24 Songs, 2 Hours 28 Minutes

EDITORS’ NOTES

The Temptations’ reinvention after losing their gifted/troubled singer David Ruffin (ending the Tempts' “classic five” lineup) is one of pop history’s greatest. For Motown’s signature vocal group to carry on without the “My Girl” voice was considered career hari-kari. But ex-Contours singer (and son of a preacher) Dennis Edwards stepped in, as did visionary Detroit songwriter/producer Norman Whitfield (along with ace songsmith Barrett Strong), and the revived Temptations kicked down pop-music doors. Incisive songs burst with freakout soul, funk, and rock ’n’ roll that owed as much to Sly & The Family Stone and Hendrix as the Vietnam War–defined turmoil of the era and the friction between Detroit’s inner city and ’burbs. Songs traced suburban materialism (“Don’t Let the Joneses Get You Down”) and prison life (“Slave”), updated Shakespearean father-son themes (the grand “Papa Was a Rolling Stone”), and nodded to drug-enhanced escape (“Cloud Nine,” which scored Motown’s first GRAMMY®). This set boasts the best from the eight albums that made up the group’s unbelievably prolific and rich psych era (1968-1973) and features many unsung Motowners, such as song arranger Paul Riser and guitarist Dennis Coffey.

EDITORS’ NOTES

The Temptations’ reinvention after losing their gifted/troubled singer David Ruffin (ending the Tempts' “classic five” lineup) is one of pop history’s greatest. For Motown’s signature vocal group to carry on without the “My Girl” voice was considered career hari-kari. But ex-Contours singer (and son of a preacher) Dennis Edwards stepped in, as did visionary Detroit songwriter/producer Norman Whitfield (along with ace songsmith Barrett Strong), and the revived Temptations kicked down pop-music doors. Incisive songs burst with freakout soul, funk, and rock ’n’ roll that owed as much to Sly & The Family Stone and Hendrix as the Vietnam War–defined turmoil of the era and the friction between Detroit’s inner city and ’burbs. Songs traced suburban materialism (“Don’t Let the Joneses Get You Down”) and prison life (“Slave”), updated Shakespearean father-son themes (the grand “Papa Was a Rolling Stone”), and nodded to drug-enhanced escape (“Cloud Nine,” which scored Motown’s first GRAMMY®). This set boasts the best from the eight albums that made up the group’s unbelievably prolific and rich psych era (1968-1973) and features many unsung Motowners, such as song arranger Paul Riser and guitarist Dennis Coffey.

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