Artist: The Temptations

Papa was a Rolling Stone – The Temptations

The Temptations are an American vocal group that achieved fame as one of the most successful acts to record for Motown Records. The group’s repertoire has included, at various times during its five-decade career, R&B, doo-wop, funk, disco, soul, and adult contemporary music.

Formed in Detroit, Michigan in 1960 as The Elgins, the Temptations have always featured at least five male vocalists/dancers. The group, known for its recognizable choreography, distinct harmonies, and onstage suits, has been said to be as influential to soul as The Beatles are to pop and rock.

The original group included members of two local Detroit vocal groups: The Distants, which featured second tenor Otis Williams, first tenor Elbridge “Al” Bryant and bass Melvin Franklin; and first tenor/falsetto Eddie Kendricks and second tenor/baritone Paul Williams (no relation to Otis) from The Primes. Among the most notable future Temptations were lead singers David Ruffin and Dennis Edwards (both of whom became successful Motown solo artists after leaving the group), Richard Street (another former Distant), Damon Harris, Ron Tyson, Ali-Ollie Woodson, Theo Peoples, and G.C. Cameron. Like its sister female group, the Supremes, the Temptations’ lineup has changed frequently particularly in recent decades.

Papa was a Rolling Stone

“Papa Was a Rollin’ Stone” is a soul song, written by Motown songwriters Norman Whitfield and Barrett Strong as a single for Motown act The Undisputed Truth in 1971. This version of “Papa” was released as a single in early 1972, and peaked at number sixty-three on the pop charts and number twenty-four on the R&B charts.

Later in 1972, Whitfield, who also produced the song, took “Papa Was a Rollin’ Stone” and remade it as a twelve-minute record for The Temptations.

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It was the third of September.
That day I’ll always remember, yes I will.
‘Cause that was the day that my daddy died.
I never got a chance to see him.
Never heard nothing but bad things about him.
Mama, I’m depending on you, tell me the truth.

And Mama just hung her head and said,
“Son, Papa was a rolling stone.
Wherever he laid his hat was his home.
(And when he died) All he left us was ALONE.”
“Papa was a rolling stone, my son.
Wherever he laid his hat was his home.
(And when he died) All he left us was ALONE.”

Well, well.

Hey Mama, is it true what they say,
that Papa never worked a day in his life?
And Mama, bad talk going around town
saying that Papa had three outside children and another wife.
And that ain’t right.
HEARD SOME talk about Papa doing some store front preaching.
TalkIN about saving souls and all the time leeching.
Dealing in debt and stealing in the name of the Lord.

Mama just hung her head and said,
“Papa was a rolling stone, my son.
Wherever he laid his hat was his home.
(And when he died) All he left us was ALONE.”
“Hey, Papa was a rolling stone.
Wherever he laid his hat was his home.
(And when he died) All he left us was ALONE.”

Uh!

Hey Mama, I heard Papa call himself a jack of all trade.
Tell me is that what sent Papa to an early grave?
Folk say Papa would beg, borrow, steal to pay his bill.
Hey Mama, folk say that Papa was never much on thinking.
Spent most of his time chasing women and drinking.
Mama, I’m depending on you to tell me the truth. Mama looked up with a tear in her eye and said,
“Son, Papa was a rolling stone. (Well, well, well, well)
Wherever he laid his hat was his home.
(And when he died) All he left us was ALONE.”
“Papa was a rolling stone.
Wherever he laid his hat was his home.
(And when he died) All he left us was ALONE.”

“I said, Papa was a rolling stone. Wherever he laid his hat was his home.
(And when he died) All he left us was ALONE.”

  • Audio from the 1972 album,  All Directions:
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My Girl – The Temptations

Song Request From Lydia R:

The Temptations are an American vocal group that achieved fame as one of the most successful acts to record for Motown Records. The group’s repertoire has included, at various times during its five-decade career, R&B, doo-wop, funk, disco, soul, and adult contemporary music.

Formed in Detroit, Michigan in 1960 as The Elgins, the Temptations have always featured at least five male vocalists/dancers. The group, known for its recognizable choreography, distinct harmonies, and onstage suits, has been said to be as influential to soul as The Beatles are to pop and rock.

The original group included members of two local Detroit vocal groups: The Distants, which featured second tenor Otis Williams, first tenor Elbridge “Al” Bryant and bass Melvin Franklin; and first tenor/falsetto Eddie Kendricks and second tenor/baritone Paul Williams (no relation to Otis) from The Primes. Among the most notable future Temptations were lead singers David Ruffin and Dennis Edwards (both of whom became successful Motown solo artists after leaving the group), Richard Street (another former Distant), Damon Harris, Ron Tyson, Ali-Ollie Woodson, Theo Peoples, and G.C. Cameron. Like its sister female group, the Supremes, the Temptations’ lineup has changed frequently particularly in recent decades.

My Girl

The recorded version of “My Girl” was the first Temptations single to feature David Ruffin on lead vocals. Previously, Eddie Kendricks and Paul Williams had performed most of the group’s lead vocals, and Ruffin had joined the group as a replacement for former Temptation Elbridge “Al” Bryant. While on tour as part of the Motortown Revue, a collective tour for most of the Motown roster, Smokey Robinson caught the Temptations’ part of the show. The group had included a medley of soul standards in the show, one of which, The Drifters’ “Under the Boardwalk”, was a solo spot for Ruffin. Impressed, Robinson decided to produce a single with Ruffin singing lead. Robinson saw Ruffin as a “sleeping giant” in the group with a unique voice that was “mellow” yet “gruff”. Robinson thought that if he could write just the perfect song for Ruffin’s voice, then he could have a smash hit. The song was to be something that Ruffin could “belt out” yet something that was also “melodic and sweet”. After some persuasion from Ruffin’s bandmates, Robinson had the Temptations record “My Girl” instead of The Miracles, and recruited Ruffin to sing the lead vocals. The signature guitar riff heard during the introduction and under the verses was played by Robert White of the Funk Brothers.

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I got sunshine,
On a cloudy day.
When it’s cold outside,
I’ve got the month of may.
I guess you’d say,
What can make me feel this way?

My girl, my girl, my girl.
Talkin’ ’bout my girl.
My girl!

I’ve got so much honey,
The bees envy me.
I’ve got a sweeter song,
Than the birds in the trees.
Well, I guess you’d say,
What can make me feel this way?

My girl, my girl, my girl.
Talkin’ ’bout my girl.
My girl!
Ooo-ooo, hoo-ooo.

I don’t need no money,
Fortune or fame.
I got all the riches baby,
One man can claim.
Well, I guess you’d say,
What can make me feel this way?

My girl, my girl, my girl.
Talkin’ ’bout my girl.
My girl!

I got sunshine on a cloudy day with my girl.
I’ve even got the month of may with my girl.

  • Audio from the 1965 album, The Temptations Sing Smokey:

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