The 10 Best Temptations Songs of All-Time

The Temptations

Ever since forming as a vocal group out of Detroit, Michigan, in 1960, The Temptations dominated the Motown music scene, mostly as a quintet. With the group’s founder, Otis Williams, The Temptations continue to perform, now with the lineup of Mario Corbino, Willie Green, Ron Tyson, and Terry Weeks. Previously, the lengthy list of names that contributed towards the levels of success The Temptations received includes G.C. Cameron, Ray Davis, Dennis Edwards, Melvin Franklin, Damon Harris, Bo Henderson, Joe Herndon, Eddie Kendricks, Glenn Leonard, Harry McGillberry, Ricky Owens, Theo Peoples, Louis Price, David Ruffin, Richard Street, Paul Williams, Bruce Williamson, and Ali-Ollie Woodson. There is also Larry Braggs and Al Bryant. The discography of the world-famous quintet known as The Temptations has released a total of 43 studio albums (mostly 45’s), four live albums, three soundtracks, and fifteen compilation albums. From this impressive collection, a roster of 109 singles where four of them realized number one chart status with the US Billboard Hot 100, and fifteen of them reaching number one with the US Billboard R&B/Hip-Hop chart. US Billboard Magazine has the most in-depth layout of all the music ever charted by The Temptations, including their performances with Diana Ross and The Supremes.

10. Masterpiece


The Temptations released their 1973 album (Masterpiece), along with its lead single of the same name. With the US Billboard R&B chart, it peaks to the top spot. With the US Billboard Hot 100, it came in 7th. Masterpiece also performed well enough to find its way on the music charts of Belgium at #13, Germany at #21, and Canada at #41. From the Recording Industry Association of America, it also became certified Gold.

8. Runaway Child, Running Wild


Released in 1969 with the album (Cloud Nine), is (Runaway Child, Running Wild), which peaked at number one with the US Billboard R&B/Hip-Hop chart and at #6 with the US Billboard Hot 100 chart. It also came in 12th with Canada’s RPM chart and since earned Gold Certification from RIAA.

8. I Wish It Would Rain


Coming from the 1968 album (The Temptations I Wish It Would Rain), the song of the same title peaks at number one with the US Billboard R&B/Hip-Hop music chart, as well as #4 with the US Billboard Hot 100 chart. The song was actually recorded in 1967 and upon its release, achieved Gold Certification from RIAA.

7. Beauty Is Only Skin Deep


The US Billboard R&B/Hip-Hop charts the song (Beauty Is Only Skin Deep) at number one while the US Billboard Hot 100 charts it at third place. Recorded in 1964, it later finds itself on the 1966 album (Away We a Go-Go), as well as the 1966 (Greatest Hits) album. Earning Gold Certification through RIAA, surprised the group the song achieved the level of success it did.

6. Ball of Confusion (That’s What the World Is Today)


Accompanying the 1970 album (Greatest Hits II), the single (Ball of Confusion (That’s What the World Is Today)) peaked in second place with the US Billboard R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart and in third with the US Billboard Hot 100 chart. It also faired well with Canada’s RPM at #5 and with the UK Official Albums Chart at #7. Ball of Confusion, certified Platinum by RIAA, has been covered by a number of musical artists since its release. The heaviest version of this song can be heard from heavy metal legend Anthrax, who released an EP in 1999.

5. Just My Imagination (Running Away with Me)


The fourth and final number one hit fully credited to the Temptations is the single (Just My Imagination (Running Away with Me)), which comes from their album (Sky’s the Limit). Released in 1971, Just My Imagination reached number one on the US Billboard Hot 100 and the US Billboard R&B/Hip-Hop Songs charts, as well as Platinum Certification by RIAA. It was the third number one hit coming strictly from the group.

4. I Can’t Get Next to You


Sitting on the US Billboard Top R&B Singles for five consecutive weeks between October to November 1969, (I Can’t Get Next to You) comes from The Temptation’s album (Puzzle People). In addition to dominating the music charts shortly after its release, the single has since sold enough copies to become certified Platinum by RIAA. I Can’t Get Next to You was the second of four number one hits performed by The Temptations.

3. I’m Gonna Make You Love Me (featuring Diana Ross and The Supremes)


The Motown labeling would be incomplete without the team-up of The Supremes and The Temptations with their performance of (I’m Gonna Make You Love Me), which debuted November 1968. Within two weeks, it already sold over a million copies among North American fans. It dominated the music charts, peaking at number one with Canada’s RPM chart, as well as among four of the US Cashbox and Billboard charts, namely US Cashbox Top 100, US Cashbox R&B, US Record World 100 Top Pops, and Record World Top 50 R&B. Despite the many versions this single has seen, not one has surpassed its level of success. This even includes the previous performers of I’m Gonna Make You Love Me, Dee Dee Warwick (1966) and Madeline Bell (early 1968). The Temptations/Supremes version, since its release, has since become certified Platinum by RIAA.

2. Papa Was a Rollin’ Stone


Coming from the 1972 album (All Directions) is the single (Papa Was a Rollin’ Stone), which charts to number one with the US Billboard Hot 100 and in third with the US Billboard R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart. Globally, it charted high enough as if to remind long-term fans of The Temptations they can still perform at a world-class level, as well as introduce a wave of new fans. The song earned them a Grammy Award in 1973 for Best R&B Vocal Performance by a Group, Best R&B Instrumental (on the 45’s B side), and Best R&B Song for composition. The single also sold enough copies to realize Silver Certification with the British Phonographic Industry (BPI) and Platinum Certification with RIAA. Papa Was a Rollin’ Stone was the fourth and final number one hit for The Temptations, at least with the US Billboard Hot 100 music listing chart.

1. My Girl


Fans say it best when the most successful hit of all time for the Temptation is (My Girl). Originally, the group released the single with their album (The Temptations Sing Smokey) during the Christmas season of 1964. My Girl served as the first number one hit for the quintet, and it was the first time the entire world would become fully aware of their talent. Even when the song charted again when it was re-issued in 1992, My Girl merely confirmed what fans and critics knew already about it being an all-time classic. The single sold enough copies to achieve BPI and RIAA Platinum Certifications, as well as Denmark’s IFPA Gold Certification.

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