Founding father Otis Williams still performing with the Temptations 48 years later
Mr. Otis Williams was a part of a singing group called the Distants, which was reported to have not had the best management. As a result, Williams started another group called the Temptations, which will be performing at Resorts Superstar Theater this Saturday and Sunday, Jan. 17-18.
The Temptations are one of the most successful recording groups still active some 48 years since their early days at Motown. I consider myself blessed to have been able to have a phone conversation with the legendary group's founder, Otis Williams, recently.
Most R&B vocal groups, from the O'Jays and the Jackson Five all the way to Jodeci, Dru Hill and B2K, owe the Dixie Hummingbirds and the Temptations a lot of credit.
Wow! Back in the day we ran late for one of our own award ceremonies. We as a group were in the audience for a good old-fashioned gospel night battle of the bands. It was Ira Tucker and the Hummingbirds vs. the Sensational Nightingales. We were about to leave when the Harmonizing Four showed up as surprise guests.
Is that where you got the idea for your legendary "battles" with the Four Tops?
No, man. That came from the old Motown Revue [a show hosted by Smokey Robinson] days. We would tour together and as artists we had a lot of pride, showmanship and love for each other. So the battle with the Tops is something that we often did at Hitsville [U.S.A., Motown's nickname] and brought to the stage as part of the show.
After so many shows, how do you keep it fresh?
I still get nervous before a show. I think that's a good thing. People pay their hard-earned money to see and hear the Temptations, so we work hard to give them the best show. It is great when you look into the audience and you see almost five decades and more generations of Temptations fans. Thank the good Lord, the people still love the Temptations.
Are there any songs that you feel, "I wish we could have had a crack at that?"
You know, we have been so blessed that I don't really feel that way. We got our first Gold recording in 1964. We were on tour when we got that call and I really haven't looked back. I can walk around my home and see Grammy awards, American Music awards, Gold and Platinum records, so I can say I'm happy with the way things turned out and the records we've made. Of course there are records like What's Going On by Marvin [Gaye] that anyone would've liked to have been a part of.
Note: Otis Williams will be a guest on the Alternative Soul Breakfast Club radio show, WTTH 96.1 FM, on Sunday, Feb. 22, at 7am.
Raymond Tyler hosts the Alternative Soul Sunday Breakfast Club radio show each Sunday from 7-8am on 96.1FM WTTH - The Touch.
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