Tag Archives: Smokey Robinson

Just My Imagination – The Temptations

The number one song on March 30, 1971 was “Just My Imagination” by the Temptations.

For more than forty years, the Temptations have prospered, propelling popular music with a series of smash hits and sold-out performances throughout the world.

The history of the Temptations is the history of contemporary American pop.   An essential component of the original Motown machine, that amazing engine invented by Berry Gordy, the Temps began their musical life in Detroit in the early sixties.   It wasn’t until 1964, however, that the Smokey Robinson written-and-produced “The Way You Do the Things You Do” turned the guys into stars.

An avalanche of hits followed, many of which – “My Girl,” for instance-attained immortality. “It’s Growing,” “Since I Lost My Baby,” “Get Ready,” “Too Proud to Beg,” “Beauty Is Only Skin Deep,” “I Wish It Would Rain”-the hits kept coming.

The classic lineup was Otis Williams, Melvin Franklin, Paul Williams, Eddie Kendricks and David Ruffin.   Beyond the fabulous singing, the Temps became known for smooth stepping and flawless presentations.   The Temptation Walk became a staple of American style, Flair, flash and class.   Millions of fans saw their Temptations as cultural heroes.

When the sixties and seventies turned political, the Temps got serious.   They changed their tone, dress and music. Producer Norman Whitfield led the way.   His Temptations hits, many featuring Dennis Edwards who had replaced David Ruffin, burned with intensity. “Runaway Child,” “Cloud Nine,” “I Can’t Get Next to You,” “Papa Was a Rolling Stone” and “Psychedelic Shack” still smolder.

This song, Just My Imagination, is just another one of the worthy songs listed here for…”those who have ears to hear”…


The Voice Of Motown…Silenced Forever

The great voice of Levi Stubbs is now silenced.

That dynamic voice that brought us classics like “Reach Out (I’ll be There)” , “Baby I need Your Loving” and “I Can’t Help Myself (Sugar Pie Honey-bunch)”  and other hits, died today at the age of 72.

Levi Stubbs was the front man and lead singer for the popular Motown group known as the Four Tops.  The Four Tops sold millions of records and performed for more than four decades without a change in personnel.

Former Motown label-mate Smokey Robinson said, “Levi Stubbs was one of the great voices of all times. He was very near and dear to my heart. He was my friend and my brother, I miss him. God bless his family and comfort them.”

The Four Tops began singing together in 1953 under the name the Four Aims and signed a deal with Chess Records.  They also recorded for Red Top, Riverside and Columbia Records and toured supper clubs.

The received their greatest success when they signed with Motown Records in 1963.  They produced 20 Top-40 hits over the next 10 years, making music history with the other acts in Berry Gordy’s Motown stable.

“It is not only a tremendous personal loss for me, but for the Motown family, and people all over the world who were touched by his rare voice and remarkable spirit,” Gordy said Friday. “Levi was the greatest interpreter of songs I’ve ever heard.”

When he and others at Motown first heard “Baby I Need Your Loving,” Gordy remembered: “Levi’s voice exploded in the room and went straight for our hearts. We all knew it was a hit, hands down.”

Their biggest hits were recorded between 1964 and 1967 with the in-house songwriting and production team of Brian Holland, Lamont Dozier and Eddie Holland. Both 1965’s “I Can’t Help Myself (Sugar Pie, Honey Bunch)” and 1966’s “Reach Out” went to No. 1 on the Billboard pop chart.

Other hits included “Shake Me, Wake Me” (1966), “Bernadette” and “Standing in the Shadows of Love” (both 1967).

Stubbs “fits right up there with all the icons of Motown,” said Audley Smith, chief operating officer of the Motown Historical Museum. “His voice was as unique as Marvin’s or as Smokey’s or as Stevie’s.”

Levi Stubbs and the Four Tops were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1990 and they have a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

Click on the following links and enjoy the voice and legend of Levi Stubbs…

“Reach Out and I’ll Be There”

“Baby I Need Your Loving”

“I Can’t Help Myself (Sugar Pie Honey-bunch)”s,

“Standing in the Shadows of Love”

“It’s the Same Old Song”