These two powerhouse bands of the Motown era are set to arrive in Cardiff on their rescheduled tour date this year. And the fantastic ODYSSEY will be the opening act.
Before we tell you about the gig we want to pay tribute to the former lead singer of The Temptations BRUCE WILLIAMSON who died in Las Vegas recently from Coronavirus, he was only 49 years old.
Bruce was a talent, and character, the likes of which we’ll never forget. He joined The Temptations back in 2006 and stayed with the guys for almost 10 years. He once said that he ‘did more in six months of being a Temptation than many artists have done in a lifetime.’
Bruce was a gospel singer through and through and was adamant he wouldn’t join the band, even though Motown had been trying to snap him up since 1994.
He finally relented and joined the band, but always joked he was in denial. It was The Temptations founding member Otis Williams who eventually persuaded him to take his rightful place.
According to TMZ, Bruce’s son posted an emotional tribute …
“There’s no words in the world that can express how I feel right now I love you Daddy thank you for being awesome thank you for being loving thank you for being Who You Are I pray to God and we will meet again. I love you Daddy R.I.H KING WILLIAMSON”
His friend Darryl Ross wrote on Facebook……
‘For the pass 28 years he’s been like the Lil brother I never had. We were in the process of recording new music for his solo project while he continue performing he’s live gigs on the weekends [sic]. ‘Sadly he contracted covid-19 and passed away last evening. Please pray for his family, and if you could, send one up for me too, losing so many loved ones this year is really taking a toll on me.’
Our thoughts are with Bruce’s family, friends and thousands of fans worldwide who will continue to be captivated with his incredible voice.
We’re wondering where we even begin to tell you about two of the greatest Motown Legends, THE FOUR TOPS & THE TEMPTATIONS. Even though these guys began making music over 50 years, the appeal of their songs crosses over all ages. We always say, a great song is a great song, no matter when it was made. And these two iconic groups made some of the best and biggest hits of the time.
These two Motown giants are coming back to the UK next year (should have been this pre-pandemic), bringing with them the magic of a golden era that continues to inspire musicians around the globe. What is sometimes forgotten is that the Tamla Motown label broke down cultural and social barriers and The Four Tops and The Temptations were at the very forefront of that revolution.
What we should never forget, is that without Motown, and the founder Berry Gordy Jr, today’s music would be very different.
Berry founded Tamla Records in 1959, and incorporated as Motown Record Corporation in 1960. Its name is a blend of MOTOR & TOWN, which has become a nickname for Detroit, where the label had it’s original headquarters.
Motown was the most successful soul music label, with a net worth of $61 million. During the 1960s, Motown achieved 79 records in the top-ten of the Billboard Hot 100 between 1960 and 1969.
Part of that phenomenon were these two incredible groups, who’ll we’ll get to see next year. Still with original members Duke Fakir and Otis Williams, The Four Tops and The Temptations hold a special place in the hearts of British fans and we know it’ll be an unforgettable night and the guys themselves are delighted to be returning to the UK for this 8-date tour.
Duke Fakir told us…….
“We are thrilled to be coming back to the UK. We always have such a great reception from our fans here, it always feels like home. It makes it so special to perform for the folks in Britain.”
Otis Williams said……
“We’ve been coming to Britain for so many years and have such great memories of our previous visits. These are shows we always look forward to in front of our British fans.”
THE FOUR TOPS were among the first wave of Motown artists to make an impact in the UK with their R&B and soul influenced brand of pop. The line-up of Levi Stubbs, Duke Fakir, Obie Benson and Lawrence Payton teamed up with the Holland-Dozier-Holland writing and production team to score a constant string of hits for over a decade. And is if your really needed reminding, here’s a few of them……
- REACH OUT (I’LL BE THERE)
- IT’S THE SAME OLD SONG
- WALK AWAY RENEE
- BABY I NEED YOUR LOVING
- LOCO IN ACUPOLCO
Baby I Need Your Loving gave them a US hit with their first Motown release in 1964 and they scored their first US Number 1 the following year with I Can’t Help Myself (Sugar Pie Honey Bunch). This also gave them their first UK top ten hit. In 1966 they topped the charts on both sides of the Atlantic with Reach Out I’ll Be There.
The Four Tops were inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame in 1990 and continue to tour regularly led by Duke Fakir, sole surviving member of the classic line-up.
In a Rolling Stone magazine article in 2004 Smokey Robinson remembered:
“They were the best in my neighbourhood in Detroit when I was growing up (and) the Four Tops will always be one of the biggest and the best groups ever. Their music is forever.”
THE TEMPTATIONS were contemporaries of The Four Tops, five-piece line-up of Otis Williams, Melvin Franklin, Paul Williams, Eddie Kendricks and David Ruffin, enjoying similar success to their counterparts.
Their first US Number 1, in 1965 was My Girl, which also gave The Temptations their first UK chart entry. Although only a minor hit in Britain the enduring timeless quality of this ballad has ensured that it remains one of Motown’s signature songs and has been covered by many artists in the ensuing years.
Following their US Number 1 My Girl, The Temptations pioneered progressive soul, looking to environmental and social issues for their subject matter, winning three Grammy Awards.
And here they are together……
On a personal note I can tell you’ve I’ve seen the FOUR TOPS & THE TEMPTATIONS live and they were amazing. We saw them completely by accident and literally walked into their show by mistake, but what a mistake it was. We were working on the media for the opening of Disneyland Paris, all those years ago, and the launch night was incredible. More stars, food and cameras than you have ever seen. To cut a very long story short, we left the hotel to go to the main park and there, performing in front of us were these incredible Motown Icons.
And if these two giants performing in one evening wasn’t enough, it’s just been announced that ODYSSEY will be the support act. This is without a shadow of a doubt, a night not to miss.
ODYSSEY are originally from New York City, which is kind of appropriate as one of their biggest hits is Native New Yorker. They had a catalogue of hits in the late 1970s and early 80s. Some of the best songs of that time came from this trio.
One of them, “Use It Up and Wear It Out”, reached number one in the Singles Chart for two weeks in 1980. The follow-up single, “If You’re Lookin’ for a Way Out” had Lillian Lopez on lead vocals; the single again made the top ten and spend a total of fifteen weeks in the UK chart. Odyssey actually became the third US act of the year (after Fern Kinney and M.A.S.H.) to reach number one in the UK despite not charting in their home country.
Their later hit “Going Back to My Roots” was written and originally recorded by Lamont Dozier of Holland-Dozier-Holland fame, and another superstar of the Motown label. In fact, they wrote the Four Tops classics, ‘Baby I Need Your Loving, Reach Out, Standing In The Shadows of Love’ and the list is endless.
You can see these Motown Legends together on stage at the Motorpoint Arena in Cardiff on 1st October. If you’ve already got a ticket for the original date, hang onto it as it’s still valid. You can get more details and tickets, right here. MOTOWN