-My Tribute To The Temptations-

all photos copyright 2005 Whitaker Historic Photography-Delroi Whitaker-photographer

I would like very much to express my appreciation for The Temptations (all line ups) and how the Temptations have touched so many people from all walks of life though their music and their legacy. My good friend Glenn Leonard mentioned recently during one of his shows about the tempts who started from the begining & how Otis is a leader who leads from the background and how he is blessed to be standing tall and still performing today. I was so blessed to be able to photograph several different lineups over the years. I am a TRUE Temptation at heart, and I will always love and admire this wonderful group of entertainers. Although I have MUCh respect for anyone who has ever been a Temptation, I wanted to share some anecdotes about a few members who have been special to me over the years. GOD bless them all.


The tempts were at the Melody Theather in West Covina. I was there along with my cousins Melvin Jr. & Lauren. We had a wonderful time. The stage rotated in a circle so where ever you sat, you had a nice view. Eddie was very special to many and was one of the greatest tenors that ever lived. His music & talent speaks for itself. My all time favorite Eddie lead song is "Just My Imagination"". From my heart, I feel that GOD allows others to fill the spot when one must move on to other endeavors in life. The other Temptations that stepped in to fill Eddie's shoes also touched me and many others. I give all the glory to GOD that I was able to see and capture Eddie and his incredible talent on film and be in his company several times. Reading articles and enjoying the Tempts and sharing my stories & photos of Eddie and the other Tempts is a blessing. Eddie was very impressive and truly a legend.


Regarding Mr. David Ruffin, my brother Erik photographed David's era from the beginning on the west coast for Soul Publications. Check out Erik's page on my site.(David Ruffin photos coming soon) "My Girl" to me, is the most played song in the r&b soulful era where kids, teens, & adults know the lyrics. The song always sounds fresh and new, even though it's 40 years old. David Ruffin was a DYNAMIC performer and lead singer.


Going back some years, the very first time that I had the chance to see the Tempts was in Los Angeles at the Shrine Auditorium. I was with some close friends,and it was standing room only in the hall area. The show was a review show with several other acts. I don't remember all of the other acts, but one that stands out in my mind was Ike and Tina Turner. The Tempts were the main headliners. When I think of this show, I remember how Mr. Paul Williams was ending their show with "Don't Look Back". Out of all the shows that my brother and I had the opportunity to photograph, Paul's presence, style, and talent was very unique. Words can not accurately express Paul's performance. When you listen to the song "For Once In My Life", you will agee. My brother Erik had very unquie photos of the Paul as well as the Tempts.


There was a night that my brother Erik and I were at the Inglewood Forum taking photos for Soul PUB. I was an assitant to my brother. Otis was walking around dressed in regular clothes with a hat and sunglasses. This was before the Tempts were to perform. People were still coming in for the show and far as I could remember it was a full house. Most of the people who were near Otis didn't know who he was. I can imagine if they knew, what could have happened. That night, four tempts came out to introduce Dennis Edwards to Los Angeles for the first time. The fans were so excited that they came down to the middle of the forum and after repeatly being asked, they would not go back to their seats. The show was cancelled during the middle of their performance. My brother and I were able to get some historical photos. I take my hat off to Otis and all the guys. Still going strong after 40 years. They are all pioneers.


Melvin was a very nice & down to earth young man and I believe that he was the greatest bass singer since Mr. Paul Robeson. My brother Erik was taking photos for Soul Magazine at the Sports Arena in Los Angeles and I was there working under the wings of my brother. The night of this particular concert was a very special night that I will never forget. "I Wish It Would Rain" was their latest release. When the Temptations came on stage, Mr. David Ruffin lead the first song "Yesterday", and they did it "Temptations stlye". After that, Mr. Melvin Franklin broke out with the lead "I Truly Truly Believe" and Otis also sang lead on a song.


When the Tempts came out with "Cloud Nine" the sound of their music had changed. When I think back to the first time that I had the chance to listen to the album, I was in the hospital for three months due to a bad fracture when my cousin and friend Lauren came to take me home. I was a fan at heart but it took me a while to grow with the new era. That is what's so special about the Temptations, even today's lineup. The people who were connected with Motown had the best minds in the era of bringing and putting the best talent with their artists. when Dennis was introduced for the first time, the fans went wild and that's when my brother and I went to work with our cameras. They were all in their golden outfits with their caps to match. (pictured below right) Over the years, I've had the chance to continue to capture the Tempts. What was really special is every one could do lead.


I was going back some years thinking about the search that the temps were going through looking for another tenor after Damon Harris. I first saw Glenn's photo in the Soul Publication. When my brother Erik had left Los Angeles, Ken and Regina Jones, owners of Soul Publication, allowed me to cover the Tempts at the universal Theater. This particular night was Glenn's first Los Angeles show. The show was sold out and was great. I had the chance to cover many shows of the tempts; such as Magic Mountain ,The Roxy in Los Angeles, and being invited to the bay area. When I was up north, I had the honor of driving Glenn to the show. During the three day stay, Glenn and Louis and the guys were very kind to me. Glenn's time with the Tempts was awesome. His lead "Wake Up To Me" with Melvin's additional bass lead was very special to me. I also had the chance to take photos of the guys while they were in the studio recording the "Bareback" LP. Glenn was a wonderful and talented friend and we still keep in touch today.


Louis Price was a special Tempt and friend that gave me an opportunity to further my career. One day, Louis invited me to come to the Bay area to photograph the Tempts. Erik was in another state at this time, so when the Tempts were performing at Magic Mountain, Louis had just started in the group. I had the opportunity to share my photos from Magic Mountain with the tempts at a record store in L.A. where they were doing an autograph session. The tempts were very pleased with my photos. Louis' talents are so dynamic and he was great with opening the shows with the song "There's No Stoppin' (Till We Set the Whole World Rockin')" and also when he sang "A Song For You"and many others. "Once a Tempt you are a Tempt for life". Louis and Glenn were the ones who planted words of wisdom in my life and I thank both of them for sharing with me.


Mr. Richard Street was connected with the Tempts from the beginning. My brother and I were covering a concert for soul publication, including "The Fifth Dimention", "The Monitors" (Richard Street was a member on the same bill), Smokey Robinson and the Miracles and the main headliners, "The Four Tops". At the time I wasn't aware of Richard until a friend, George Livington had given us copies of my brother's work. He did lots of research from being a great admirer of Erik's work. George was a photographer as well. Richard was a special tempt in my eyes. He had some BIG shoes to fill following the GREAT PAUL WILLIAMS and I can imagine it wasn't easy. "Firefly" and "Heavenly" with Damon Harris and Richard on lead were my favorite songs with the two of them leading.


It was a period in my life where I took a break from covering events. One day when I was at the airport picking up an friend, I ran into the Tempts and had the chance to chat with Otis and Richard. When I was chating with richard, that was the first time that I saw Ron Tyson casually. I had seen him perform before as I had taken photos of the Temps & Tops a few years earlier at the GreeK Theatre but I wasn't as familiar with Ron as I became later on. Ron Tyson has made a mark in history with his 22 years of being with the group. What a milestone. Congratulations Mr. Ron Tyson!


When Damon Harris joined, it brought a new look to the group because he was so young. I had taken photos of the guys with Damon at the universal Amphitheatre. I never did get the chance to hear Damon at lead singing "Never Can Say Goodbye", the Jackson Five tune. My favorite lead by Damon is "Love Woke Me Up" and he is great on the "Live in Japan" CD.


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