All photos by Jay Gilbert
The Temptations, often referred to as American Music Royalty, are world-renowned superstars of entertainment, revered for their phenomenal catalog of music and prolific career. The group are celebrating their 60th Anniversary through 2022. To mark this milestone, The Temptations released a brand-new album, Temptations 60, with nearly all-original songs, plus they are touring in the U.S in 2022 and will be touring abroad in the fall of 2022. Dr. Otis Williams, the sole surviving, original member of The Temptations, turned 80 on October 30th of 2021.
Ranked #1 in Billboard magazine’s most recent list of the “Greatest R&B/Hip-Hop Artists of All Time,” The Temptations also appear in the magazine’s 125th Anniversary list of the “125 Greatest of All Time Artists.” In addition, Rolling Stone magazine named the group among the “100 Greatest Artists of All Time.” In September of 2020, the editors of Rolling Stone magazine commented that The Temptations are “Indisputably the greatest black vocal group of the Modern Era…,” and listed the group’s Anthology album among the “500 Greatest Albums of All Time.” The Anthology album has appeared in all three of Rolling Stone’s 500 Greatest Albums’ lists.
The Temptations’ heritage, influence and contributions to, not only American culture and African American communities but also to the global music landscape are monumental. The influence that The Temptations had on mainstream and global artists, such as The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, Bob Dylan and others, is undeniable.
The group’s popularity is ever-increasing and they are one of the most iconic, bestselling brands in the entertainment world today. While the group has evolved over the years, Dr. Otis Williams has continued to lead the group and carry the torch forward for the next generation of Temptations’ fans.
The Temptations have been the subject of a smash hit Broadway musical, Ain’t Too Proud: The Life and Times of The Temptations, which opened on Broadway at the Imperial Theatre on March 21st, 2019. The musical received 12 Tony nominations and won the Tony Award for Best Choreography at the 73rd Tony Awards at Radio City Music Hall in New York City on June 10, 2019. It captivated thousands of theatergoers during sold-out performances on Broadway. At year-end of 2019, Ain’t Too Proud had broken the house record at the Imperial Theatre for a second time. The week ending December 29th the musical had the highest grossing week in the history of the Imperial Theatre. In June of 2019, the show’s producers announced plans for a national touring production of the musical to travel to more than 50 cities, in 100+ weeks. The national touring production of the musical kicked off their tour in December 2021 at The Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C.
Also in 2019, the original cast album for the smash hit Broadway musical, Ain’t Too Proud: The Life and Times of The Temptations was nominated for a Grammy® Award in the “Best Musical Theater Album” category.
In addition to the musical, The Temptations’ journey, as seen through the lens of Dr. Otis Williams, the sole surviving, original Temptation, was also a blockbuster television mini-series which aired in 1998. The mini-series, Temptations, was produced by long-time Temptations’ manager Shelly Berger, Dr. Otis Williams, and Suzanne de Passe, head of de Passe Entertainment, and was reportedly viewed by 45 million fans when it originally aired. The television mini-series went on to win an Emmy for Outstanding Direction for a Mini-series or Movie, as well as the 1999 NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Television Movie or Mini-series. The mini-series continues to air on cable networks today.
In 2018, Universal Music Enterprises (“UMe”) released worldwide The Temptations’ studio album, All the Time, which was the group’s first new album in eight years. It was released in CD, vinyl LP, limited edition white vinyl LP and digital formats. It featured three new, original Temptations’ songs, in addition to inspired renditions of songs from Maxwell, The Weeknd, Sam Smith, Bruno Mars and others.
At the time of the album’s release, Dr. Otis Williams, founding member of The Temptations said, “…Looking back, I never could have imagined where my life has taken me. I’m proud of what The Temptations have achieved, and I’m grateful for every opportunity we’ve been so fortunate to receive. The music carries me. Together, we lift our voices with love and wonder…”
The group’s 60-year history spans the 20th and 21st centuries, and their music transcends generations. The Temptations’ story is a road map through American history. What began in Detroit, when a remarkable combination of soulful voices united, was the genesis of an epic journey that introduced multiple superstars to the world and produced some of the greatest music of our era.
