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Christmas Music Playlists with The Temptations Songs
Papa Noël Was a Rollin' Stone
Though the line-up has changed many times from the peak of their pomp in the 1960's the Temptations continue to churn out records and performances to this day. They are perhaps best known for their worldwide hit 'My Girl' which is as popular on radio playlists now as it was in the middle section of the last century. Given their huge success and dedicated adherence to a pop/R&B template it was inevitable that the band would get in on the annual Christmas roadshow. And so in 1968 a classy version of 'Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer' was released as a standalone festive single and featured the classic Temptations line-up of Eddie Kendricks, Otis Williams, Paul Williams, Dennis Edwards and Melvin Franklin. The b-side contained the boys version of 'Silent Night' which would be the first time the band tackled this famous carol; it would appear reworked on their second yuletide affair 'Give Love At Christmas'.
Both of the songs from the Temptations first Christmas single appeared on their debut Christmas album in 1970 called 'The Temptations Christmas Card'. The album featured all 5 members from the the single and each took their turn in moulding 10 Christmas greats into their own likeness. There were no real surprises but hearing the Temptations harmonise and eulogise about the season on standards such as 'Santa Claus Is Coming to Town', 'White Christmas' and 'Silver Bells' is surely one of the season's true joys. With the band signed to Motown at the time of the album's release the overall sound is one that you'll be familiar with. It's got a groove and soul that so many Christmas records lack so while you may experience 'Let It Snow! Let It Snow! Let It Snow!' more times that you actually see the real thing it still sounds glorious. Like most of the 10 tracks on show the band lent 'Let It Snow! Let It Snow! Let It Snow!' a sense of maturity that meant it had a natural berth with an adult audience.
The Temps (as they are known as by their fans) weren't content at leaving it at one Christmas album so a decade after their debut 1980's 'Give Love at Christmas' made its way down the chimney. It was a short affair with just 8-tracks but what it lacked in quantity it more than made up for in quality. The title track alone was worth the price alone with its joyful reading of what should be top of your list over the holidays. And no that didn’t include a cabbage patch doll or whatever toy is this year’s must have. 'Give Love at Christmas' chose a different approach to its predecessor in that it featured mostly lesser known songs as opposed to the festive big hitters. It hardly mattered however as the 5-piece crafted new gems in 'Love Comes With Christmas', 'Everything for Christmas' and 'Christmas Everyday'. They also revisited and put exemplary wind in the sails of tracks such as Donny Hathaway’s ‘This Christmas’ and Smokey Robinson’s ‘Christmas Everyday’.
If you are looking for a best-of from the Temptations Christmas material the 15-track ‘Merry Christmas’ which came out in 2000 is indispensable as it picks the cream from their two festive records.Author: Kevin