‘Temptin’ Temptations’: America Yields Again To Motown Heroes

‘Temptin’ Temptations’ was the second in the group’s incredible sequence of ten consecutive No.1 albums on the Billboard R&B chart.

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Temptations artwork: UMG
Temptations artwork: UMG

The Temptations created some great records, in more ways than one. On December 11, 1965, the momentum behind the Motown vocal masters was building into something extraordinary, as they scored the second in what would be an incredible sequence of ten consecutive No.1 albums on the Billboard R&B chart.

Temptin’ Temptations was the LP that hit the top, only 14 weeks after the group’s first R&B No.1 album The Temptations Sing Smokey had completed its reign of no fewer than 18 weeks. The follow-up weighed in with a hefty aggregate of 14 of its own, taking over from the Ramsey Lewis Trio’s The In Crowd. It led the way for five consecutive weeks and then twice regained the lead over Smokey Robinson’s latest releases with the Miracles, Going To A Go-Go. In the space of a calendar year, the group thus topped the R&B listings for 32 weeks.

The Tempts’ album of Smokey songs had included not only the mighty “My Girl” but other great favourites such as “The Way You Do The Things You Do” and “It’s Growing.” Then Temptin’ Temptations lived up to its name with another impressive array of hits. “Since I Lost My Baby,” “Girl (Why You Wanna Make Me Blue),” “My Baby,” “I’ll Be In Trouble” and “Don’t Look Back” were all part of the irresistible collection.

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The LP was overseen by the Motown A-list of producers: Smokey again, “Mickey” Stevenson, Ivy Jo Hunter, and Norman Whitfield. Lesser-known tracks like “Just Another Lonely Night” and “I Gotta Know Now” are equally rewarding. As we see above in this funky interpretation on The Ed Sullivan Show in 1967, “Don’t Look Back” was a showcase for the group’s often-underrated stalwart Paul Williams.

Listen to uDiscover Music’s Best Motown Songs Ever playlist.

The regularity with which the Temptations were producing No.1 albums at the time almost defies belief. In September 1966, just 15 weeks after Temptin’ completed its run, they were back at the peak with Gettin’ Ready. That ruled for three weeks, and 16 weeks later, there they were yet again with their fourth chart-topper, their first Greatest Hits set. Every Temptations album until early 1969 went to No.1, in a scorecard of 16 bestselling R&B albums. America was yielding to Temptation with great enthusiasm.

Buy or stream Temptin’ Temptations.

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