Motown auditioned and signed the original Temptations in May of 1961. When the legendary “Classic Five,” (Otis Williams, Melvin Franklin, Eddie Kendricks, Paul Williams and David Ruffin) released the single, “The Way You Do the Things You Do,” in 1964, which peaked at #11 on the Billboard Hot 100 Chart and remained on the list for 11 weeks, it marked the beginning of a multitude of award-winning and chart-topping singles and albums that would be embraced by popular music audiences globally. Considered trailblazers in the 60’s, leading the way not only for themselves but for other R&B artists, and successfully reaching mainstream audiences here and abroad, The Temptations’ rise to fame was meteoric. It was on March 6, 1965 that their first million copy, bestselling single, “My Girl” hit #1 on Billboard’s Hot 100 chart. The Temptations’ role as artists, and how they used their voices to speak to the times they lived through, especially during the 60’s-one of the most turbulent decades in our nation’s history, is compelling.
They were among the first African American musical artists to crossover into mainstream America and appear on popular, national mainstream television programs, such as The Ed Sullivan Show, and The Hollywood Palace. The group’s star power was so striking that these top-rated, national programs, and many others, scheduled appearances for The Temptations multiple times during a single year. At the time, this was an unparalleled accomplishment for African American entertainers.
On December 9, 1968, Diana Ross & The Supremes and The Temptations headlined a network television special TCB (Taking Care of Business), a first for two African American music groups. According to published reports at the time, the special won its time slot, was the top-rated television variety show in 1968 and received an Emmy nomination. The original cast soundtrack album, TCB, was released a week prior to the special and reached #1 on the Billboard Top 200 Albums’ chart. In July 1969, Motown put together a major television special for the group called The Temptations Show. In November of that same year, a third national television special, G.I.T. (Gettin’ It Together) on Broadway, starring Diana Ross & The Supremes and The Temptations aired, and according to published reports won the primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Achievement in Costume Design. An accompanying soundtrack album by Diana Ross & the Supremes and The Temptations was released in advance of the television special. The Temptations helped change the face of primetime television and fueled the growth in the performing arts and entertainment world for African American artists forever.
The Temptations, throughout the group’s evolution, have produced 53 Billboard Hot 100 singles, including four Billboard Hot 100 #1 singles: “My Girl,” “I Can’t Get Next to You,” “Just My Imagination,” and “Papa Was a Rollin’ Stone.” Additionally, they released 44 Top 10 R&B chart hits, 14 of which were #1 R&B singles, including timeless classics such as “Ain’t Too Proud to Beg,” “Beauty Is Only Skin Deep,” “I Wish It Would Rain,” and songs influenced by their funk/psychedelic soul sound including “Happy People,” and “Shakey Ground.” The group also has 16 #1 R&B Chart albums. The Temptations’ music, then and now, continues to raise the spirit of the country and uplift a nation searching for common bonds and glimmers of hope and humanity.
The Temptations are the recipients of numerous awards and honors. They have been awarded five Grammy® Awards (and have received nine Grammy® nominations), including the Recording Academy’s Lifetime Achievement Grammy® Award at the 56th Annual Grammy® Awards (2013). The Temptations delivered Motown’s first-ever, GRAMMY® at the 11th Annual Grammy® Awards in 1969 for Best Rhythm & Blues Performance by a Duo or Group, Vocal or Instrumental, for their song, “Cloud Nine.” They won their next two GRAMMYS® at the 15th Annual Grammy® Awards in 1973 for the #1 Billboard Hot 100 Single, “Papa Was a Rollin’ Stone,” which won a total of three Grammy® Awards that year: Best Rhythm & Blues Vocal Performance by a Duo, Group or Chorus, awarded to The Temptations; Best Rhythm & Blues Instrumental Performance, awarded to The Temptations and Paul Riser, and Best Rhythm & Blues Song, awarded to Barrett Strong and Norman Whitfield as songwriters. The group won their fourth GRAMMY® at the 43rd annual Grammy® Awards in 2001 for their Top 20 R&B Chart Album, Ear-Resistible for Best Traditional Rhythm & Blues Vocal Performance. “My Girl,” what many call their magnum opus, was inducted into the Grammy® Hall of Fame in 1998, followed by “Papa Was a Rollin’ Stone” a year later in 1999.
