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Encyclopedia > Paul Williams (The Temptations)
Paul Williams
Paul Williams sings "For Once in My Life" on the TCB television special, aired December 9, 1968 on NBC.
Paul Williams sings "For Once in My Life" on the TCB television special, aired December 9, 1968 on NBC.
Background information
Born July 2, 1939(1939-07-02)
Origin Birmingham, Alabama, U.S.
Died August 17, 1973 (aged 34)
Detroit, Michigan, U.S.
Genre(s) R&B, pop, soul
Occupation(s) Singer, dancer, choreographer
Instrument(s) Singing
Years active 1955 - 1973
Label(s) Motown
Associated
acts
The Temptations, The Supremes
Website [1]

Paul Williams (July 2, 1939August 17, 1973) was an American second tenor/baritone singer. Image File history File links Paul-williams-tcb. ... For Once in My Life is a pop song written by Ron Miller and Orlando Murden for Motown Records Jobete publishing company in 1967 (see 1967 in music). ... TCB was a 1968 live television special produced by Motown Productions and George Schlatter-Ed Friendly Productions. ... is the 343rd day of the year (344th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... Year 1968 (MCMLXVIII) was a leap year starting on Monday (link will display full calendar) of the Gregorian calendar. ... This article is about the television network. ... is the 183rd day of the year (184th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... Year 1939 (MCMXXXIX) was a common year starting on Sunday (link will display the full calendar) of the Gregorian calendar. ... Nickname: Location in Jefferson County in the state of Alabama Coordinates: , Country State County Jefferson, Shelby Government  - Mayor Bernard Kincaid (D) Area  - City  151. ... For other uses of terms redirecting here, see US (disambiguation), USA (disambiguation), and United States (disambiguation) Motto In God We Trust(since 1956) (From Many, One; Latin, traditional) Anthem The Star-Spangled Banner Capital Washington, D.C. Largest city New York City National language English (de facto)1 Demonym American... is the 229th day of the year (230th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... For the song by James Blunt, see 1973 (song). ... Detroit redirects here. ... For other uses of terms redirecting here, see US (disambiguation), USA (disambiguation), and United States (disambiguation) Motto In God We Trust(since 1956) (From Many, One; Latin, traditional) Anthem The Star-Spangled Banner Capital Washington, D.C. Largest city New York City National language English (de facto)1 Demonym American... This article does not cite any references or sources. ... Rhythm and blues (or R & B) is a musical marketing term introduced in the United States in the late 1940s by Billboard magazine. ... For other uses, see Pop music (disambiguation). ... For other uses, see Soul (disambiguation). ... A musical instrument is a device constructed or modified with the purpose of making music. ... Harry Belafonte singing, photograph by C. van Vechten Singing is the act of producing musical sounds with the voice, which is often contrasted with speech. ... In the music industry, a record label is a brand and a trademark associated with the marketing of music recordings and music videos. ... Motown Records, Inc. ... “Temptations” redirects here. ... For other uses, see Supremes (disambiguation). ... is the 183rd day of the year (184th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... Year 1939 (MCMXXXIX) was a common year starting on Sunday (link will display the full calendar) of the Gregorian calendar. ... is the 229th day of the year (230th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... For the song by James Blunt, see 1973 (song). ... This article is about Tenor vocalists in music. ... ű For other uses, see Baritone (disambiguation). ... For other uses, see Singer (disambiguation). ...


Williams is noted for being one of the founding members and original lead singer of the popular Motown group The Temptations. Along with David Ruffin, Otis Williams (no relation), and fellow Alabamians Eddie Kendricks and Melvin Franklin, Williams was a member of The Temptations during their most successful years in the 1960s, later dubbed the "Classic 5" period. Paul Williams himself was a member of the group from its founding in 1960 until 1971, when personal problems and failing health forced him to retire. Those same problems would later cause Williams to commit suicide two years later, at the age of thirty-four. The Paul Williams family does not believe, due to undisclosed reasons, that Mr. Williams killed himself. Motown Records, Inc. ... “Temptations” redirects here. ... David Ruffin (Davis Eli Ruffin) (January 18, 1941 – June 1, 1991) was an American soul singer most famous for his work as lead singer of The Temptations from 1964 to 1968. ... Otis Williams (born Otis Miles, Jr. ... Eddie Kendricks (born Edward James Kendrick, December 17, 1939 – October 5, 1992) was an American singer and songwriter. ... Melvin Franklin (David Melvin English) (October 12, 1942 – February 23, 1995) was an American bass singer, best known for his role as a member of Motown singing group The Temptations from 1961 to 1994. ... See also: 1959 in music, other events of 1960, 1961 in music, 1960s in music and the list of years in music // Events January 14 - Elvis Presley is promoted to Sergeant in the U.S. Army February 6 - Songwriter Jesse Belvin dies in an automobile accident in Los Angeles, California. ... Year 1960 (MCMLX) was a leap year starting on Friday (link will display full calendar) of the Gregorian calendar. ... // February 8 - Bob Dylans hour-long documentary film, Eat the Document, premieres at New Yorks Academy of Music. ... For other uses, see Suicide (disambiguation). ...

