Free virtual event takes place Nov 1st
City College Center for the Arts, on the campus of City College of New York, is honoring the 60 year history of the legendary Rock & Roll Hall of Famer and Grammy Award winning Otis Williams and The Temptations, on Monday, November 1st, with a special live, virtual event. The affair will feature a conversation with Williams, a founding and the sole surviving original member of The Temptations sharing memories about the “Evolution of The Temptations’ Music, 1961-2021,” while also celebrating his 80th birthday. This special virtual conversation will be simulcast at citycollegecenterforthearts.org from the Aaron Davis Hall’s renowned Marian Anderson Theatre, named after the distinguished African American singer who broke racial barriers and inspired new generations of singers of all colors. Distinguished musician, composer and entertainment entrepreneur K. Sparks will conduct the online event, which begins at 7:30 pm EDT and will feature other special guests.
“For more than four decades, Aaron Davis Hall has been Harlem’s performing arts center. World scholars, artistic giants and academic geniuses like Nelson Mandela, Alicia Keys, President Barack Obama and Ella Fitzgerald, just to name a few, have blessed these stages through the years,” City College of New York President Dr. Vincent Boudreau shares. “The City College of New York is so proud of the contributions The Temptations have made, and continue to make, to the American cultural landscape and we are honored to add their name to that distinguished list.”
“I am thrilled to be celebrating the group’s 60th anniversary and my 80th birthday with our extended Tempts’ family from across the City College campus in Harlem, and throughout New York and the rest of the country. The Temptations had some of its most memorable performances in Harlem and other parts of New York during our career. To mark these capstones with an online discussion about my career at the prestigious and diverse City College of New York, a college known for its commitment to the performing arts, and for recognizing one of the greatest trailblazers in American music history, Marian Anderson, is an incredible honor for me and The Temptations.”
The legendary GRAMMY-winning group is known as the No. 1 R&B Artists of all Time across the globe. Their new single, “Is It Gonna Be Yes Or No,” is a duet between the group and the equally legendary Smokey Robinson, the man who delivered their first hits. The song, also written and produced by Robinson, is a preview of the upcoming Temptations 60 album.
The single and taste of their 2022 album, executive produced by Williams, is available digitally. Robinson brought in stellar studio musicians to play on the ballad, including his longtime associate Dave Garfield on keyboards, bassist Freddie Washington and drummer Steve Ferrone. And in all the years Robinson has delivered such timeless Temptations classics as “The Way You Do the Things You Do,” “My Girl,” “Since I Lost My Baby,” “Get Ready” and more, the duet marks the only time he and the Temptations have sung lead together, save for a recording of “The Christmas Song” in 1989.
“It’s wonderful to be back together. When The Tempts first met Smoke we were teenagers, young black men in Detroit who had no clue that our partnership at Motown would produce ‘My Girl,’ one of the greatest hits of all time,” says Williams. “And our success together didn’t stop there. We had chart hit after chart hit and, soon after, our music was heard around the world. Now, 60 years later, as I turn 80, Smoke and I have come full circle. I never imagined we would have the opportunity to get back in the studio and do it all again.”
“When Otis called me and said, ‘Hey man, we’re doing a new album and we’d like you to do a song,’ that got me excited about working together again,” Robinson adds. “That was it, that’s all it took. I proceeded to write a new song for them, and I was very happy to, because it’s been a long time When I showed up at the studio, Otis said, ‘Man, I want you to sing on this one with us.’ So, I said, ‘Oh, okay, I’m very excited about the song, let’s do it! You, know, it’s just great working with them, always.”
The Temptations’ 60th anniversary campaign launched this summer and will run through June 2022, in a celebration befitting one of the most revered and prolific musical institutions of all time. The year-long campaign includes the new album in 2022; a 50 city tour through the end of this year, with more global dates to be announced; remastering of their music videos, including “Standing on the Top” with Rick James and their No. 1 hit “Stay;” and a new content series.
The Imperial Theatre re-opened on October 16th of the Broadway musical, Ain’t Too Proud: The Life and Times of the Temptations, based on Williams’s personal journey that was nominated for 12 Tony Awards, including Best Musical and won the Tony Award for Best Choreography at the 73rd Tony Awards ceremony in June 2019 and whose UMe cast album was GRAMMY-nominated.
Their Emmy Award-winning TV mini-series, The Temptations, which first aired to rave reviews in 1998, is still on air or streaming every day somewhere in the world. Williams’ critically acclaimed autobiography, Temptations, was recently released as an audiobook edition for the first time, with a new introduction by Williams.
Williams will be an upcoming guest on The Music Universe Podcast.