In 1974, The Temptations were the very first group to be awarded Favorite Soul/Rhythm & Blues Band/Duo/ Group at the inaugural American Music Awards Ceremony. In 1975, The Temptations recorded their album, A Song for You, that won the American Music Award for Best Soul/Rhythm & Blues Album, at the third annual American Music Awards ceremony in 1976. The album includes two wildly popular and bestselling #1 R&B singles, “Happy People,” (co-written by Lionel Richie) featuring the Commodores as instrumentalists, and “Shakey Ground” featuring instrumentals by Parliament-Funkadelic’s Eddie Hazel with Billy “Bass” Nelson. In August 1998, The Temptations released the album, Phoenix Rising, featuring the debut of Terry Weeks, a lead vocalist for the group then, and now, and it won the Soul Train Music Award for Best Rhythm & Blues/Soul Album by a Duo or Group at the 12th annual Soul Train Music Awards in 1999. The single, “Stay,” from that album became a “Top 30” R&B single.
In 1983, Ron Tyson, one of the group’s current lead vocalists, joined The Temptations. In May of 1983, the televised anniversary special Motown 25: Yesterday, Today, Forever, aired on NBC-TV and the extraordinary battle between The Temptations and the Four Tops led to a road tour together, famously called the “T’NT” tour. The two legendary groups still perform together today while on their respective concert tours.
In 1988, Dr. Otis Williams’ critically-acclaimed autobiography, Temptations, written with The New York Times bestselling author Patricia Romanowski, was published nationally. The book went on to become the source for both the Emmy Award-Winning television miniseries, The Temptations, in 1998 and in 2019 the smash hit Broadway musical, Ain’t Too Proud: The Life and Times of the Temptations, with Tony Award-Winning choreography and Grammy®-Winning music.
In 1989, The Temptations were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Blockbuster #1 chart hits “Just My Imagination,” “Papa was a Rollin’ Stone,” and “My Girl” are among the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame’s “500 Songs That Shaped Rock and Roll.” The group was also inducted into the Vocal Group Hall of Fame in 1999, and into the Rhythm and Blues Music Hall of Fame in 2013. They were invited back to the Rhythm and Blues Music Hall of Fame in 2017 to receive The Rhythm & Blues Male Group of the 20th Century Award. They also received the NAACP Image Award “Hall of Fame Award” in 1992.
On September 14, 1994, The Temptations were given a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in Los Angeles, California, and on June 7, 2019 given a star on The Apollo Theater’s Walk of Fame in Harlem in New York City. At the official ceremony, Dr. Otis Williams received a plaque marking the occasion on behalf of the legendary, classic five lineup. Dr. Otis Williams was also honored at the Apollo Theater’s 85th Anniversary Gala on June 10th, 2019.
In 2003, in 2012, and again, in September 2020, Rolling Stone magazine included the group’s Anthology album, originally released in 1973, among its list of the 500 Greatest Albums of All Time. In 2020, the editors of Rolling Stone magazine commented that The Temptations are “Indisputably the greatest black vocal group of the Modern Era…”
In 2006, Dr. Otis Williams received an honorary degree of Doctor of Humane Letters from Stillman College, a Historically Black College/University in Tuscaloosa, Alabama.
In 2018, the Library of Congress announced the induction of The Temptations’ classic mega-hit, “My Girl” into the National Recording Registry.
In November of 2019, The Temptations appeared on Billboard’s 125th Anniversary list of the 125 Greatest of All Time Artists.
In addition, for the 2019 holiday season, Universal Music Enterprises, The Temptations’ current recording company, released a first-of-its-kind, animated video featuring the Temptations’ “Silent Night,” one of the most popular holiday songs of all time.
On March 24, 2020 Tantor Media, a division of Recorded Books, released the audiobook edition of Dr. Otis Williams’ critically acclaimed autobiography, Temptations, written with The New York Times best-selling writer Patricia Romanowski. The audiobook includes a never-before-released introduction and a newly revised final chapter. Dr. Otis Williams narrates the new introduction and J.D. Jackson, an AudioFile Golden Voice Award winner, who also narrated Playing for Keeps: Michael Jordan and the World He Made by David Halberstam, narrates the book. The audiobook is available in CD, Mp3 and digital formats.
In June of 2020, The Temptations released, what many called a message for our times, a new, soulful version of the popular single “You’ve Got a Friend,” as a YouTube video. The group raised their voices to reflect on their 60’s struggles and pay tribute to today’s movement for change. The video was recorded in a private session in Los Angeles, California.
In July of 2020, The Temptations were among the Award-Winning stars to perform in the 40th anniversary presentation of A Capitol Fourth, the national July 4th TV tradition on PBS.
