The four-time Grammy Award-winning male vocal group, known for classic hits such as My Girl, Papa was a Rollin’ Stone and Ain’t too Proud to Beg, will perform with Symphony Orchestra Augusta in the University Health Care System Pops! at the Bell series at 7:30 p.m. Feb. 9 at Bell Auditorium.
Fifty years after record producer Berry Gordy signed the group with Motown Records, the Temptations continue to tour year-round in the U.S. and internationally. Otis Williams, one of the original members, still sings with the Temptations, and he is joined by Terry Weeks, Bruce Williamson, Joe Herndon and Ron Tyson, who has been with the group for 29 years.
Fans can look forward to hearing their favorite tunes during the show, said Weeks, a 16-year veteran of the Temptations, during a telephone interview.
“We’re going to do the old and loved stuff. We try to present the show as authentically as possible,” Weeks said. “As long as we stay true to the original melody of these songs and deliver them to the best of our ability, along with the choreography that we’re known for, that pretty much settles it.”
Weeks said he became a part of the group after he met Williams on a street corner in Los Angeles in 1990.
“It was on the corner of Hollywood Boulevard and Cherokee. I remember it just like it was yesterday,” Weeks said. “It’s an absolute honor to be a part of music that’s been around for 50 years and still selling out concerts.”
Music has changed, but people still love the music of the Temptations. The group has recorded 61 albums, but 99 percent of the audience comes to shows to hear the classics, Weeks said.
“There’s not that many groups that are doing this type of music and this type of show. Sometimes we’re looking in the audience, and we’re looking at four generations of an entire family,” Weeks said. “It’s absolutely refreshing to see the young kids drawn to this music. We’re basically trying to keep up with the demand for this music. It’s like it’s new music again.”
The Temptations will tour in Europe for most of March.
“The European audiences absolutely love this music. They keep demanding that we bring it to them,” Weeks said.
Weeks said that Williams, who has been the glue for the group, is down-to-earth, and he often asks him whether he realizes how famous he is.
Williams has shared his memories of the Temptations with the newer members, such as traveling during segregated times.
“However, as soon as the music started, everyone in the building forgot that they were black or white. It was all about the music and having a good time. It absolutely showed how powerful the music medium can be,” Weeks said.
Gordy still comes to see the Temptations’ shows in Los Angeles.
“He’s always the businessman. He’s always critiquing us and telling us things that we could do better,” Weeks said.
In the group’s history, Weeks said that Smokey Robinson was the best songwriter the group has had.
“Hands down. He’s just a walking jukebox. It’s just tune after tune after tune, not to mention his own solo material. It’s an absolute honor to know such a person that has that much talent,” Weeks said.
Weeks said the Temptations, ranging in age from 41 to 71, will perform and record as long as they’re able.
“We always kid that although we’re out working on the road, we’ve been unemployed for so long we don’t even remember what a job is like. It’s hard to call something a job when you’re having so much fun doing it,” Weeks said.