COURTESY UNIVERSAL MUSIC
Still going strong 46 years later: The current lineup of the Temptations include Terry Weeks, left, Joe Herndon, Ron Tyson, G.C. Cameron and sole original member Otis Williams.
The Temptations continue their reign as "The Emperors of Soul"
Although the group contains but one original member, the Temptations are still proud carriers of the tradition that is the "Motown sound."
Performing with the Honolulu Symphony Pops
In concert: 7:30 p.m. Jan. 18, and 8 p.m. Jan. 19 and 20
Place: Blaisdell Concert Hall
Tickets: $12 to $75
Call: 792-2000 or visit www.honolulusymphony.com
» 1965: "My Girl"
» 1966: "Get Ready," "Ain't Too Proud to Beg," "Beauty is Only Skin Deep"
» 1967: "(I Know) I'm Losing You," "All I Need," "You're My Everything"
» 1968: "I Wish It Would Rain," "I Could Never Love Another (After Loving You)," "Cloud Nine," "I'm Gonna Make You Love Me" (with Diana Ross & the Supremes)
» 1969: "Runaway Child, Running Wild," "I Can't Get Next to You"
» 1970: "Psychedelic Shack," "Ball of Confusion" (That's What the World is Today)"
» 1971: "Just My Imagination (Running Away With Me)"
» 1972: "Papa Was a Rollin' Stone"
» 1973: "Masterpiece," "Let Your Hair Down"
» 1974: "Happy People"
» 1975: "Shaky Ground"
Other notable songs:
"The Way You Do the Things You Do," "It's Growing," "Since I Lost My Baby," "Don't Let the Joneses Get You Down," "Funky Music Sho' Nuff Turns Me On," "Superstar (Remember How You Got Where You Are)," "Power," "Treat Her Like a Lady"
Rightly anointed as "The Emperors of Soul," Otis Williams and company bring that music -- born in 1960s Detroit -- to Honolulu next week, for a three-night engagement with the Honolulu Symphony Pops.
The Tempts don't keep the same grueling tour schedule they did back in the day, but Williams proudly said by phone last week that the group still plays many road dates, including the occasional "string date" like next week's.
Besides performing hits racked up since the mid-'60s, the vocal group is also singing Motown hits of other acts, as showcased on their latest album, "Reflections." Released early last year on a new label, Next Door Records, "Reflections" lets the Tempts put their unique spin on some ol' chestnuts from the vaunted label catalogue, in particular strong versions of "I Hear a Symphony" (the Supremes), "Ooo Baby Baby" (Smokey Robinson and the Miracles), "What Becomes of the Brokenhearted" (Jimmy Ruffin), "Neither One of Us (Wants to Be the First to Say Goodbye)" (Gladys Knight and the Pips), and Diana Ross' "Reach Out and Touch (Somebody's Hand)."
Standout numbers include back-to-back covers of the Jackson 5's "Never Can Say Goodbye" and "I'll Be There," and duets with guest singer Vann Johnson, taking on the Marvin Gaye and Tammi Terrell hits "Ain't Nothing Like the Real Thing" and "Ain't No Mountain High Enough."
Williams said two songs in particular -- Gaye's gospel shouter "Can I Get a Witness" and the late soul man's signature "How Sweet It Is (to Be Loved By You)" -- will be done in concert.
"All of these songs are icons of their own," he said. "We're not egotistical enough to say we did it better."
The Temptations have always distinguished themselves through their collective vocal power and smart choreography.
Audiences will see a veritable history of dance moves used by the group throughout their career, from main man Cholly Atkins, through the late Tempt Paul Williams (no relation) and up to Lon Fontaine. "They were three of the best."
If it hadn't been for a fortuitous move across town in Detroit -- resulting in being in closer proximity to Motown creator Berry Gordy -- most of the original Temptations may have stayed in their respective neighborhood vocal groups.
COURTESY UNIVERSAL MUSIC
In a cover photo for one of the many Temptations CD collections that have been released over the years, it's the classic lineup of the 1960s, featuring Melvin Franklin, left, Eddie Kendricks, David Ruffin, Otis Williams and Paul Williams (no relation).
Originally known as the Elgins in 1960, they signed with Gordy's Motown a year later. "After doing seven, eight tunes, we finally had our first R&B hit in 'The Way You Do the Things You Do.' ... But I still believe that, all these years later, 'My Girl' is still the yardstick measure for us. It's the perennial favorite.
"We're still one of the 'working-est' groups around."