top of page

Papa Was A Rolling Stone

This performance, two seconds short of seven minutes, is so packed with delight I lost an hour watching it on repeat. First, it's The Temptations. Now, The Temptations were just one of a raft of Motown-related, all-male heavyweights, though they were on the subsidiary, Gordy Records. Ain't Too Proud To Beg; My Girl; Cloud Nine, Ball of Confusion; Just My Imagination... but I can't name a single member of the band.

Then there's the song. Originally recorded b another Gordy group, The Undisputed Truth, it didn't make much of a dent in the charts. It was a smash with the Temps though.

So there's the band, in matching pink tuxedos with black detailing. But that's not enough. The trousers are salopette style, tight enough around the Temptations' temptations to give the crotch level crowd a full beam blast of moose knuckle.

Then there's the choreography: simple, not showy, but tight, just the right kind of seasoning to add to the song, not overpower it.

Then there's Melvin Franklin's (I looked it up) baritone, so deep the Bathyscaphe Trieste could reach the bottom of it. And Melvin's 19th century facial fuzz.

OK, so that's all occurring on-stage, but that's only part of the story. The crowd are a show on their own, a bunch of Chicago (NY, LA?) hip cats, cutting loose to the groove, some with Northern Soul style, kicks and splits, others with their own group choreography.

I think most people are too worried about being assassinated on social media to be this free, cool and happy nowadays. That's a shame.

Finally, the line, one of the all-time greatest pop lyrics, 'And when he died, all he left us was alone'.

I hope you enjoy this as much as I do.

bottom of page