The Temptations & The Four Tops

The Temptations

Photo of the TemptationsOften referred to as “American Music Royalty,” the Temptations are world-renowned superstars, revered for their phenomenal catalog of music and prolific career. The group’s 60-year history spans both the 20th and 21st centuries and their music transcends generations.

Considered trailblazers in the 60’s, the group is among the first African American musical artists to crossover into mainstream America and appear on popular, national mainstream television programs, such as “The Ed Sullivan Show” and “The Hollywood Palace” – an unparalleled accomplishment for African American entertainers at the time.

The Temptations have produced 53 Billboard Hot 100 Hit singles, including four that became #1 singles: “My Girl,” “I Can’t Get Next to You,” “Just My Imagination,” and “Papa Was a Rollin’ Stone.” They released 43 Top 10 R&B hit singles, 14 of which were #1 R&B hits, including timeless classics such as “Ain’t Too Proud to Beg,” “Beauty Is Only Skin Deep,” “I Wish It Would Rain,” and songs influenced by their funk/psychedelic soul sound including “Happy People,” and “Shakey Ground.” The group also has 16 #1 R&B Albums.

Winners of four Grammy Awards, they also received the Recording Academy’s Lifetime Achievement Grammy Award at the 56th Annual Grammy Awards in 2013. In 1974, the group was the very first to be awarded “Favorite Soul/R&B Band/Duo/ Group” at the inaugural American Music Awards.

In 1989, the Temptations were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and received the Rhythm and Blues Music Hall of Fame “The R&B Male Group of the 20th Century” Award in 2017. In 1992, they received the NAACP Image Award “Hall of Fame Award.” On September 14, 1994, the Temptations were given a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame and on June 7, 2019 were given a star on the Apollo Theater’s Walk of Fame in Harlem.

They are the subject of the hit 2019 Broadway musical “Ain’t Too Proud: The Life and Times of The Temptations.”

Named the “#1 R&B/Hip Hop Artists of All Time,” one of the “125 Greatest of All Time Artists” by Billboard magazine, and one of the “100 Greatest Artists of All Time” by Rolling Stone Magazine, the group is truly a beloved national treasure.

The Four Tops

Photo of the Four TopsOriginally called the Four Aims, the quartet made their first single in 1956 and spent seven years on the road and in nightclubs. The first Motown hit “Baby I Need Your Loving” made them stars and their sixties track record on the label is indispensable to any retrospective of the decade.

Their hits include, “I Can’t Help Myself (Sugar Pie, Honey Bunch),” “It’s The Same Old Song,” “Reach Out I’ll Be There,” “Standing In The Shadows Of Love,” “Bernadette,” “Ask The Lonely,” “Shake Me, Wake Me (When It’s Over),” “Something About You,” “You Keep Running Away,” “7-Rooms Of Gloom,” “Walk Away Renee,” “If I Were A Carpenter,” “Ain’t No Woman (Like The One I’ve Got),” “Keeper Of The Castle,” “Are You Man Enough (from the movie Shaft In Africa),” “Sweet Understanding Love,” “One Chain Don’t Make No Prison,” “Midnight Flower,” and “Catfish.”

In 1980, the group moved to Casablanca Records. The following year they were at no. 1 again, with “When She Was My Girl,” making them one of the few groups to have hits in three consecutive decades. They also scored R&B Top 40s with the ballads “Tonight I’m Gonna Love You All Over” and “I Believe In You And Me,” the original version of the 1996 Whitney Houston smash. By 1983, riding the wave of the company’s 25th anniversary celebration, the Tops were back with Motown and H-D-H, resulting in the R&B Top 40 hits “I Just Can’t Walk Away” and “Sexy Ways.”

They signed with Arista later in the decade and earned their final solo Top 40 hit, “Indestructible,” which was the theme of the 1988 Summer Olympics. They also partnered with Aretha Franklin for the Top 40 R&B “If Ever A Love There Was.”

The Four Tops were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1990 and continued to be a hit in concert. For Rolling Stone’s 2004 article “The Immortals – The Greatest Artists Of All Time,” Smokey Robinson remembered: “They were the best in my neighborhood 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."

Last Modified: 3/6/23