Contents

Biography

Early years

Paul Williams was born and raised in Birmingham, Alabama, Williams met his lifelong best friend Eddie Kendricks during their grade school years; supposedly, the two first encountered each other in a fistfight after Williams dumped a bucket of mop water on Kendricks. The two eventually became good friends; both boys had in common a love of singing, and sang in their church choir together. As teenagers, Williams, Kendricks, and their friends Kel Osboure and Willie Waller performed in a secular singing group known as The Cavaliers, with dreams of making it big in the music industry. In 1957, Williams, Kendricks, and Osbourne left Birmingham for greener pastures, leaving Waller behind. Now known as The Primes, the trio moved to Cleveland, Ohio, and eventually found a manager in Milton Jenkins, who moved the group to Detroit, Michigan. Although The Primes never recorded, they were successful performers, and even launched a spin-off female group called The Primettes, who later became The Supremes. Year 1957 (MCMLVII) was a common year starting on Tuesday (link displays the 1957 Gregorian calendar). ... Cleveland redirects here. ... Detroit redirects here. ... Reissue album cover showing The Supremes in 1966. ... For other uses, see Supremes (disambiguation). ...


In 1960, Kel Osbourne moved to California, and the Primes disbanded. Williams and Kendricks returned to Alabama, but soon found themselves back in Detroit again after learning that Otis Williams, head of a rival Detroit act known as The Distants, had two openings in his group's lineup. Paul Williams and Kendricks joined Otis Williams, Melvin Franklin, and Elbridge Bryant to form The Elgins, who signed to the local Motown label in 1961, after first changing their name to The Temptations. Year 1960 (MCMLX) was a leap year starting on Friday (link will display full calendar) of the Gregorian calendar. ... Official language(s) English Capital Sacramento Largest city Los Angeles Largest metro area Greater Los Angeles Area  Ranked 3rd  - Total 158,302 sq mi (410,000 km²)  - Width 250 miles (400 km)  - Length 770 miles (1,240 km)  - % water 4. ... Otis Williams (born Otis Miles, Jr. ... Melvin Franklin (David Melvin English) (October 12, 1942 – February 23, 1995) was an American bass singer, best known for his role as a member of Motown singing group The Temptations from 1961 to 1994. ... Elbridge Al Bryant (September 28, 1939 - October 26, 1975) was an African American tenor singer, one of the founding members of Motown singing group The Temptations. ... Motown Records, Inc. ... See also: 1960 in music, other events of 1961, 1962 in music, 1960s in music and the list of years in music // Events January 15 - Motown Records signs The Supremes January 20 - Francis Poulencs Gloria is premiered in Boston February 12 - The Miracles Shop Around becomes Motowns first... “Temptations” redirects here. ...

Paul Williams (far right), with the Temptations in 1967

The Temptations circa 1967, from the cover to Temptations: Gold (2005). ... The Temptations circa 1967, from the cover to Temptations: Gold (2005). ... Year 1967 (MCMLXVII) was a common year starting on Sunday (link will display full calendar) of the 1967 Gregorian calendar. ...

With the Temptations

Although the group now had a record deal, Paul Williams and his bandmates endured a long series of failed singles before finally hitting the Billboard Top 20 in 1964 with "The Way You Do the Things You Do." More hits quickly followed, including "My Girl", "Ain't Too Proud to Beg," and "(I Know) I'm Losing You." Billboard is a weekly American magazine devoted to the music industry. ... See also: 1963 in music, other events of 1964, 1965 in music, 1960s in music and the list of years in music // Events January 1 - Top of the Pops premieres on BBC television. ... The Way You Do the Things You Do is a 1964 hit single by The Temptations for the Gordy (Motown) label. ... This article is about the 1964 Temptations song. ... Aint 2 Proud 2 Beg is also the name of a 1991 TLC single. ... (I Know) Im Losing You is a 1966 hit single recorded by The Temptations for the Motown label and produced by Norman Whitfield. ...


