BESIDES public demand and putting food on the table there’s good reason Motown legends The Temptations and The Four Tops keep plying their trade in the UK.
“We have to keep coming as there’s a lot of ‘phoney’ Temptations and we have to keep marking our territory,” says Temptations original Otis Williams ahead of their Motorpoint Arena return tomorrow night.
“But we still enjoy it. It’s our vocation and as we work constantly we can still make a good living.
“We’ve always been received so well in the UK, it’s a great pleasure to keep bringing our music to British audiences. It’s like a second home to us.”
Many of the band’s contemporaries have long since split or retired, but Otis, along with band-mates Ron Tyson, Terry Weeks, Joe Herndon and Bruce Williamson, continue singing an incredible catalogue of hits, such as Get Ready, Ball Of Confusion, Papa Was A Rolling Stone, Just My Imagination and My Girl.
“That’s our national anthem,” he says of the latter, “if we didn’t sing that we’d be in a world of trouble.”
Beyond that, Otis, now in his early 70s, has additional reasons why The Temptations have remained popular.
“We’re dealing with songs that are a blueprint of people’s lives. They can reminisce to them. The songs are not offensive in any way and they have stood the test of time.
“Finally, we have a show-business approach that was drummed into us at Motown. We work hard at our choreography and give a good professional show.”
Also on the bill this time are Tavares and The Crystals. The latter were one of the first girl groups, having hits with the Gene Pitney-penned He’s A Rebel, Then He Kissed Me and the immortal Da Doo Ron Ron.
Tavares had a decade of UK hits from 1976; Heaven Must Be Missing An Angel, Don’t Take Away The Music, Whodunit and More Than A Woman reaching the top 10 in Britain.
But co-headlining are The Four Tops. Originally from Detroit, along with The Temptations, they formed in the early ’50s and it wasn’t until 1997 that the first line-up change took place.
Hits like Reach Out I’ll Be There, Bernadette, Standing In the Shadows Of Love and Don’t Walk Away Renee ensured musical immortality. And they stood out due to Levi Stubbs’s baritone at a time when many contemporaries boasted a tenor as lead singer. Original member Abdul ‘Duke’ Fakir still performs in the group.
For The Temptations, however, 2012 represents another milestone. This year they are celebrating their 50th anniversary with some special projects lined up.
“We’re staying busy and I’m working on taking The Temptations Story to Broadway,” Otis says from his American home, “although we may take it to London’s West End first.
“And, yeah, I’m really looking forward to the tour. It’ll be the first time that we’ve worked with Tavares and The Crystals.
“We had nothing to do with it – they (the promoters) wanted the show to be a little more dynamic, but we’ll still be doing about 50 minutes.”
n Tickets, priced £40, are still available via 0114 256 5656.