Classics: The Temptations – Don’t Look Back (Gordy)
A founding member of The Temptations, Paul Williams heavily contributed to their period we remember as the “Classic 5”. Thus sharing the duties with Eddie Kendricks and David Ruffin. Not to mention Otis Williams and Melvin Franklin.
From their 1965 ‘The Temptin’ Temptations’ album, with production work courtesy of Smokey Robinson… ‘Don’t Look Back’ is widely regarded as William‘s signature cut.
Sadly, failing health and personal problems forced him to retire back in 1971. This two years before his passing as the result of a rumored suicide at the early age of 34…
Rocksteady pair Keith Rowe and Texas Dixon, better known as Keith & Tex, were the first to give it a Reggae version back in 1968.
‘Don’t Look Back’ eventually resurfaced ten years after. This time bringin’ late Reggae singer Peter Tosh to the forefront. But also once again brilliantly showcasin’ Mick Jagger‘s versatility who came to share the bill with him.
From Detroit, MI, the group went thru different names, beginning with The Primes and lastly The Voicemasters by the beginning of the sixties. This before turning themselves into The Temptations and sign a record deal with Motown in 1962. With Otis Williams, Elbridge ‘Al’ Bryant, Melvin Franklin, Eddie Kendricks and Paul Williams standing as the original members of the band. And other luminaries such as David Ruffin, Dennis Edwards and Damon Harris joinin’ along with time. Then, last not not least, Ron Tyson and G.C. Cameron to name a few.
The Temptations released their debut-single – ‘Check Yourself’ – back in 1961 on Motown subsidiary label Miracles Records. Eventually scoring their first #1 US R&B hit in 1964 with ‘The Way You Do The Things You Do’. Then toppin’ the Billboard US Hot 100 the same year with ‘My Girl’. Meanwhile opening an impressive series of hits during the following years. From ‘Don’t Look Back’ to ‘Get Ready’, ‘Ain’t Too Proud To Beg’ and ‘You’re My Everything’. But also ‘Cloud Nine’ and ‘I Second That Emotion’. This in addition to ‘Psychedelic Shack’, ‘Ball Of Confusion’, ‘Papa Was A Rolling Stone’ and ‘Masterpiece’. Not to mention ‘Standing On The Top’ along with Rick James or ‘Treat Her Like A Lady’ among others.
Like Earth, Wind & Fire, Kool & The Gang and / or The Commodores, The Temptations pretty much went thru two major periods. The first as a Doo-Wop/Soul band with production work courtesy of Smokey Robinson. And the second seeing them turning themselves into Psychedelic Soul pioneers along with producer Norman Whitfield. This resulting in extra gems such as ‘Plastic Man’ and ‘Law Of The Land’…