25 Songs

EDITORS’ NOTES

Combining soul music's velvety crooning and gospel's testifying grit, The Temptations captured romantic bliss with heart-bursting sweetness ("My Girl") and practically defined Motown's urgent bounce ("Get Ready"), weaving baritone passion and falsetto longing into unreal harmonies. But these consummate showmen had evolved into unlikely innovators by the early '70s, tuning into both politics and psychedelia. Propelled by the disorienting but driving funk of producer Norman Whitfield, their epic fuzz-and-strings jams ("Papa Was a Rolling Stone") were also gripping social dramas, pointing toward both disco's endless grooves and the real talk of hip-hop. Despite an endlessly shifting lineup, the quintet's gossamer voices carried them gracefully through the quiet storm era and beyond.

EDITORS’ NOTES

Combining soul music's velvety crooning and gospel's testifying grit, The Temptations captured romantic bliss with heart-bursting sweetness ("My Girl") and practically defined Motown's urgent bounce ("Get Ready"), weaving baritone passion and falsetto longing into unreal harmonies. But these consummate showmen had evolved into unlikely innovators by the early '70s, tuning into both politics and psychedelia. Propelled by the disorienting but driving funk of producer Norman Whitfield, their epic fuzz-and-strings jams ("Papa Was a Rolling Stone") were also gripping social dramas, pointing toward both disco's endless grooves and the real talk of hip-hop. Despite an endlessly shifting lineup, the quintet's gossamer voices carried them gracefully through the quiet storm era and beyond.

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