Temptations co-founder Otis Williams and the group’s manager of 56 years, Shelly Berger, have spoken candidly of the group’s future after “Big Daddy” is no longer on the stage.
With a packed tour book and yet another UK co-headline tour with the Four Tops set to begin on September 30, followed by extensive European shows, that time looks happily distant. The group’s profile remains high, as they continue their 60th anniversary celebrations that include the TEMPTATIONS60 album, released in January.
Meanwhile, after its run on Broadway, the musical based on the group’s history, Ain’t Too Proud, is back “home” at the Detroit Opera House until August 28; its UK opening is said to be planned for early 2023. Nevertheless, the friends of six decades are pragmatic about the post-Otis era.
“We’ve talked about that. Because I’m real with myself,” Williams said in an interview with both men in the Detroit Free Press by Brian McCollum. “I know there’s going to be a time I have come off. You know, 80 years old ain’t like 20.”
“Not when you’re doing what he does and what the Temptations do,” adds Berger. “I mean, there are guys who can go on till 85 or 90 because they stand onstage and sing. The Temptations are a unique situation. We’ll make a stab when Otis is ready to come off the stage because he has worked too long and hard to let it go just because he’s not there.
“But I don’t know,” the manager continues. “Because Otis is the anchor. Otis is the Temptations. So all these disparate people who come in are living on the shoulders of people long gone. They didn’t make any hits. The reason people are applauding and standing up for them is based on what somebody else did.
“Without the anchor, just left up to their own devices, I don’t know that it could carry on. The only reason we’ve continued on to this point is Otis Williams. I’ve never tried it before without that. No matter who else was there, I’ve always had Otis Williams.”