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Ain't Too Proud to Beg: The Troubled Lives and Enduring Soul of the Temptations
 
 

Ain't Too Proud to Beg: The Troubled Lives and Enduring Soul of the Temptations [Kindle Edition]

Mark Ribowsky
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (20 customer reviews)

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Product Description

Product Description

The first and only definitive biography of legendary Motown group, the Temptations

The Temptations are an incomparable soul group, with dozens of chart-topping hits such as My Girl and Papa Was a Rollin Stone. From the sharp suits, stylish choreography, and distinctive vocals that epitomized their onstage triumphs to the personal failings and psycho-dramas that played out behind the scenes, Ain't Too Proud to Beg tells the complete story of this most popular—and tragic—of all Motown super groups.

Based on in-depth research and interviews with founding Temptations member Otis Williams and many others, the book reveals the highly individual, even mutually antagonistic, nature of the group's members. Venturing beyond the money and the fame, it shares the compelling tale of these sometime allies, sometime rivals and reveals the unique dynamic of push and pull and give and take that resulted in musical genius.

  • The first book to tell the whole story of Motown's greatest group, with all-new interviews and previously undiscovered sources and photographs
  • Gives the last word on enduring Motown mysteries, including the deaths of Paul Williams and David Ruffin and the truth behind Ruffin's tumultuous romance with Tammi Terrell
  • Reveals the secret "can't miss" formula behind the Temptations' thirty-seven chart hits
  • Draws on more than one hundred interviews with the group's associates, industry figures, family members, and most importantly, founding Temptation Otis Williams

Ain't Too Proud to Beg takes a cohesive and penetrating look at the life and enduring legacy of one of the greatest groups in popular music. It is essential reading for fans of the Temptations, music lovers, and anyone interested in the history of American popular culture over the last fifty years.

From the Inside Flap

They are pure Motown royalty and the most successful African–American recording goup in history. During their long and brilliant run, the Temptations have sold twenty–five million records and produced seventeen Top 40 pop hits (four No. 1 hits), seventy–one Top 40 R&B hits (fourteen No. 1 hits) and fifty–two albums. And, like all royalty, they have had more than their share of triumphs, tragedies and family feuds. In Ain′t Too Proud to Beg, New York Times Notable Book author Mark Ribowsky takes a cohesive and penetrating look at the enduring legacy of one of the greatest groups in popular music. He examines the lives of the Temptations′ many members and takes you behind the scenes to discover the truth behind the major events of the group′s Motown prime, from 1961 to 1974. Ribowsky draws on in–depth research and probing new interviews with well–known Motown veterans, famly members, and friends to create accurate and compelling portraits of complex, sometimes troubled–yet always talented–personalities. He traces the group′s history from its pre–Motown years, through the glory days of “My Girl” and “Just My Imagination,” to their pioneering and immensely popular early funk recordings, including “Papa Was a Rolling Stone” and “Cloud Nine.” Venturing beyond the money and the fame, he tells a powerful true story of sometime allies, sometime rivals and reveals the unique push–and–pull, give–and–take dynamic that resulted in musical genius. From the sharp suits, stylish choreography and distinctive vocals that epitomized their onstage triumphs to the personal failings and psychodramas that have played out behind the scenes, Ribowsky tells the whole story of this most popular—and tragic—of all Motown supergroups. You′ll discover the truth behind the deaths of David Ruffin and Paul Williams, Ruffin′s tumultuous romance with Tammi Terrell and the secret “can′t miss” formula that generated dozens of Temptations hits. You′ll also hear plenty from the line that connects all of these dots: Temptations founder and only surviving member Otis Williams. Including photos of the Temptations then and now, Ain′t Too Proud to Beg is the definitive biography of Motown′s brightest stars. It is essential reading for Temptation′s fans, Motown lovers and anyone interested in the history of American popular culture over the last fifty years.

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 1928 KB
  • Print Length: 337 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 047026117X
  • Publisher: Wiley; 1 edition (14 Sep 2010)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S. r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B00DNKYLK4
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (20 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #354,825 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
15 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars EMPERORS OF SOUL 25 Sep 2010
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Of the three of Mark Ribowsky's Motown-themed books, this is easily the best.

The stories may be familiar but the author has enlisted the help of a crowd of people who were witnesses, including Dennis Edwards and Otis Williams and the families of other essential group members. He puts facts right, corrects wrong impressions created by the Temptations television mini-series, and offers a more balanced view of the rough times of all the group members.

Apart from a lingering whiff of bias against Berry Gordy and Diana Ross from his Supremes book, this reads as a fair history of Motown's favourite male group.

In particular, the author has dug into the pre-Motown histories of the early group. This gives the reader a great insight into why some of the guys grew into troubled adults.

The book is peppered with anecdotes about Tammi Terrell's tempestuous relationship with David Ruffin, as well as glimpses at a variety of other Motown acts, all of which will fascinate Motown fans.

I loved it.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Detroit Spinning 27 Nov 2010
By C. CAMPBELL VINE VOICE
Format:Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
The trick to writing a decent biography about pop culture icons starts and ends with your subject matter. That's why almost any biography about a troubled and triumphant Johnny Cash will be a top selling page turner, whereas a biography of a clean living and ultra conservative Cliff Richard may not be. So - with the Temptations, Mark Ribowsky has ample material to fill this biography about one of Soul and Pop music's favourite groups.

