Melvin Franklin: October 12, 1942 - February 23, 1995
Otis Williams: October 30, 1941
Paul Williams: July 2, 1939 - August 17, 1973
Eddie Kendricks: December 17, 1939 - October 5, 1992
David Ruffin: January 18, 1941 - June 1, 1991
The most successful soul group of the 1960's, the Temptations, is known for intense vocals, tight harmonies, and dynamic rhythms-- all choreographed into an unforgettable stage routine.
The original lineup, Melvin Franklin (Montgomery, Alabama), Otis Williams (Texas), Paul Williams (Birmingham, Alabama), Eddie Kendricks (Birmingham, Alabama), and David Ruffin, joined forces in Detroit after being involved with different music groups for several years. Originally signed to Motown, Berry Gordy Jr. put Smokey Robinson in charge as the Temptations producer in 1964 and the hits started.
Their first hit song "The Way You Do The Things You Do" was R&B chart #11 in April 1964. It was followed by "Why You Wanna Make Me Blue", #26 in October 1964 and "My Girl", #1 in March 1965, which introduced the Temptations to white audiences.
In October, 1968, David Ruffin left the group for a solo group and was replaced by Birmingham native, Dennis Edwards. He spent the next nine years as lead singer, his gritty leads fueling such songs as "Cloud Nine,", "I Can't Get Next to You," and "Psychedelic Shack."
New members of the Temptations, Damon Harris and Richard Street, brought with them a pop sound that resulted in "Papa Was a Rolling Stone", #1 on the pop charts in 1972. That year also brought the group three Grammy Awards, Best Rhythm and Blues Song and Best R&B Instrumental Performance.
Ali Ollie Woodson who grew up in Town Creek, Alabama auditioned for the group back in 1977 and maintained an ongoing relationship with members of the group before finally joining in 1984. With Woodson in the lead, the Tempts wedded timeless harmony with '80s techno-pop and came up with a snappy hit in "Treat Her Like A Lady."