In November and December of 2020, the cast of the Broadway musical, Ain’t Too Proud: The Life and Times of The Temptations, performed in three nationally televised NBC-TV holiday events, including: the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, Christmas in Rockefeller Center, and One Night Only: The Best of Broadway to benefit Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS.
Beginning June 2021 through 2022, the 60th anniversary of the Temptations’ legendary history and music is being commemorated.
During Christmas 2021, the national touring production of the hit Broadway musical, Ain’t Too Proud: The Life and Times of The Temptations, opened at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C., where the musical had ran in previews prior to opening on Broadway. He national touring production is currently touring the country for the next several years.
Dr. Otis Williams, the sole surviving, original member of The Temptations, Ron Tyson, a lead vocalist with the group for 39 years, Terry Weeks, a lead vocalist for 25 years, Willie Greene, Jr., bass vocalist with the group for six years, and Anthony Grant, who recently joined the group, always look forward to serenading fans with their soulful voices, lighting up stages with their famous Temptations’ Walk, and bringing joy to audiences of all ages.
Dr. Otis Williams is the founding, and only surviving, member of the original, legendary, super-group the Temptations. He is unlike any other musical artist in American culture. Dr. Otis Williams will turn 80 on October 30, 2021.
The group is celebrating their 60th Anniversary. To mark this milestone, The Temptations’ 60th Anniversary campaign launched this summer and will run through June 2022, in a celebration befitting one of the most revered and prolific musical institutions of all time. The year-long campaign includes a new album in 2022; a 50-city concert tour throughout this year and next, with more global dates to be announced; remastering of their music videos, including “Standing on the Top” with Rick James and their No. 1 hit “Stay;” a new content series; the Imperial Theatre re-opening on October 16th of the Broadway musical, Ain’t Too Proud: The Life and Times of the Temptations, based on Dr. Otis Williams’s personal journey that was nominated for 12 Tony Awards®, including Best Musical and won the Tony Award for Best Choreography at the 73rd Tony Awards ceremony in June 2019 and whose UMe cast album was GRAMMY®-nominated; and celebratory events along the way including Dr. Otis Williams’ 80th birthday on October 30th. Their Emmy® Award-Winning Television mini-series, The Temptations, which first aired to rave reviews in 1998, is still on air or streaming every day somewhere in the world. Williams’ critically acclaimed autobiography, Temptations, was recently released as an audiobook edition for the first time, with a new introduction by Dr. Williams.
The cultural significance of Dr. Williams’ overall life achievements, along with the success and longevity of his musical career, have made him an icon of entertainment. His personal journey from Texarkana, Texas to Motown and eventual global superstardom, is chronicled in an acclaimed autobiography, Temptations, written with TheNew York Times best-selling author Patricia Romanowski, in an Emmy Award-Winning television mini-series, The Temptations, and now in the smash hit Broadway Musical, Ain’t Too Proud: The Life and Times of The Temptations, which won the 2019 Tony Award for Best Choreography.
The Temptations ranked #1 in Billboard magazine’s most recent list of the Greatest R&B/Hip-Hop Artists of All Time, and the group also appears in the magazine’s list of the 125 Greatest of All Time Artists (2019). In September of 2020, the editors of Rolling Stone magazine commented that the Temptations are “Indisputably the greatest black vocal group of the Modern Era…,” and listed the group’s Anthology album among the 500 Greatest Albums of All Time. The Anthology album has appeared in all three of Rolling Stone’s 500 Greatest Albums’ lists.
The Group has sold millions of albums, has won four Grammy® Awards plus a Grammy® Lifetime Achievement Award, and has been inducted into the Grammy®, Rock and Roll, Rhythm and Blues Music, and Vocal Group Halls of Fame. The Temptations also have a star on the “Hollywood Walk of Fame,” and in June of 2019, Dr. Williams and members of the Temptations’ legendary, classic five lineup were inducted into the Apollo Theater’s “Walk of Fame.” Dr. Otis Williams was also honored at the Apollo Theater’s 85th Anniversary Gala on June 10th, 2019.
The Temptations delivered Motown’s first-ever GRAMMY® at the 11th Annual Grammy® Awards ceremony in 1969 for Best Rhythm & Blues Performance by a Duo or Group, Vocal or Instrumental for the song, “Cloud Nine.” They have released countless gold, platinum and multi-platinum hits, many of which are considered American masterpieces. They have 16 #1 R&B Chart albums, 44 Top 10 R&B chart hits, including 14 #1 R&B singles, plus four Billboard Hot 100 #1 singles, including what many call their magnum opus, “My Girl.” In 2018, “My Girl” was entered into the National Recording Registry by the Library of Congress and was inducted into the Grammy® Hall of Fame in 1998. It was the Temptations first #1 million copy hit song.
