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Temptations at Michigan Lottery Amphitheatre, 5 Things To Know
The Temptations. ‘Nuf said.
The Motown group has been around for more than 60 years and has a Hall of Fame legacy of hits that includes “My Girl,” “Ain’t Too Proud To Beg,” “The Way You Do The Things You Do,” “Papa Was a Rollin’ Stone” and the proverbial too many others to mention. The group was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1989 and received a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award during 2013.
And the Tempts’ achievements aren’t only in the past tense. This year the group -- still featuring co-founder Otis Williams -- released “All The Times,” its first new album in eight years, while a stage musical, “Ain’t Too Proud,” is currently in Washington D.C. with stops slated for Los Angeles and Toronto before a 2019 move to Broadway.
So Williams has every reason to be on “Cloud Nine” these days...
• “All The Times” features three originals as well as arrangements of hits by Michael Jackson (“Remember The Time”), Sam Smith (“Stay With Me”), the Weeknd (“Earned It”), Ed Sheeran (“Thinking Out Loud”) and others. “We’re pretty proud of it,” Williams, 76, says by phone. “First of all they’re great songs, so we wanted to do them and add the Temptations flavor. We are so ingrained with the way we sing and do stuff with songs that it becomes very easy for us. Once you hear the soaring tenor and the deep bass and everything in between, it becomes the Temptations.”
• And as everyone knows, that bass, trademarked by the late Melvin Franklin, is key to the Temptations’ sound. “We always reach way back to the beginning, from our gospel-rooted days. The original Temps and all the way now through the Temps history is rooted with gospel. Being raised and listening to the great gospel singers, Mahalia Jackson and everybody. So that’s like second nature or first nature, however you want to paraphrase it but, we go to that right-quick.”
• Williams is “very impressed” with the “Ain’t Too Proud” musical, which was directed by Des McAnuff (“The Who’s Tommy,” “Jersey Boys”) from a book by Dominique Morriseau. “I liked...how it was portrayed and how it touched the audience. There were people sitting in there crying. So it touches emotions, and 95 percent of it is the truth. There’s some scenes in there that once you see it you say, ‘Wow, that really happened?’ It’s just a pleasure to see it turn out so fruitful.”
• Williams is also happy that, like “Motown The Music,” “Ain’t Too Proud” places the Temptations within the social and political context of the times. “It’ll make you say, ‘Wow, that’s some heavy stuff in there,’ but moments like that are really touching and reminded me that the 60s were the most tumultuous decade in the last hundred years. We lived through that -- the civil rights struggle, seeing world leaders get killed in front of us. We saw a lot of wicked things happen, and now some of it’s been told in our place.”
• This year marks the 50th anniversary of the Tempts’ first recorded collaboration with Diana Ross & the Supremes, including an album and the “TCB” special on NBC. “We were friends and we did gigs together, so it was just a great flow. We both broke out in the same year, ‘64, so our careers have paralleled each other. I grew up one block from the Brewster Projects which was where Diana (Ross), Betty (Martin) and Florence (Ballard) grew up. So, to watch them, as well as the Tempts, grow up at the same time and be successful at the same time was a wonderful event.”
If You Go:
• The Legends of Motown featuring the Temptations, the Four Tops and the Stylistics
• 7:30 p.m. Saturday, July 14.
• Michigan Lottery Amphitheatre at Freedom Hill, 14900 Metropolitan Parkway, Sterling Heights.
• Tickets start at $20.50.
• Call 313-471-7000 or visit 313Presents.com.
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