From Our Town to Motown
Out of the almost eight billion people in the world, there are only a handful who have earned the title of “Living Legend.” Of those legendary few, Texarkana can proudly claim one of the greatest who grew up right here in our city. In 60 years of artistry, he has earned more accolades than most people do in an entire lifetime. But our hometown legend is still making music and entertaining fans. For those of us who love Texarkana, USA, Dr. Otis Williams is a source of pride. From our town to Motown, Dr. Williams has paved the roads with slick dance moves, beautiful music and Grammy® gold.
Dr. Otis Williams, who will be 80 years old this October, is the founding, and only surviving, member of the original super-group, The Temptations. He is unlike any other musical artist in American culture. June 2021 marks the sixtieth anniversary since the founding of this legendary group.
The cultural significance of Dr. Williams’ overall life achievements, along with the success and longevity of his musical career, have made him an icon of entertainment. His personal journey from Texarkana, Texas, to Motown and eventual global superstardom, is chronicled in the acclaimed autobiography, Temptations, written with The New York Times best-selling author Patricia Romanowski. There is also an Emmy Award-Winning television mini-series entitled The Temptations and a smash hit Broadway musical, Ain’t Too Proud: The Life and Times of The Temptations, which won the 2019 Tony Award for Best Choreography. Broadway producers also announced a touring production of the musical will appear in more than fifty cities across America, in 100+ weeks on dates to be determined.
The Temptations ranked #1 in Billboard Magazine’s most recent list of the Greatest R&B/Hip-Hop Artists of All Time, and the group also appears in the magazine’s list of the 125 Greatest of All Time Artists (2019). In September 2020, the editors of Rolling Stone magazine commented that The Temptations are, “indisputably the greatest black vocal group of the Modern Era…,” and listed the group’s Anthology album among the 500 Greatest Albums of All Time. The Anthology album has appeared in all three of Rolling Stone’s 500 Greatest Albums’ lists.
The Group has sold millions of albums, won four Grammy® Awards plus a Grammy® Lifetime Achievement Award, and has been inducted into the Grammy®, Rock and Roll, Rhythm and Blues Music, and Vocal Group Halls of Fame. The Temptations also have a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, and in June 2019, Dr. Williams and members of The Temptations’ legendary, classic five line-up were inducted into Apollo Theater’s “Walk of Fame.” Dr. Otis Williams was also honored at the Apollo Theater’s 85th Anniversary Gala on June 10, 2019.
The Temptations delivered Motown’s first-ever Grammy® at the 11th Annual Grammy® Awards ceremony in 1969 for Best Rhythm and Blues Performance by a Duo or Group, Vocal or Instrumental, for the song, “Cloud Nine.” They have released countless gold, platinum and multi-platinum hits, many of which are considered American masterpieces. They have 16 #1 R&B chart albums, 44 Top Ten R&B chart hits, including 14 #1 R&B singles, plus four Billboard Hot 100 #1 singles, including what many call their magnum opus, “My Girl.” In 2018, “My Girl” was entered into the National Recording Registry by the Library of Congress and was inducted into the Grammy® Hall of Fame in 1998. It was The Temptations first #1 million copy hit song.
The Temptations have played numerous sold-out world tours. The group’s versatile voices, synchronized dance steps, handsome style and dazzling dress, set a new standard that became world famous and is still their distinguished trademark today. The Temptations were also trailblazers in leading the way for other R&B groups to break into mainstream audiences. Blockbuster #1 hits like “My Girl,” “Just My Imagination,” and “Papa Was a Rollin’ Stone,” are included in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame’s “500 Songs That Shaped Rock and Roll,” and marked the early years of what turned into a prolific career and cultural phenomenon spanning six decades. They were awarded the first-ever American Music Award for Favorite Soul/R&B Band/Duo/Group in 1974, and they also won an American Music Award in 1976 for Best R&B Album for A Song for You.
Dr. Williams, also a songwriter and producer, is well-known for his fortitude, for fueling The Temptations’ enormous and ever-increasing popularity and for inspiring a new generation of musical artists. He received the honorary degree of Doctor of Humane Letters from Stillman College, a historically black college and university in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, in 2006.
In 2018, the group released worldwide their latest studio album, All the Time, which was the group’s first new album in eight years. It was released in CD, vinyl LP, limited edition white vinyl LP and digital formats. It features three new, original songs, in addition to inspired renditions of songs from Maxwell, The Weeknd, Sam Smith, Bruno Mars and others. At the time of the album’s release, Dr. Williams said, “…Looking back, I never could have imagined where my life has taken me. I’m proud of what The Temptations have achieved, and I’m grateful for every opportunity we’ve been so fortunate to receive. The music carries me. Together, we lift our voices with love and wonder…”
In March 2020, Tantor Media, a division of Recorded Books, released the audio edition of Dr. Otis Williams’ critically acclaimed autobiography, Temptations, written with The New York Times best-selling writer Patricia Romanowski. The audiobook includes a never-before-released introduction and a newly revised final chapter. Dr. Williams reads the new introduction and J.D. Jackson, an AudioFile Golden Voice Award winner (2020), narrates the book. The audiobook is available in CD, MP3 and digital formats.
In June 2020, The Temptations released, “A Message for Our Times,” a new, soulful version of “You’ve Got a Friend,” as a YouTube video. The group raised their voices in the video to reflect on their 60s struggles and pay tribute to today’s movement for change. The video was recorded in a private session in Los Angeles, California.
In July 2020, The Temptations were among the award-winning stars who performed in the fortieth anniversary presentation of “A Capitol Fourth,” the national July fourth TV tradition on PBS-TV.
The Temptations are planning a U.S. concert tour with dates to be determined, and a UK concert tour, for the fall of 2021. In addition, after a year away, the Broadway musical Ain’t Too Proud: The Life and Times of the Temptations, returns home to Broadway, on October 16, 2021. Tickets are on sale now, for more information go to ainttooproudmusical.com.
The Temptations continue singing their way into the hearts of fans worldwide.