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‘Motown Never Left,’ Says Temptations’ Otis Williams In Museum Visit

As the Detroit Free Press reports, Williams shared stories from the group’s 61-year history.

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Otis Williams - Photo: Scott Dudelson/Getty Images
Otis Williams - Photo: Scott Dudelson/Getty Images

With the latter-day Temptations and Four Tops back in the city where both groups were born, for a double bill show at Detroit’s Fox Theatre tonight (6), the Tempts’ surviving co-founder Otis Williams paid a visit to the Motown Museum yesterday.

Shop the best of the Temptations’ discography on vinyl and more.

As the Detroit Free Press reports, Williams shared stories from the group’s 61-year history, imparting his wisdom to an audience including 13 aspiring artists from the museum’s Hitsville Next programs. The event was hosted by museum chairwoman and CEO Robin Terry, and featured Otis’ observations on a range of subjects and experiences from the rich history of the Motown giants.

Williams, who turns 82 on October 30, reminisced with admiring fans about the Temptations’ meeting with Barack Obama in the White House, when the President joined them for an impromptu version of “Silent Night.” He also spoke reverentially about his fallen groupmates from the Tempts’ first classic era, Paul Williams, Eddie Kendricks, David Ruffin, and Melvin Franklin.

Reflecting on the group’s rise to fame and fortune, and the inevitable tensions that ensued. he said: “The one thing that started to change was when we started having hit after hit, making money. That’s when you start finding out what you really are…I loved David, Eddie, Paul, Melvin — all the guys that have helped make this group so well-loved.

Temptations 60 - Chapter 1: The Beginning

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“You know what got in our way? Life,” he continued. “You’re talking about five brothers that came from nothing and started making money-a-go-go, traveling. I mean, we’ve been going to the White House since Nixon was in power.”

Speaking of the Motown legacy, Williams noted: “Motown never left. It’s still here. It’s a new generation of people, like this wonderful lady here [Terry]. She calls me anytime when it comes to enhancing talent, improving talent. The spirit of Motown…here we are in the 21st century. Berry [Gordy] would never have imagined that in 1959, but it’s still there.

“You’ve just got to believe in what’s happening now. It’s a new cultivation of what’s happening. This young lady can call on me, Smokey, Stevie, any of the cornerstones — she can call any of us and say, ‘What do you think?’ Because we have built this for everybody to come.”

Tonight’s show by the Temptations and the Four Tosp starts at 7.30pm, and remaining tickets are available here.

Listen to the best of The Temptations on Apple Music and Spotify.

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