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Interview:
Tempts, Tops Keep "Battle" Friendly
 

By GARY GRAFF
Of the Oakland Press

» See more SOUND CHECK

The Temptations and Four Tops like to conduct their frequent concert pairings like battles of the bands. But Tempts leader Otis Williams says the two legendary Motown vocal groups are actually more like brothers in arms.

“We admire the Tops,” says the Texasborn and Detroit-raised Williams, 66, who founded the group in 1960 (as the Elgins) and is the sole living original member. “When I was a kid ... the Tops were very popular and famous in Detroit back during the ’50s. We used to sneak in ... just to watch the Four Tops sing.

“They were a fantastic and big, popular group back then, even before the Temptations started. So it’s been nothing but admiration and love for the Four Tops from the Temptations.”

Williams says that he and Tops mainstay Abdul “Duke” Fakir often talk about how they are “the last man standing” in their respective groups. Williams says he keeps going “because I love it,” and he’s currently shepherding the Tempts towards their next project, and a new label home, after the release of last year’s covers album “Back to Front.”

But he fully recognizes there may be a day when, for whatever reason, the Tempts may be going on without him.

“It will be an interesting scenario to see how it would manifest itself, because our fans are so used to seeing me walk out there with the guys,” says Williams, who’s owned the group’s name since the mid-’70s. “So I plan on being around ... But I would like to think the Tempts can continue on.

“Berry (Gordy, Jr., Motown’s founder) once said that no man is greater than the sum total, and the sum total is the 11-letter word Temptations. And it’s been proven over and over again. This has remained a well-loved group in spite of the many different changes we’ve been through.”



The Temptations and the Four Tops perform at 7:30 p.m. Sunday (June 29) at the DTE Energy Music Theatre, Sashabaw Road east of I-75, Independence Township. Tickets are $36.50 pavilion, $10 lawn. Call (248) 377-0100 or visit www. palacenet.com.

Web Site: www.palacenet.com

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