Friday, June 30, 2023
The Temptations, often referred to as American Music Royalty, are world-renowned superstars of entertainment, revered for their phenomenal catalog of music and prolific career. Ranked the #1 “Greatest R&B/Hip-Hop Artist of All Time” and one of the “125 Greatest of All Time Artists” by Billboard and one of Rolling Stone’s “100 Greatest Artists of All Time,” the latter publication remarked in 2020 that the Temptations are “indisputably the greatest black vocal group of the Modern Era.”
The Temptations’ heritage, influence and contributions to not only American culture and African American communities but also to the global music landscape are monumental. The influence that The Temptations had on mainstream and global artists, such as The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, Bob Dylan and others, is undeniable.
The group’s 60-year history spans the 20th and 21st centuries, and their music transcends generations. The Temptations’ story is a road map through American history. What began in Detroit, when a remarkable combination of soulful voices united, was the genesis of an epic journey that introduced multiple superstars to the world and produced some of the greatest music of our era.
The Four Tops, originally called the Four Aims, made their first single for Chess in 1956, and spent seven years on the road and in nightclubs, singing pop, blues, Broadway, and especially four-part harmony jazz. When Motown’s Berry Gordy Jr. found out they had hustled a national Tonight Show appearance, he signed them without an audition to be the marquee act for the company’s Workshop Jazz label. While that proved short-lived, Stubbs’ powerhouse baritone lead and the exquisite harmonies of Fakir, Benson, and Payton started making one smash after another with the writing-producing trio Holland-Dozier-Holland. Their first Motown hit, 1964’s “Baby I Need Your Loving,” made them stars, and their track record on the label in the following years, including chart-toppers “I Can’t Help Myself (Sugar Pie, Honey Bunch)” and “It’s The Same Old Song,” prove indispensable to any retrospective of the decade.
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Anderson Center for the Performing Arts
Binghamton University - Vestal Parkway E.
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