Williams sang lead on several of the group's songs, and served as lead singer during the group's early years. Considered the Temptations' best dancer, Williams served as the group's original choreographer, devising routines for his group and The Supremes as well (most notably their trademark "Stop! In the Name of Love" routine), before Cholly Atkins took over that role for all of Motown's acts. Williams' later leads on Temptations songs included "No More Water in the Well", "Just Another Lonely Night", and his signature song, "Don't Look Back". One of his best-known lead performances is his stand out live performance of "For Once in My Life," from the television special TCB, originally broadcast on December 9, 1968 on NBC,where most critics and fans felt he "stole the show". The song "No More Water in the Well" is also frequently cited as one of his stand out performances. Choreography (also known as dance composition) is the art of making structures in which movement occurs, the term composition may also refer to the navigation or connection of these movement structures. ... Stop! In the Name of Love is a 1965 number-one single recorded by The Supremes for the Motown label. ... Charles Cholly Atkins (September 13, 1913 - April 19, 2003) was an African American dancer and vaudeville performer, who later became noted as the house choreographer for the various artists on the Motown label. ... Dont Look Back is a 1965 song recorded by The Temptations for the Gordy (Motown) label. ... For Once in My Life is a pop song written by Ron Miller and Orlando Murden for Motown Records Jobete publishing company in 1967 (see 1967 in music). ... TCB was a 1968 live television special produced by Motown Productions and George Schlatter-Ed Friendly Productions. ... is the 343rd day of the year (344th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... The year 1968 in television involved some significant events. ... The National Broadcasting Company or NBC is an American television broadcasting company based in New York Citys Rockefeller Center. ...


Personal problems and decline

Williams suffered from sickle-cell disease, which would keep him in poor health at times. In 1965, Williams began an affair with Winnie Brown, hair stylist for The Supremes and a relative of Supremes member Florence Ballard. In love with Brown but still devoted to his wife and children, Williams was also depressed because he was now being denied lead spots on the Temptations' singles in favor of David Ruffin, and Cholly Atkins' presence now made Williams' former role as choreographer essentially obsolete. As a result, Williams, who previously never drank, began to drink alcoholic beverages heavily, and soon slid into alcohol dependency. Because of Williams' sickle-cell condition, which already made touring hard on him, alcohol took a stronger than usual toll on his health. Sickle-cell disease is a group of genetic disorders caused by sickle hemoglobin (Hgb S or Hb S). ... Year 1965 (MCMLXV) was a common year starting on Friday (link will display full calendar) of the 1965 Gregorian calendar. ... For other uses, see Supremes (disambiguation). ... Florence Glenda Ballard Chapman, nicknamed Flo or Blondie, (June 30, 1943 – February 22, 1976) was an American singer, and one of the original lead singers of the Motown act The Supremes. ... David Ruffin (Davis Eli Ruffin) (January 18, 1941 – June 1, 1991) was an American soul singer most famous for his work as lead singer of The Temptations from 1964 to 1968. ... A chemical dependency is such a strong dependency on a substance that it becomes necessary to have this substance just to function properly; The need of a substance developed from abusing the substance, requiring the substance for survival, like the need for food, or water See also: addiction drug tolerance...


In 1969, Williams and Brown opened a celebrity fashion boutique in downtown Detroit. The business was not as successful as planned, and Williams soon found himself owing more than $80,000 in taxes. By now his health had deteriorated to the point that he would sometimes be unable to perform. Each of the other four Temptations did what they could to help Williams, alternating between raiding and draining his alcohol stashes, personal interventions, and keeping oxygen tanks backstage, but Williams' health continued to decline and he refused to see a doctor. Also: 1969 (number) 1969 (movie) 1969 (Stargate SG-1) episode. ... Look up boutique in Wiktionary, the free dictionary. ... The United States dollar is the official currency of the United States. ... An intervention is an orchestrated attempt by one, or often many, people (usually family and friends) to get someone to seek professional help with an addiction or some kind of traumatic event or crisis. ...


