Ipswich: Temptations star Richard brings tour to your Street
Where do I start with three-time Grammy Award, two-time American Music Award winner and Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee Richard Street, lead singer of The Temptations?
Growing up without a father? How important his late mother, who told him to never stop chasing his dreams, was in his success? How he and Diana Ross were sweethearts back when she, Florence Ballard and Mary Wilson were just aspiring singers practising at Ross’ house? How he originally lent his tenor to sweeten many of The Temptations’ tracks hidden from view in the wings?
Really, there’s only one place we can start - the music.
Born and raised in Detroit, Street’s career began aged 12; playing piano and singing in a Motor City nightclub.
“Detroit... back then it was the place for music, the best place. Back then a lot of people had their hopes and dreams and a lot of them came true for a lot of people.
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“I played whatever the top ten songs were in Detroit at the time. I had three or four guys doing the backgrounds and I played by ear; that was a lot of fun. It was one club that allowed me to do that because you know I was too young in the first place. I had no business even being in the nightclub okay,” he laughs.
“To see the pleasure people were getting out of the songs I was singing was very encouraging back when I was young.”
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That thrill hasn’t died. I caught up him with during a break in recording his new CD.
“I’m taking some old stuff and reviving it, bringing it up to date along with a few new ones. It’s a lot of fun, takes me back,” says Street, who took his rightful place in the spotlight alongside the rest of the group from 1969.
Spurred on by friends and family, he’s also busy writing his autobiography, Ball of Confusion; full of untold stories about Motown, The Temptations and his life before fame. Including many of the topics I touched on earlier.
“There’s just so much to cover, how a kid grows up without a father and the mistakes you make in life, the heartbreaks. Hopefully some kid out there that might be on the same path I went through will get some encouragement from this and some hope,” he says.
“Music soothes the savage beast, right? It and playing sports saved my life in a whole lot of ways; kept me out of trouble, kept me focused, gave me a release for my emotions and frustrations.”
Fans can expect all the hits, from Hey Girl to Papa Was a Rolling Stone when Street and co arrive at the Ipswich Regent on October 11. With all but one of the original members of the original Temptations having passed on, he presents their music in its original five-man group format with a line-up consisting of Lawrence Jones, Eddie Watkins, Larry Johnson and Bob Henley III.
“There’s an old saying, good music never dies,” he says. “We’re going to give them the best show we possibly can.”
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