's departure from the group, and his answer..."David was on Cloud Nine"... From my personal observation from years earlier in their heyday at shows, it did seem to me that David tended to suck up all the oxygen in the room, and the other guys may have resented it...Just my take...
    Just curious, did you meet with Paul after his departure from the group? If so, did he mention how he felt about it at all?

  27. #27
    Quote Originally Posted by PeaceNHarmony View Post
    Wow! Just 4 on-topic replies before reverting to Diana!
    HAAAAAAAA,AS PAUL ONCE SAID-THIS MUST BE THE DIANA ROSS SHOW...[according to Otis-Paul did say it]!

  28. #28
    Quote Originally Posted by Motown Eddie View Post
    One thing that surely hurt Paul Williams was being told that he couldn't work with The Tempts anymore due to his declining health. In his book, Otis Williams mentions that he couldn't bring himself to tell Paul that he had to leave the group [and that Paul's doctor was the one to tell him to quit The Tempts].
    Another “what if” scenario. Paul is just asked to stop performing with the Tempts, but is allowed to continue appearing on the recordings. Richard also joins the group, but only for concerts, tv appearances, etc. [[ similar to the arrangement the O’jays initially made when William Powell took ill). Perhaps this might have helped Paul from going under.

  29. #29
    Quote Originally Posted by NativeNuYorker View Post
    Just curious, did you meet with Paul after his departure from the group? If so, did he mention how he felt about it at all?
    There was some confusion as to when Paul was officially out of the group, as opposed to believing that as his health improved he would be able to rejoin the group. I lost contact with Paul in the late 60's, especially after I moved away from living near Smokey's house where I'd run into Paul and other Motown regulars from time to time.... Obviously, visiting with him just prior to his death we discussed what he was involved with at the time, but no, he didn't complain to me about his separation from the group or explain all the circumstances...He was obviously in some kind of distress at the time, but I failed to realize just how serious the situation was...

  30. #30
    Quote Originally Posted by jboy88 View Post
    Another “what if” scenario. Paul is just asked to stop performing with the Tempts, but is allowed to continue appearing on the recordings. Richard also joins the group, but only for concerts, tv appearances, etc. [[ similar to the arrangement the O’jays initially made when William Powell took ill). Perhaps this might have helped Paul from going under.
    I agree; that scenario might've prevented Paul from going under since he would still be an overall part of the Tempts. And after all, Paul was still well enough to sing based on his final recordings, "I Feel Like Giving Up' & "Once You Had a Heart".

  31. #31
    According to otis,paul was still in the temps for a while after eddie left.

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