Today, I take a quick look at one of my favorite Temptations songs.
“Papa Was A Rolling Stone” was written by the Motown songwriter Norman Whitfield. It was first recorded by The Undisputed Truth, but Whitfield also had The Temptations record it, with much greater success. I just love the bass track that runs throughout.
At first, lead singer Dennis Edwards hated the song. His father, who was a preacher, died on September 3rd, the date in the first line of the song. He was irate at Whitfield for choosing that date, and convinced it was not a coincidence. Thus explaining the ’emotion’ we heard in Dennis’ vocals.
The B-side of the single was an instrumental version that ran 6:58. It also became very popular and won a Grammy for Best Instrumental Recording.
As an on air disc jockey, because of the length of the song, it makes for a perfect break to leave the studio to, ah, well, a, you know:)
The version on their All Directions LP ran 11:45.