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The Temptations continue to sing Motown's praises

for Journal Register Newspapers

Posted: Friday, July 27, 2012

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Otis Williams says he feels "great" at 70. "It feels like I'm 50," he notes.

And why not? He has, after all, spent more than 50 of those year as a member of the Temptations, one of Motown's most celebrated and prolific groups.

"I love what I do; I think that has something to do with it," says the Texas-born Williams, who moved to Detroit when he was 10 years old and now resides in Los Angeles. "But aside form loving what I do, you still have to have a certain amount of discipline. You have to watch how you live your life. I know what we do on stage, there's a lot of physical stuff involved, so we try not to burn the candle at both ends."

And if Williams needs inspiration to keep him straight, he has the example of late bandmates such as David Ruffin and Eddie Kendricks, whose lifestyles ultimately caught up with them. "I do miss those guys, truth be told," Williams acknowledges. "But all in all, I've always been pretty low-key. I like my private time. In most cases I'd be at home watching movies or sketching, maybe go tot the gym and work out. I've been that kind of fella all along, so it didn't take too much of a leap for me to cut back on things."

The Temptations have plans for the future, including another new album and a Broadway musical about the group's career. But 2012 also marks the 40th anniversary of the group's landmark hit "Papa Was a Rollin' Stone" -- a song Williams said the group didn't want to record when the late producer Norman Whitfield first presented it.

"We wanted to get back to the sweet balls -- 'My Girl,' 'Since I Lost My Baby,' stuff like that," Williams recalls. "But Norman was very adamant. He felt it was going to be a big record, so we said, 'OK, let's record it.' So we did, and then we went back out on the road, and when we came back it was No. 1 and we got two Grammys and it was just overwhelming.

"So Norman was right, and we were sure glad we listened to him."

The Temptations and Landau Eugene Murphy, Jr. perform at 7:30 p.m. Friday, July 27, at the DTE Energy Music Theatre, Sashabaw Road east of I-75, Independence Township. Tickets are $10-$35 pavilion and $10 lawn. Call 248-377-0100 or visit www.palacenet.com.

Web Site: www.palacenet.com

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