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  1. #1
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    The Temptations -- late 70 to late 71

    The line up of the Temptations was in flux in 1970.
    David Ruffin had already left the group, back in summer 68 -- Dennis Edwards being his replacement. Eddie Kendricks had been unhappy with his situation [[on & off) since the mid 60's. He, David & Paul Williams were close friends. David R & Eddie were talking on a regular basis by 69/70, while Paul was often too ill to perform with the group. A replacement had been brought in for Williams; Richard Street from The Monitors. He was an old ally of Otis's from their days in the Distants.
    This must have made Eddie even more paranoid, as Richard had been travelling with the group for about six months as the 6th Temptation. Eddie would lose it & just walk off stage during live performances from around mid 1970. This wasn't going to be allowed to continue, so Eddie was signed to a solo recording deal and the group went looking for his replacement. This became urgent as Eddie had handled lead vocals on the group's big Jan 71 hit "Just My Imagination".
    Many live bookings had been taken, the group were establishing themselves on the supper club circuit & were undertaking foreign tours, so the situation had to be quickly resolved. Eventually [[over around 9 months) a replacement was found. Ex Baltimore group youngster Damon Harris was hired after he'd initially auditioned for the group's members in DC in April 71. But no doubt, group dynamics were in turmoil over a 9 month period right up to August 71 when Damon was recruited.
    Have any of the group's members truthfully documented just what was going on behind closed doors during that period ?
    Please just don't quote Otis from his book, I don't believe most of his takes on what was going on in the group then or during other periods. For a guy who never sang lead for the group, he seemed to treat just about all the lead singers he hired to front them with utter contempt -- which is why they all quit numerous times.
    Last edited by jsmith; 02-11-2024 at 12:18 PM.

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    Close but not quite. Damon wasn’t the first choice. Ricky Owens was chosen around late February early March. After a few show, he was fired because he wasn’t vocally up for the task. Damon was picked around March-April 1971. Also after Eddie but before Ricky, the remaining 4 recorded Its Summer which is the last featuring Paul

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    Yes, I knew that. Many different singers were in the frame at the time BUT it was Damon who landed the role. Otis didn't really want him [[as far as I understand) but the 'state of limbo' within the group couldn't be allowed to keep dragging on, so Damon it was.
    The fact that Damon auditioned for the members of the group in April but didn't get 'announced' as Eddie's replacement till August says a lot about things within the group at that time.
    It hadn't been all plain sailing for Dennis Edwards either. Around the time he joined the group, major DJ's at a top Balto radio stn were boycotting everything he was associated with -- as he'd disappeared for the night with a DJ's wife after one of the last Contours shows in the city that he was part of. The DJ set divorce proceedings in place & organised a boycott of anything Dennis related [[which included the Tempts new records). Motown officials had to step in to eventually calm the waters & end the boycott.

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    I thought I read that Ricky Owens couldn't perfect the dance moves and the choreography
    not that he wasn't vocally up to the task, as he certainly could sing. Perhaps he couldn't sing and dance at the same time?

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    great summary jsmith.

    no wonder with all this AND the Supremes , Smokey, and even the J5 brothers ....Berry got to the point of "get me away from this !!"
    Last edited by Boogiedown; 02-12-2024 at 12:31 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by stingbeelee View Post
    I thought I read that Ricky Owens couldn't perfect the dance moves and the choreography
    not that he wasn't vocally up to the task, as he certainly could sing. Perhaps he couldn't sing and dance at the same time?
    Having come from the Vibrations, a group known for exuberant choreography, that wasn’t hardly the case. Ricky Owens was an excellent singer and dancer. The issues he had with the Temptations is that he had to replace Eddie Kendricks, after he had sung lead vocals on an instant classic. This led to him becoming a nervous wreck on stage, which subsequently led to him missing steps and flubbing the lyrics to his solos.

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    From what I remember, Otis knew that Damon had the pipes but he was concerned about his age. Damon was only 20 when auditioned. Also, he had bad teeth. As time went on he wore braces and had dental work done.

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    As stated above >> the Vibrations were a group known for exuberant choreography & a high energy dynamic stage act .... their 45's sometimes sold, but usually didn't sell too well. So chart placings for them [[even on the US R&B charts) weren't the norm. They had hits but only around one every 2 years between 1960 & [[say) 1972.
    YET they were always in constant demand for live appearances -- they got several repeat bookings each year at the Apollo from around 1961 right thru to 1969. They were also firm favourites with audiences at the Chicago Regal, the DC Howard & the Royal in Baltimore + the Uptown in Philly. They came to do gigs in the UK in 1966 and proved such a draw as a live act that they returned to tour again in 67, 68 & 69.
    Ricky Owens was, as said, a truly excellent singer and dancer.
    The Vibrations on US TV ...