The Temptations have played numerous sold-out world tours. The Group’s versatile voices, synchronized dance steps, handsome style and dazzling dress, set a new standard that became world famous and is still their distinguished trademark today. The Temptations were also trailblazers in leading the way for other R&B groups to break into mainstream audiences. Blockbuster #1 hits like “My Girl,” “Just My Imagination,” and “Papa Was a Rollin’ Stone,” are included in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame’s “500 Songs That Shaped Rock and Roll,” and marked the early years of what turned into a prolific career and cultural phenomenon spanning six decades. They were awarded the first-ever American Music Award for Favorite Soul/R&B Band/Duo/Group in 1974 and they also won an American Music Award in 1976 for Best R&B Album for A Song for You.
Dr. Williams, also a songwriter and producer, is well-known for his fortitude, for fueling the Temptations’ enormous and ever-increasing popularity, and for inspiring a new generation of musical artists. He received the honorary degree of Doctor of Humane Letters from Stillman College, a Historically Black College/University in Tuscaloosa, Alabama in 2006.
In 2018, the Group released worldwide their latest studio album, All the Time, which was the Group’s first new album in eight years. It was released in CD, vinyl LP, limited edition white vinyl LP and digital formats. It features three new, original Temptations’ songs, in addition to inspired renditions of songs from Maxwell, The Weeknd, Sam Smith, Bruno Mars and others. At the time of the album’s release, Dr. Williams said, “…Looking back, I never could have imagined where my life has taken me. I’m proud of what the Temptations have achieved, and I’m grateful for every opportunity we’ve been so fortunate to receive. The music carries me. Together, we lift our voices with love and wonder…”
In March of 2020, Tantor Media, a division of Recorded Books, released the audiobook edition of Dr. Otis Williams’ critically acclaimed autobiography, Temptations, written with The New York Times best-selling writer Patricia Romanowski. The audiobook includes a never-before-released introduction and a newly revised final chapter. Dr. Williams reads the new introduction and J.D. Jackson, an AudioFile Golden Voice Award winner (2020), narrates the book. The audiobook is available in CD, Mp3 and digital formats.
In June of 2020, the Temptations released, a message for our times, a new, soulful version of “You’ve Got a Friend,” as a YouTube video. The Group raised their voices in the video to reflect on their 60’s struggles and pay tribute to today’s movement for change. The video was recorded in a private session in Los Angeles, California.
In July of 2020, the Temptations were among the Award-Winning stars to perform in the 40th anniversary presentation of A Capitol Fourth, the national July 4th TV tradition on PBS-TV.
Now, from June 2021 through June 2022, the Temptations are commemorating their milestone 60th Anniversary.
The Temptations continue singing their way into the hearts of fans worldwide.
Ron Tyson is a first tenor and lead vocalist for the Temptations, and has been with the group since February 1983. Born February 8, 1948, in Philadelphia, PA, he was raised in Monroe, NC, where he recorded his first record at the age of 7 while singing with his grandfather’s gospel group, Southern Gospel Six. His grandfather’s home was a place where young Ron was introduced to many famous artists like Sam Cooke and the Soulters. In the segregated South of the 50s and 60s African-American recording artists often relied on the hospitality of local folks while touring the region because they weren’t allowed to eat at certain restaurants or stay in the upscale hotels. Ron’s grandfather, Horace Presson Sr., who also had a radio show promoting gospel music, welcomed those artists into his home and offered them meals. While at his grandfather’s dinner table, Ron was inspired and further drawn to music.
As he grew older, Ron discovered he had a real talent for singing and returned to Philadelphia to attend Thomas Edison, Olney and Granoff School of Music where he studied opera and guitar. It was in Philadelphia that he found himself surrounded by world famous artists like Harold Melvin and the Blue Notes (who lived a few doors down from him), and Russell Thompkins of the Stylistics. By 1967, at age 19, Ron was lead singer of The Ethics, a group that originated in Philadelphia. Later changing their name to Love Committee the group released several disco and R&B hits in the 1970’s.