Otis Williams and the other Temptations decided to resort to enlisting an on-hand fill-in for Paul Williams. Richard Street, then lead singer of fellow Motown act The Monitors and formerly lead singer of The Distants, was hired to travel with The Temptations and sing all of Paul Williams' parts, save for Williams' special numbers such as "Don't Look Back" and "For Once in My Life", from behind a curtain. When Williams was too ill to go on, Street took his place onstage. In April of 1971, Williams was finally persuaded to go see a doctor. The doctor found a spot on Williams' liver, and demanded that the singer retire from The Temptations. Williams left the group and Street became his permanent replacement. In support of helping Williams get back on his feet, The Temptations kept Williams on their payroll as an advisor and choreographer, and Williams continued to help the group with routines and dance moves for the next two years. Richard Street (top right corner) on the cover of the 1984 Temptations LP Truly for You. ... The Monitors were a minor Motown act from the 1960s. ... Year 1971 (MCMLXXI) was a common year starting on Friday (link will display full calendar) of the 1971 Gregorian calendar. ...


Later years

Now spending most of his time at home, Williams continued to be troubled by the problems of his affair, the boutique, and his dependence on alcohol. By early 1973, Williams had returned to Motown's Hitsville USA recording studios, and was now working on solo material. Eddie Kendricks, who had quit the Temptations just before Williams himself left, produced and co-wrote Williams' first single, "Feel Like Givin' Up", which was to have been issued on Motown's Gordy imprint with "Once You Had a Heart" as its b-side. However, Motown decided to shelve the sides, and the single was not released For the song by James Blunt, see 1973 (song). ... Hitsville U.S.A. was the nickname given to Motown Records first headquarters. ... A songwriter is someone who writes the lyrics to songs, the musical composition or melody to songs, or both. ... In recorded music, the terms A-side and B-side refer to the two sides of 7 inch vinyl records on which singles have been released since the 1950s. ...


Williams never overcame his depression or his personal and health problems. On August 17, 1973, Williams, age thirty-four, was found on the ground near his car, dead from an apparently self-inflicted gunshot to the head, in a deserted parking lot near 14th Street and West Grand Blvd., not far from Hitsville. is the 229th day of the year (230th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... For the song by James Blunt, see 1973 (song). ...


The mysterious circumstances surrounding Paul Williams' death caused many people, including the Williams family, to suspect (and continue to suspect) that some form of foul play or murder was the actual cause of Williams' death. According to the coroner, Williams had used his right hand to shoot himself in the left side of his head. In addition, a bottle of alcohol was found near Williams' left side, as if he'd dropped it while being shot. Finally, the gun used in the shooting was found to have fired two shots, only one of which had killed Williams. Despite the unusual evidence, Williams had in fact previously expressed suicidal thoughts, and his death was officially ruled as being self-inflicted.


Paul Williams' funeral was held on August 24, with his family, friends, and former bandmates in attendance. It is rumored that Eddie Kendricks asked that Paul's coffin be opened and kissed his cheek at the gravesite part of the service. He was survived by his wife, Mary Williams, and their six children: Sarita, Paula, Kenneth, Mary Agnes, Paul Jr., and Paul Lucas. As a member of the Temptations, Paul Williams was posthumously inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1989 and the Vocal Group Hall of Fame in 1999. Both of his solo recordings were later released by Motown on Temptations-related compilations in the 1980s and 1990s. . Eddie Kendricks (born Edward James Kendrick, December 17, 1939 – October 5, 1992) was an American singer and songwriter. ... The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame at sunset. ... Year 1989 (MCMLXXXIX) was a common year starting on Sunday (link displays 1989 Gregorian calendar). ... The Vocal Group Hall of Fame was organized to honor what they term the Greatest Vocal Groups in the World. The Hall of Fame is headquartered in Sharon, Pennsylvania, United States. ... This article is about the year. ... See also: Musical groups established in 1980 Record labels established in 1980 list of years in music // January 1 - The year starts off with a strong disco backlash, which causes the majority of musicians to abandon the use of real instruments in an attempt to distant themselves from anything associated... See also: 1990 in music (UK) Musical groups established in 1990 Record labels established in 1990 list of years in music // January 21 - MTVs Unplugged premieres on cable television with musical guest, Squeeze February 6 - Billy Idol is involved in a serious motorcycle accident, resulting in several broken bones. ...


References

  • Williams, Otis and Romanowski, Patricia (1988, updated 2002). Temptations. Lanham, MD: Cooper Square. ISBN 0-8154-1218-5.
  • Williams-Perry, Paula. "The Official Paul Williams Home Page". Retrieved from http://members.aol.com/maaalumni/paul1.html on January 17, 2006.

Otis Williams (born Otis Miles, Jr. ...

External links

  • The Official Paul Williams Home Page. Operated by his daughter Paula Williams-Perry, the executor of his estate.
  • Paul Williams' Gravesite

 
 

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