It's Black Music Month. Enjoy the 2014 series. Support the artists. Buy their licensed music. And turn up as you dance along.
Brief history: In 2010, I wrote a music series honoring Black Music Month on Associated Content's site (republished on Examiner). The focus was to honor new R&B singers, veteran R&B singers, solo rappers, and evenly split the musical salute between female and male rappers. The only artists I was not willing to split up were Salt n' Pepa because they worked as a unit. In 2014, it's about time to salute more artists, but in the spirit of Salt n' Pepa's legacy, R&B groups and rap groups will be included. The pattern in 2014 will be newer R&B singers (from 2000 to present), R&B and/or hip-hop groups, veteran R&B singers, and then solo rappers, still evenly split between women and men.
Black Music Month Turn Up Factor "Turn down for what?": Third of September. June 12. Doesn't matter. The Temptations are top-notch every day of the year. The members have changed, some voluntarily while others passed on, but there's nothing like the original group with Otis Williams, David Ruffin, Eddie Kendricks, Paul Williams and Melvin Franklin. For music fans who have not seen the 1998 film based on this group of five, it's never too late.
My Connection/First Memory to Artist: My parents listened to The Temptations all of the time when I was a kid. Knowing The Temptations was about as mandatory as knowing multiplication. I did one around the same time as the other. I'm pretty sure I could recite all of the songs my parents owned on 45s by third grade. Marvin Gaye will always come in first on my R&B list, but The Temptations are a strong second. Not only that, but my friends were old souls, too. I remember a debate at a Girl Scouts meeting about whether "Papa Was a Rolling Stone" had the lyrics "All he left us was alone" or "All he left us was a loan." Everybody else was doing arts and crafts. My friends were debating about oldies.
Numbers Don't Lie: The Temptations never made a song that wasn't worth its weight, but some songs really took off. Songs that made it to the Top 100 are "My Girl" (13 weeks on the Billboard charts, peaked at number one), "Beauty Is Only Skin Deep" (12 weeks, peaked at number three), "(I Know) I'm Losing You" and "All I Need" (10 weeks, peaked at number eight), "You're My Everything" (12 weeks, peaked at number six), "I Wish It Would Rain" (14 weeks, peaked at number four), "Just My Imagination (Running Away With Me)" (15 weeks, peaked at number one), "Ball Of Confusion (That's What The World Is Today)" (15 weeks, peaked at number three), "Psychedelic Shack" (11 weeks, peaked at number seven), "I Can't Get Next To You" (17 weeks, peaked at number one), "Run Away Child, Running Wild" and "Cloud Nine" (12 weeks, peaked at number six) and more.
For the first series of Black Music Month artists republished on Examiner (originally on Associated Content), click here to see all 30.
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