As his career began to take off Ron was inspired by Eugene Booker Record, lead vocalist for the Chicago based Chi-lites to become a songwriter. Says Tyson, “I used to see his credits on various records and thought wow, this is what I want. I want to write! Eugene had written and produced many of the group’s hit songs, as well as songs for other artists. Without Eugene knowing it I learned what I wanted to do as a songwriter and singer from him. I’m so glad I was able to tell him that years later.” Tyson was also inspired as a songwriter by legendary R&B artists Bunny Sigler, and Joe Simon, who helped Ron fine tune his songwriting skills, including counting bars, and also Kenny Gamble and Leon Huff who owned and ran Philadelphia International Records. Ron wrote or co-wrote the majority of the songs for both The Ethics and Love Committee but his writing career truly took off as he began writing and co-writing songs for a wide range of famous artists including the Dells, Gloria Gaynor, The Four Tops, Curtis Mayfield, Harold Melvin and the Blue Notes, The O’Jays, Blue Magic, Archie Bell & The Drells, The Trammps, and many others. To date, Ron has written more than 200 songs.
Ron was a big Temptations fan growing up and idolized Eddie Kendricks and his style. He feels blessed to have become a member of the group and has often referred to his Temptations career as one of the greatest things to happen to him. Ron’s first appearance as a member of the Temptations was on the "Motown 25, Today, Yesterday, Forever" television special in 1983. Says Tyson, “I remember practicing with choreographers Lon Fountain and Cholly Atkins at Lon’s house in advance of that show, every morning from 8:00am until noon. We’d take a lunch break and then continue working out from 1:00pm until 4:00pm. Coming from Philadelphia, a city of music, and growing up listening to the Temptations, and Marvin Gaye, the Four Tops, and so many others—all these people I admired—it was incredible being part of that historic show. I remember Martha Reeves saying everyone was going to be watching me because I was the new kid on the block, taking over the role originally sung by Kendricks. During the broadcast, as Smokey introduced us, and we walked up the four steps to the stage, I was just thinking ‘feet don’t fail me now.’ Then I heard him say ‘Ladies and Gentlemen, the Temptations and the Four Tops.’ It’s a moment I’ll always remember.”
Now, thirty-six years later, Ron says, “The original five paved the way. Now I feel like I’m a contributor on this end of history. It’s a great honor and privilege to be a Temptation. I’ve traveled a long way on a path that began at my grandfather’s house in North Carolina, took me back to Philadelphia, and then onto stages around the world. I take great pride in helping to carry the Temptations’ legacy on into the 21st century.”
Terry Weeks is a lead vocalist for the Temptations, and has been a member of the group since 1997. He was born December 23, 1963, shortly before the original five members of the group released their first big hit, “The Way You Do the Things You Do.” Terry grew up in Bessemer, AL near Birmingham listening to gospel, blue grass, and country music (which he once described as the best place, hands down, to learn group harmony). A graduate of McAdory High School, Weeks’ first love was playing the bass but as he started trying out for, and working with, local bands he realized people were drawn more to his singing than his playing.
The original catalyst for his transition from musician to vocalist came while working at a local supermarket. When he and a co-worker, who was part of a local group, began harmonizing as they were stocking shelves the co-worker told Weeks “You’re a singer. You just don’t know it” and urged him to come to his group’s rehearsal. Says Weeks, “I was just out of high school and about to start my enlistment in the Air Force but in those few months he taught me how to be a singer. I was like a sponge, soaking it all up. As I moved away from playing the bass and gained more confidence as I opened up my voice, people started recognizing me for my singing talent.”
Weeks would spend eight years in the Air Force, from 1982 to 1990, serving in Korea and in the U.S. at McConnell Air Force Base in Wichita, KS and Gunter Air Force Station in Montgomery, AL. He would often sing locally around the Montgomery base, and performed in Tops in Blue, an Air Force ensemble, made up of active duty members, that toured globally performing for airmen and their families.
Once Weeks realized he wanted to make a go of it as a professional singer he gave himself a five-year window to make it happen. In the early 1990s Weeks, then in his late 20s, was visiting friends in Los Angeles when they encountered Otis Williams on Hollywood Boulevard. Says Weeks, “We introduced ourselves and I sang a Donny Hathaway tune for Otis right there on the sidewalk. He asked if I was working with anyone. I told him I was still in the military and it would be a month before I get out. We exchanged phone numbers but I never imagined I would hear from him. When I got home later that day he had already left two messages on my answer machine. I couldn’t believe it. When I called him back he said he wanted to sign me to his production company to do studio work. That was the beginning of my professional music career.”
