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Merry Christmas: The Temptations

The Temptations

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Album Review

The Temptations waited nearly ten years to work with '70s hit-making producer Thom Bell. While the Temptations sound as impeccable as ever, the compositions lacked the magic for which the quintet was known among their R&B followers. This collection of songs leans more toward the pop format. "Aiming at Your Heart" is an uptempo, homegrown R&B cut featuring Richard Street and Glenn Leonard on lead vocals, and it was the only single to crack the Billboard R&B charts (#36, 13 weeks). While Street gets gritty with his blaring baritone, Leonard's contrasting falsetto blossoms with agility as the two storm their way through the vamp. Melvin Franklin takes center stage on "What Else," a beautifully written number with a bright melody and a Temptations-style arrangement. Franklin's distinguishable bass sails through this mellow tune. While all the songs are worthy, the album should have been marketed to a crossover audience.


Formed: 1960 in Detroit, MI

Genre: R&B/Soul

Years Active: '60s, '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s, '10s

Thanks to their fine-tuned choreography — and even finer harmonies — the Temptations became the definitive male vocal group of the 1960s; one of Motown's most elastic acts, they tackled both lush pop and politically charged funk with equal flair, and weathered a steady stream of changes in personnel and consumer tastes with rare dignity and grace. The Temptations' initial five-man lineup formed in Detroit in 1961 as a merger of two local vocal groups, the Primes and the Distants. Baritone...
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