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 line-up formed
in Detroit in 1961 as a merger of two local vocal groups,
the Primes and the Distants. Baritone Otis Williams,
Elbridge (a.k.a. El, or Al) Bryant and bass vocalist
Melvin Franklin were longtime veterans of the Detroit
music scene when they joined together in the Distants,
who in 1959 recorded the single "Come On"
for the local Northern label. Around the same time,
the Primes, a trio comprised of tenor Eddie Kendricks,
Paul Williams (no relation to Otis) and Kell Osborne,
relocated to the Motor City from their native Alabama;
they quickly found success locally, and their manager
even put together a girl group counterpart dubbed the
Primettes. (Later, three of the Primettes -- Diana Ross,
Mary Wilson and Florence Ballard -- formed the Supremes).
Full Biography and Discography -->
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