While working for Williams, Weeks formed a group that signed with Motown which released their self-titled album in 1995. Eventually the group split up and Weeks continued doing studio work for Williams. He also worked with the Temptations during summers on the road, helping with wardrobe and security. Watching the Temptations at work—and the other groups they were performing with such as the O’Jays and the Spinners—Weeks was once again a sponge, absorbing everything he could. “I was in awe of these guys and saw close up the hard work needed to do what they were doing.”
Around this time Weeks was asked to fill in for Ali-Ollie Woodson who was dealing with health issues. The one-month fill-in gig became nine-months and in 1997 Weeks was made a permanent member of the Temptations, a role he sees as a sacred trust. “It’s a huge undertaking and I don’t take it lightly,” says Weeks who’s often told by veterans how the music of the Temptations got them through the war in Vietnam. “I defend the legacy of the Temptations as I’d defend my own family name. It means so much in the world of music, and culturally it helped African Americans find their own voice in the 60’s while striving to be recognized within society. You can’t tell the story of African Americans in this country without talking about the affect this music, and the music of so many others, had on Black culture. It’s part of the fabric of everything that was going on in the country at the time. I feel like I’m a caretaker of it. It’s an honor to be a part of a group, whose rich history and legacy I respect so much.”
Willie Greene, Jr. is the Temptations’ bass vocalist and has been with the group since 2016. Born in Birmingham, Alabama on August 28, 1955 to Maxine and Willie Greene, Sr., he grew up in South-Central Los Angeles, CA and graduated there from George Washington High School.
Greene’s desire to be an entertainer was initially sparked at age six when he saw James Brown & The Famous Flames perform on the big screen. What sealed the deal for Greene however was when he watched The Temptations perform “The Way You Do the Things You Do” and what was then their newest song “Get Ready” on The Lloyd Thaxton Show, a syndicated pop music TV program based in Los Angeles. Says Greene, “When I saw The Tempts, and heard Melvin [Franklin] sing in his bass voice, I knew I wanted to be a Temptation. When my father asked me what I want to be when I grow up, I said I want to be Melvin Franklin.”
Greene—who has recorded and performed with an extraordinary array of music world luminaries including Lyle Lovett, Ry Cooder, Dolly Parton, John Fogerty, and George Harrison—first learned to perform on stage in Los Angeles singing with a quintet called The Formations and moved from there to The Fellas and then The Infallibles. “In all the groups, I’ve been in through my career,” says Greene, “we were always trying to be The Temptations – not The OJ’s, not The Miracles – The Temptations. They were the ones all other groups were measured against.”
In fact, before joining The Temptations Greene had performed nationally and internationally in several Temptations tribute groups including one with former Tempts Ali-Ollie Woodson, Damon Harris, and Richard Street, “That was like being in Temptations University,” says Greene. “We’d rehearse the show three hours a day, five days a week, in Richard’s back yard. He’s the one who taught me all The Temptations choreography.” Another such group, which included former Temptation Barrington “Bo” Henderson, was part of the Legends in Concert show at Harrah’s Casino in Las Vegas.
Greene is convinced what prompted Otis Williams to bring him into the group was a videotape of him performing in that Harrah’s show that Greene included in the audition package he prepared for Williams in December 2015. Says Greene, “The day after he got the package Otis called me. He said we reminded him of the original Temptations. I was floored. What a compliment.”
Asked what stands out most in his mind about the group, Greene says “What I take from The Temptations is how humble, loving, and genuinely decent all these guys are. They’re family to me, a loving family, and I thank God my dream from the time I was a child, to be part of the Temptations family, has come true.”
Mario Corbino has just joined the Temptations this year. Born on April 25, 1969 in Omaha, NE, he was raised and spent time in both Omaha, NE and Oakland, CA. He comes from a musical family. His dad was a jazz musician and his grandmother played the organ and sang at her church.
Mario also plays several instruments. He started out at the age of four playing the piano, then progressed to playing the drum, the bass and other instruments. He has been a part of, and recorded with the Grammy Award-winning group, Club Nouveau.
During his career, he has done studio sessions, recorded and performed with the group Tony! Toni! Tone’ and toured with the United We Funk concert tour.
Now, 51 years old, Mario is thrilled to have joined the legendary Temptations.