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Counterfeit Tops, Temps to Appear at Seneca

By Frank Parlato

Legally, the promoters can call these two groups the Temptations and the Four Tops, but all that remains of the famed groups is one back up singer for each. The groups are really more like tribute bands.

Two groups of singers calling themselves the Temptations and the Four Tops will appear on May 11 at 8 p.m. at the Seneca Niagara Events Center at Seneca Niagara Casino.

While the original Temptations and the Four Tops were two of the biggest recording acts in the history of Motown, the groups that will appear at the casino are so far from the original that it is almost false advertising to use the names without some disclaimer.

The original Temptations had hits such as “My Girl,” “Just My Imagination (Running Away with Me),” “Ain't Too Proud to Beg," "I Can't Get Next to You," "Wish It Would Rain," and  “Papa Was a Rollin’ Stone.”

The original Four Tops had hits such as “I Can’t Help Myself (Sugar Pie Honey Bunch),” “Reach Out I’ll Be There,” "It's the Same Old Song," "Bernadette" and "Baby I Need Your Loving."

In both cases the groups that will perform at Seneca Niagara will have only one original member left, in both cases a back up singer.

For the Temptations, it is back up singer Otis Williams and for the Four Tops, back up singer Abdul "Duke" Fakir.

The original Four Tops were comprised of lead singer Levi Stubbs and back up singers Fakir, Renaldo "Obie" Benson and Lawrence Payton. The Four Tops were notable for having Stubbs, a baritone, as their lead singer; most groups of the time were fronted by a tenor.  Payton died in 1997. Benson died in 2005. Stubbs died in 2008.

As for the Temptations, four of the "Classic 5" lineup: David Ruffin, Melvin Franklin, Paul Williams and Eddie Kendricks are deceased. Only back up singer, Otis Williams, from the original five, will perform.

Ruffin sang the lead on most of the hit songs and when he was replaced by Dennis Edwards in 1968, Edwards sang lead on the rest.

Williams managed to get control of the name after several lawsuits with other members and was aided by some curious handling of Temptations' finances, with only Williams not demanding an accounting from Motown.

When the Temptations received the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award on February 9, 2013, Dennis Edwards, the children of David Ruffin, Eddie Kendricks, Paul Williams, and Melvin Franklin attended the ceremony to accept the six Grammys given to the group for the occasion.

While Williams, who also attended, got one of the Grammys, none of the other performers who will be seen at Seneca Niagara were qualified to receive an award.

In any event, people will be paying top dollar to hear two pseudo groups that will not be comprised of the men whose voices people heard on the hit records.

And that should be said in advertising for the bands but curiously is not.

The Temptations current lineup consists of Otis Williams (1960–present), Ron Tyson (1983–present), Terry Weeks (1997–present), Joe Herndon (2003–present) and Bruce Williamson (2007–present).

The Four Tops current lineup consists of only one original member Duke Fakir, along with Ronnie McNeir, Lawrence "Roquel" Payton, Jr. and Harold "Spike" Bonhart.




Niagara Falls Reporter - Publisher Frank Parlato Jr. www.niagarafallsreporter.com

Apr30, 2013