Otis Williams of The Temptations turns 80-years old today. The Motown legend will be celebrated this Monday November 1, 2021 by the City College Center For The Arts during a live virtual event. Musician K. Sparks will host a conversation about Williams at Aaron Davis Hall with special guests. The gathering celebrates Williams’ birthday and the 60th anniversary of The Temptations. Williams became famous with Paul Williams, David Ruffin, Eddie Kendricks and Melvin Franklin during the group’s Classic Five era. Their hit songs like “The Way You Do The Things You Do,” “My Girl” and “Since I Lost My Baby” made The Temptations the premier all-male vocal group of the ’60s. They were among one of the first Black groups to have crossover success in America and appear on mainstream television. The group had its own television specials in the ’60s two of them (Taking Care Of Business & Getting It Together) with Diana Ross & The Supremes which was something that never happened for Black entertainers before them. The Temptations Show in 1969 was a Motown-produced television program.
The lineup has changed over the past six decades after the passing of Paul Williams, David Ruffin, Eddie Kendricks and Melvin Franklin. Dennis Edwards replaced Ruffin in 1968 and left the group in the ’80s. Otis Williams is the remaining original member and he has kept The Temptations alive with different singers. They just released their new single “Is It Gonna Be Yes Or No” which is a collaboration with former Motown label mate Smokey Robinson. The Broadway musical Ain’t Too Proud: The Life And Times Of The Temptations about their journey has re-opened at the Imperial Theatre in New York City. Their story was first presented to the public with the Emmy-winning 1998 television mini-series The Temptations which became known for actor Leon’s brilliant portrayal of David Ruffin.
The group is a member of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, Grammy winners and still on tour in 2021. The City College Center For The Arts event will start at 7:30 PM ET. Fans can RSVP at https://citycollegecenterforthearts.org/shows/celebrating-otis-williams/