    Maybe he wasn't made too welcome by Otis AND the weekly wage he would have been on can't have inspired him that much [[Otis always was tight with money).
    Last edited by jsmith; 02-13-2024 at 03:54 PM.

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    The end of January 71 , the Ed Sullivan show AND the end of Eddie as a group member ...
    This was the group's biggest hit since "My Girl" -- which must have been a bit strange for them as the singer on the track was gone ... Eddie sat all alone on this prestigious TV appearance -- that can't have been by mistake, probably Eddie insisted it was that way ..
    ..

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    Eddie & the other guys on the same TV show ...
    ... no doubt this medley was from their current stage show ... much too showbiz supper club stylee for me ...
    Last edited by jsmith; 02-13-2024 at 04:41 PM.

  11. #11
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    Another supper club style Temptations performance [[Ed Sulli;1970) ...

  12. #12
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    It's stated that by the time "Imagination" made No.1 on the charts [[mid March 71 R&B / start April 71 Pop), that Eddie was gone from the group.
    Is it known what his last live show with the group was ?
    I guess he was on this one in late January in Philly ...
    Name:  TemptsPhillyShowJan71.jpg
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    Last edited by jsmith; 02-13-2024 at 09:11 PM.

  13. #13
    Quote Originally Posted by jsmith View Post
    This [[Just My Imagination) was the group's biggest hit since "My Girl"
    The Temptations were consistently hot from 1966 - 1970 with eleven Billboard Pop Top 10s and eight R&B Number Ones:

    1966 #4 Beauty is Only Skin Deep
    1967 #8 I Know) I'm Losing You
    1967 #8 All I Need
    1967 #6 You're My Everything
    1968 #4 I Wish It Would Rain
    1968 #6 Cloud Nine
    1968 #2 I'm Gonna Make You Love Me [[Supremes)
    1969 #6 Runaway Child, Running Wild
    1969 #1 I Can't Get Next to You
    1970 #7 Psychedelic Shack
    1970 #3 Ball of Confusion

    They began to cool in 1973 after Papa Was a Rollin' Stone and Masterpiece

  14. #14
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    But as I stated above, "Just My Imagination" was their 1st pop #1 since "My Girl".

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    Quote Originally Posted by stingbeelee View Post
    I thought I read that Ricky Owens couldn't perfect the dance moves and the choreography
    not that he wasn't vocally up to the task, as he certainly could sing. Perhaps he couldn't sing and dance at the same time?
    I remember reading that when Ricky Owen's started complaining about being tired all the time, Berry decided it was time for him to go.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Philles/Motown Gary View Post
    I remember reading that when Ricky Owen's started complaining about being tired all the time, Berry decided it was time for him to go.
    According to Otis, that was Damon Harris. Supposedly during a recording session, Berry wanted Damon to put some "oomph" into a line and Damon sort of whined that he was tired. Berry told Otis "Get rid of him."

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    Seems the only well documented history of events within the group are those of Otis. We all know Otis had major hang-ups & so his recollection of what went on are highly skewed to advance his status / point of view. It's a great pity the likes of Eddie, David & Dennis never got to tell their side of things.

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by jsmith View Post
    But as I stated above, "Just My Imagination" was their 1st pop #1 since "My Girl".
    Actually, “I Can’t Get Next To You” also topped the hot 100.

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    Seems that way back in 1963, Melvin Franklin admitted they they had 'stolen' lots of their then stage act moves from the Vibrations. Melvin rated the Vibrations stage show as superior to the Temptations at that time.
    OF COURSE, Cholly Atkins entered the Temptations lives in 1965 and from then it was just onwards & upwards with regard to their stage choreography.
    TO PUT THINGS IN CONTEXT ... there were only 5 Motown artists in the Top 100 acts in 1963; The Miracles @ #25, Mary Wells @ #31, Martha & V's @ #34, Stevie Wonder @ #42 and lastly the Marvelettes @ #80. So the Temptations were still finding their way.

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by jsmith View Post
    Seems the only well documented history of events within the group are those of Otis. We all know Otis had major hang-ups & so his recollection of what went on are highly skewed to advance his status / point of view. It's a great pity the likes of Eddie, David & Dennis never got to tell their side of things.
    None of them ever wrote a book, but did any of them do interviews going into their side of the story regarding their time in The Temptations? Or when asked, they gave a polite non answer answer and moved on?

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