Monday, September 2, 2013

"It Was The Third of September...."

 "It was the third of September
That day I'll always remember....." 

This is the opening line of the Temptations' 1972 super-hit, Papa Was  A Rolling Stone. It was written by Norman Whitfield and Barrett Strong and originally recorded by another Motown group called The Undisputed Truth. It got as high as number 63 on The Hot One Hundred four months before the Tempts' version was released. Their version went Gold and all the way to the top, becoming their fourth Number One Hit in December 1972. (The Undisputed Truth is most famous for their 1971 hit, Smiling Faces.)

By this point both Eddie Kendricks and Paul Williams had left the group. They were replaced by Damon Harris (tenor) and Richard Street (low tenor), who join Melvin Franklin (bass), Otis Williams (tenor), and Dennis Edwards (lead). Edwards hated the song when he first heard it because his father, a preacher, actually *had* died on September 3. He was over-ruled and eventually came to like the song, an undisputed classic of 1970s R&B.

And every year when I realize that today is the 3rd of September, I hear this song in my head. Hopefully so will you.  :-)

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