October 30 marks the 72nd birthday of one of the greats in R&B / Soul music. Otis Williams, founder and last surviving original member of the Temptations, was born in Texarkana, Texas but moved to Detroit Michigan at the tender age of ten years old.
Inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall Of Fame in 1989 as a member of the most successful black American group of all time, Williams' tenor voice very rarely came to the fore of the Temptations' numerous hits. The distinctive, rasping, anguished vocals of David Ruffin (replaced by Dennis Edwards in 1968) or the silky, falsetto timbre of Eddie Kendricks were generally regarded as the "voices of The Temptations" during the group's most successful period during the 1960's.
Although not prominent on their hit recordings, Williams was the mainstay of the group, having to deal with the falling by the wayside of several members of The Temptations, notably the fall from grace of Ruffin, Paul Williams and the subsequent departure of Kendricks.
Along with his long standing buddy, Melvin "Blue" Franklin, Otis Williams kept the group together, albeit with a number of personnel changes through the years. The sad loss of Franklin, who died in 1995 following a series of brain seizures, left Williams as the last surviving member of the group who had originally joined Motown in 1961.
The Temptations still perform to this day; the current line up is: Otis Williams; Ron Tyson; Terry Weeks; Joe Herndon and Bruce Williamson.
In a recent interview with Ebony, Otis Williams shares his thoughts on his musical legacy, along with some strong criticism of today's music scene.
I'm sure all our readers join me in wishing Otis Williams a very Happy Birthday and many thanks for keeping the Temptations going through the good and difficult times.