Papa Was a Rollin’ Stone – The Temptations – 1972

The Temptations Papa Was a Rollin Stone 1972In 1972, one of pop’s most successful acts, The Temptations, hit #1 on the US singles chart for the fourth time with Papa Was a Rollin’ Stone.

The Temptations 1the temptations fax

  • The Temptations were one of Motown’s first acts and one of their most successful during the 1960s and 1970s.
  • Like many Motown acts of that era they were singers, dancers, and fashion icons.
  • The Temptations continue to perform with one living original member, Otis Williams, still in the line-up. The only other member of the early Temptations still surviving is Dennis Edwards.
  • The Temptations have sold tens of millions of records and have, among their 20+ hit singles, four #1 US singles: My Girl, I Can’t Get Next to You, Just my Imagination (Running Away With Me), Papa Was a Rollin’ Stone. They have also produced 14 #1 US R&B singles.
  • The band has won three Grammy Awards – they were the first Motown act to win a Grammy Award (for Cloud Nine in 1969). In 2013, they were awarded the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award.
  • Speaking of awards; The Temptations, Dennis Edwards, Melvin Franklin, Eddie Kendricks, David Ruffin, Otis Williams and Paul Williams) were inducted to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1989; and three of their songs, Three classic Temptations songs, My Girl, Just My The Temptations 2Imagination (Running Away with Me), and Papa Was a Rollin’ Stone, are among The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame’s 500 Songs that Shaped Rock and Roll.
  • In 2004, Rolling Stone magazine ranked The Temptations #67 on their list of the 100 Greatest Artists of All Time.

papa was a rollin’ stone – the temptations – 1972

  • Otis Williams considers Papa Was a Rollin’ Stone to be the last real classic the group recorded.
  • Papa Was a Rollin’ Stone was written by famous Motown writers, Norman Whitfield and Barrett Strong.
  • The song was originally released in 1971 by Motown band, The Undisputed Truth in 1971.
  • The Temptations version was recorded in June 1972 and released in September of that year. It dented the charts, but only just; it peaked at #63.
  • Norman Whitfield had produced Papa Was a Rollin’ Stone and, later in 1972, remixed it as a 12:05 minute long record – it went straight to #1 on the US singles chart and won three Grammy Awards in 1973 – Best R&B Vocal Performance by a Group, Best R&B Instrumental (for the B-side) and Best R&B Song.
  • The Temptations 3The B-side of the single was the instrumental of the song – the music to Papa Was a Rollin’ Stone was performed by The Funk Brothers, the Motown session band who backed most the Motown artists.
  • Papa Was a Rollin’ Stone has been covered by several artists including: George Michael, Run-D.M.C., David Lindley and El Rayo-X, Los Lobos, Phil Collins and Craig David.
  • In 1985, in the Battle of the Groups segment of the TV special Motown Returns to the Apollo, The Four Tops sang the coda of Papa Was a Rollin’ Stone. The Temptations pretended to be outraged.  They responded by singing The Four Tops’ hit, Baby I Need Your Loving.
  • In 1994, comedian Bob Rivers parodied the song as Grandpa Loved the Rolling Stones.
  • Papa Was a Rollin’ Stone lyrics.

papa was a rollin’ stone – the temptations -1972 – video – SHORT Version

papa was a rollin’ stone – the temptations -1972 – video – LONG Version

papa was a rollin’ stone – the undisputed truth – 1971 – video

grandpa loves the rolling stones – bob rivers – 1994 – video

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4 Responses to Papa Was a Rollin’ Stone – The Temptations – 1972

  1. Great article… love this song! Oh to have been a fly on the wall for some of their early gigs! 🙂 Not sure how well this little white chick would have fit in in Motown, but I sure would have loved to give it a try. 🙂 Mother Hen

  2. Miki says:

    Great song . . . but why have I never connected it with The T’s?!
    I loved them – can only put it down to baby brain at the time – still a great listen 🙂

  3. Greg.K. says:

    The Temptations were never as big in our end of the world as they were in the US…

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