The Temptations and The Four Tops Double Bill Plays the Palace April 5
Posted: March 6, 2019
For more than 50 years, The Temptations have prospered, propelling popular music with a series of smash hits, including “The Way You Do the things You Do,” “My Girl,” “Since I Lost My Baby,” “Get Ready,” “Ain’t Too Proud to Beg,” “Beauty Is Only Skin Deep,” and “I Wish It Would Rain.” The Four Tops have been marveling audiences with their infectious blend of pure vocal power and sweet harmonies since 1954, including hits such as "Baby I Need Your Loving,” "Reach Out, I'll Be There," "Standing in the Shadows of Love,” "Bernadette,” and " I Can't Help Myself (Sugar Pie Honey Bunch).”
CAPA presents The Temptations and The Four Tops at the Palace Theatre (34 W. Broad St.) on Friday, April 5, at 8 pm. Tickets are $38.50-$78.50 and can be purchased in-person at the CAPA Ticket Center (39 E. State St.), online at www.capa.com, or by phone at (614) 469-0939 or (800) 745-3000.
About The Temptations
The history of The Temptations is the history of contemporary American pop. An essential component of the original Motown machine, The Temptations began their musical life in Detroit in the early ‘60s. However, it was the Smokey Robinson written and produced “The Way You Do the Things You Do” (1964), that turned them into stars.
An avalanche of hits followed, including “My Girl,” “It’s Growing,” “Since I Lost My Baby,” “Get Ready,” “Ain’t Too Proud to Beg,” “Beauty Is only Skin Deep,” and “I Wish It Would Rain.”
Beyond the fabulous vocals, the classic lineup of Otis Williams, Melvin Franklin, Paul Williams, Eddie Kendricks, and David Ruffin became known for smooth stepping and flawless presentations. The Temptations Walk became a staple of American style.
When the ‘60s and ‘70s turned political, The Temptations changed their tone, dress, and music with producer Norman Whitfield leading the way. His Temptations hits, many featuring Dennis Edwards who had replaced David Ruffin, burned with intensity—“Runaway Child,” “Cloud Nine,” “I Can’t Get Next to You,” “Papa Was a Rolling Stone,” and “Psychedelic Shack.”
Other stellar singers—Richard Street, Ali-Ollie Woodson, Theo Peoples—joined, adding luster to the group’s growing fame. But no matter the change in personnel, The Temptations remained true to themselves, surviving the whims of popular music.
In the ‘80s, The Temptations prevailed with smashes like the Otis Williams-penned “Treat Her Like A Lady” and made an appearance on the “Motown 25” television special.
In 1998, NBC aired “The Temptations,” a four-hour miniseries chronicling the group’s history. It was a ratings triumph over its two-night run, garnering five Primetime Emmy Award nominations and winning one for Outstanding Directing.
Then came a series of acclaimed records—Phoenix Rising (1998), Ear Resistible (2000), Awesome (2001), For Lovers Only (2002), and Reflections (2005)—followed by the 2006 DVD Get Ready.
Most recently, the jukebox musical Ain’t Too Proud: The Life and Times of The Temptations is expected to begin Broadway previews in 2019.
The current lineup consists of Otis Williams, Ron Tyson, Terry Weeks, Larry Braggs, and Willie Greene Jr.
About The Four Tops
The Four Tops, originally called The Four Aims, recorded their first single in 1956, and spent seven years on the road and in nightclubs singing pop, blues, Broadway, and mostly 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. That proved short-lived, and 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, “Baby I Need Your Loving” (1964), made them stars, and their ‘60s track record is indispensable to any retrospective of the decade. Their songs, soulful and bittersweet, were across-the-board successes. “I Can’t Help Myself (Sugar Pie, Honey Bunch)” (No. 1 R&B/No. 1 Pop) is one of Motown’s longest-running chart toppers and was quickly followed by long-time favorite “It’s the Same Old Song” (No. 2 R&B/No. 5 Pop). Their commercial peak was highlighted by a romantic trilogy—“Reach Out I’ll Be There” (No. 1 R&B), “Standing in the Shadows of Love” (No. 2 R&B/No. 6 Pop), and “Bernadette” (No. 3 R&B/No. 4 Pop). Other hits from the decade included “Ask the Lonely,” “Shake Me, Wake Me (When It’s Over),” “Something About You,” “You Keep Running Away,” “7 Rooms of Gloom,” and their covers of “Walk Away Renee” and “If I Were a Carpenter.” The group was also extraordinarily popular in the UK.
After H/D/H split from Motown, producer Frank Wilson supervised the R&B Top 10 hits “It’s All in the Game” and “Still Water (Love)” at the start of the ‘70s. The Tops also teamed with Motown’s top girl group, The Supremes (post-Diana Ross), billing themselves as The Magnificent Seven for a series of albums. They hit with a cover of “River Deep - Mountain High.”
When Motown left Detroit in 1972 to move to LA, the steadfast Tops decided to stay at home, and with another label. They kept up a string of hits with ABC/Dunhill for the next few years including “Ain’t No Woman (Like the One I’ve Got)” (Top 5), “Keeper of the Castle” (Top 10), and the R&B Top 10s “Are You Man Enough” (from the movie Shaft in Africa), “Sweet Understanding Love,” “One Chain Don’t Make No Prison,” “Midnight Flower,” and the disco perennial “Catfish.”
In 1980, the group moved to Casablanca Records, and the following year, they were at No. 1 again with “When She Was My Girl,” making them one of the few groups to have hits in three consecutive decades. They scored R&B Top 40s with the ballads “Tonight I’m Gonna Love You All Over” and “I Believe in You and Me” and were heard in the film Grease 2 with “Back to School Again.” By 1983, riding the wave of Motown’s 25th anniversary celebration, the Tops went back to Motown and H/D/H, resulting in the R&B Top 40 hits “I Just Can’t Walk Away” and “Sexy Ways.”
They signed with Arista later in the decade, and racked up their final solo Top 40 hit, “Indestructible,” which was the theme of the 1988 Summer Olympics. That year they also partnered with Aretha Franklin, a long-time friend from Detroit, for the Top 40 R&B “If Ever a Love There Was.” During this period, Stubbs voiced the man-eating plant Audrey II in the film Little Shop of Horrors, for which he sang the cult classic “Mean Green Mother From Outer Space.”
In 1990, with 24 Top 40 Pop hits to their credit, The Four Tops were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. They continued to tour incessantly, a towering testament to the enduring legacy of the Motown sound they helped shape and define.
Following Payton’s death in 1997, the group briefly worked as a trio until Theo Peoples, a former Temptation, was recruited to restore the group to a quartet. When Stubbs subsequently grew ill, Peoples became the lead singer and former Motown artist/producer Ronnie McNeir was enlisted to fill Payton’s spot. In 2005, when Benson died, Payton’s son Roquel replaced him.
The current lineup is Ronnie McNeir, Lawrence Payton Jr., Abdul “Duke” Fakir, and Harold “Spike” Bonhart.