Despite being a soul music fan, I must admit I had no idea just how much (and how quickly) the line up of the Tempts changed over the years, with it's one stalwart being Otis Williams. It's worth bearing this in mind as you begin the book and there is a lengthy introduction explaining that most of the book was based on the recollections and account of Otis Williams as the only surviving original Tempt. This, for the cynical amongst us, might give warning that the book is overly biased on one point of view - but as the story unfolds it becomes clear that Otis, despite being the only survivor, is probably the only one who would be able to recall anything clearly anyway. Plus it also becomes clear that he was the driving force behind a group that would have otherwise folded at several points in their history.

As for Ribowsky, his evangelising about the Tempts is only matched by his loathing of Berry Gordy. He never misses an opportunity in the book to trot out stories of Gordy's megalomania, his pursuit of Diana Ross (who Ribowsky is also scathing about), and his dodgy deals when it came to royalties and Motown contracts. Justified or not, it becomes a little bit of a repetative axe grinding ever present in the 300 pages of the book!
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Almost brilliant... 14 Dec 2010
By Mr. Steve Jansen VINE VOICE
Format:Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
The Temptations' tale certainly has its dramas. Drink, drugs, a dubious death, let alone the eternal question of why the heck Diana Ross ever made it to the superstar status she did (and Gladys Knight didn't, given the latter's killer vocals). Ribowsky has done a commendable job of piecing the story of this amazing act together. What's also indirectly present throughout this biography is a sense of these having being times long passed; among the references to crushing country poverty, racism and pimp hustlers, there is a feeling that, for all its familiarity, the sound of Motown echoes from across history.

However, the latter also shows up a severely disappointing weakness in the author's work. For all the names and dates, chart positions, let alone the rolling drama, there is little evocation - or, greater context - to the vibrant world turning around them. Granted, Ribowsky does paint in the picture of the Detroit riots, principally because they were key in accelerating Berry Gordy's decision to move Motown out of Detroit to Hollywood. But if the author had only laid on an extra layer of social history (discussing the city of Detroit itself in greater depth, perhaps, or explaining the evolution of the many musical styles that come and go) this would - could - have been a massively valuable historical document.

Instead, what tends to occur is an, at times, overwhelming weight of names, characters and facts take precedence, bogging the reader down and testing patience. This is especially true during the phase when the Temptations are struggling to form, hold together and strike their first major hit. For that reason, I'm not sure that this is a book for the passing curious; but then again, I guess it depends what you're looking for.
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5.0 out of 5 stars "Hail, The Temps!" 22 Feb 2013
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Journey into the lives of Back America's most famous group, revealing insights and facts of each of these five geniuses!
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4.0 out of 5 stars A Fascinating soul 16 Aug 2012
By Paul M VINE VOICE
Format:Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
An interesting history of one of Motowns biggest sellers, the Temptations.Delving into the backgrounds of individuals within the Motown hit making machine, the book has enough interesting insights about the relevance and history of one of the most important record labels in music history, an one of their most important acts.

Throw into the mix a cocktail of untimely deaths,drugs, tempestuous relationships, and power, and you have a brief snapshot of the reality behind the scenes of one of a cultural phenomenon, and its cast of characters.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars A welcome Temptation.
As not only a massive fan of 60s music but more specifically of Motown, I found this book really rewarding as it provided plenty of context and background not only on The... Read more
Published 24 months ago by Flickering Ember
4.0 out of 5 stars Truly fascinating.
Anyone who remembers "the Mowtown" 60's sound will love this book. It charts the Temptations rise to fame from their earliest humble beginnings. Read more
Published on 11 Mar 2012 by Film Buff
4.0 out of 5 stars Does the job
The Temptations transcended the sometimes overly commercial Motown sound, owing more to contemporaries such as James Brown and Wilson Pickett in their strutting, gospel-bawling... Read more
Published on 21 May 2011 by Alan Hansen
5.0 out of 5 stars Ain't Too Proud To Beg
Fascinating book, I grew up (all be it later than their heyday) listening to the Temptations and all the Motown Greats. Read more
Published on 24 Mar 2011 by Fiona Massey
4.0 out of 5 stars The Mighty Tempts
I was a little apprehensive with the words, 'The troubled lives', as part of the book's title. I feared a hatchet job: much muck-raking & destroying of reputations. Read more
Published on 27 Jan 2011 by Mr. K. Cross
4.0 out of 5 stars "Get Ready" for the real story!!!
I was 13 when "Get Ready" came out in the UK and it got me from the get go - just totally loved it, the music, the energy, the harmonies - a perfect record. Read more
Published on 14 Jan 2011 by Alison Petrie
3.0 out of 5 stars Some very irritating elements spoil a potential winner
The Temptations were the prime (no pun intended) Motown male vocal group for more than a decade from the early 60's until their commercial decline in the mid 70's. Read more
Published on 6 Jan 2011 by Andy Edwards
3.0 out of 5 stars The Sometimes Brutal Truth of Soem of Motown's Greatest...
When stories are told in years to come about the greatest musical moments in the 20th Century, Motown will get their fair share of praise, Berry Gordy and co. Read more
Published on 4 Dec 2010 by Mr. M. E. Merritt
4.0 out of 5 stars Detroit Soap Opera
The Temptations are one of the best known and loved acts to come out of the Motown stable and in a world of frankly rubbish, vacuous biographies of twenty somethings they have... Read more
Published on 29 Nov 2010 by Crazy Bald Heid
2.0 out of 5 stars For Temptations aficionado's only
I have no doubt that lovers of the music of The Temptations will probably lap up this book. It is jam packed with information and gossip about Motowns finest, and it surely tells... Read more
Published on 27 Nov 2010 by Bantam Dave
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