Melvin Franklin

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Melvin Franklin
Melvin Franklin.jpg
Franklin at Kansas State University in 1971
Background information
Birth nameDavid Melvin English
Born(1942-10-12)October 12, 1942
Montgomery, Alabama, U.S.
Origin Detroit, Michigan, U.S.
DiedFebruary 23, 1995(1995-02-23) (aged 52)
Los Angeles County, California, U.S.
Genres
Occupation(s)Singer
Instruments
Years active19581995
Labels
Associated acts The Temptations (1960-1994)

David Melvin English (October 12, 1942 February 23, 1995) better known by the stage name Melvin Franklin, or his nickname "Blue", was an American bass singer. Franklin was best known for his role as a founding member of Motown singing group The Temptations from 1960 to 1994.

Contents

Early life and career

David English was born in Montgomery, Alabama to Rose English, a teenage mother from nearby Mobile. [1] His biological father was the preacher of the English family's church in Mobile; he impregnated her through rape. [1] Following David's birth, Rose English married Willard Franklin and moved to Detroit, her grandmother insisting young David be left behind in her care. [1] David English finally moved to Detroit with his mother and stepfather in 1952 at age ten. [1]

Taking on his stepfather's surname for his stage name as a teenager, David Englishnow Melvin Franklinwas a member of a number of local singing groups in Detroit, including The Voice Masters with Lamont Dozier and David Ruffin, and frequently performed with Richard Street. [2] Franklin often referred to Street and Ruffin as his "cousins". [2]

In 1958, a classmate of Franklin's at Detroit's Northwestern High School, Otis Williams, invited Franklin to join his singing group, Otis Williams and the Siberians. Franklin joined the group as its bass singer, and remained with Williams and Elbridge Bryant when they, Paul Williams, and Eddie Kendricks formed The Elgins in late 1960. In March 1961, the Elgins signed with Motown Records under a new name; The Temptations. He had a fondness for the color blue, and so he was nicknamed "Blue" by fellow singers. According to Otis Williams, Franklin romantically pursued Supremes singer Mary Wilson at one point.

Otis and Melvin were the only founding Temptations who never left the group. One of the most famous bass singers in music over his long career, Franklin's deep vocals became one of the group's signature trademarks. Franklin sang a handful of featured leads with the group as well, including the songs "I Truly, Truly Believe" ( The Temptations Wish It Would Rain , 1968), "Silent Night" (Give Love At Christmas, 1980), "The Prophet" ( A Song for You , 1975), and his signature live performance number, "Ol' Man River". Franklin was usually called upon to deliver ad-libs, harmony vocals, and, during the psychedelic soul era, notable sections of the main verses. His line from The Temptations' 1970 #3 hit "Ball of Confusion (That's What the World Is Today)", "and the band played on", became Franklin's trademark.

Health problems and death

In the late 1960s, Franklin was diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis, the symptoms of which he combated with cortisone so that he could continue performing. The constant use of cortisone left his immune system open to other infections and health problems; as a result Franklin developed diabetes in the early 1980s and later contracted necrotizing fasciitis. In 1978, he was shot in the hand and leg while trying to stop a man from stealing his car in Los Angeles. [3] The incident prevented Franklin from participating in the Temptations' upcoming tour of Poland, which at the time was still behind the Iron Curtain.

On February 15, 1995, after a series of seizures, Franklin fell into a coma and remained unconscious until his death on February 23, 1995. [4]

He is interred at Forest Lawn Memorial Park (Hollywood Hills), Los Angeles.

Other work and honors

In addition to singing, Franklin also worked as a voice actor. In 1984, he provided the voice for the character of "Wheels" in the animated series Pole Position. He also appeared in the movie Sky Bandits in 1986. [5]

In 1989, Franklin was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as a member of The Temptations. [6] On August 17, 2013, in Cleveland, Ohio, Melvin Franklin was inducted into the Rhythm and Blues Music Hall of Fame as a member of The Temptations. On February 9, 2013, his wife received the lifetime achievement award on his behalf. [7]

In 1998, NBC aired The Temptations , a four-hour television miniseries based upon an autobiographical book by Otis Williams. Franklin was portrayed by actor D. B. Woodside.

Related Research Articles

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The Temptations are an American vocal group from Detroit, Michigan, who released a series of successful singles and albums with Motown Records during the 1960s and 1970s. The group's work with producer Norman Whitfield, beginning with the Top 10 hit single "Cloud Nine" in October 1968, pioneered psychedelic soul, and was significant in the evolution of R&B and soul music. The band members are known for their choreography, distinct harmonies, and dress style. Having sold tens of millions of albums, the Temptations are among the most successful groups in popular music.

Paul Williams (The Temptations singer)

Paul Williams was an American baritone singer and choreographer. Williams was noted for being one of the founding members and original lead singer of the Motown group The Temptations. Along with Elbridge "Al" Bryant, Otis Williams, and fellow Alabamians Eddie Kendricks and Melvin Franklin, Williams was a member of The Temptations. Personal problems and failing health forced Williams to retire in 1971. He was found dead two years later as the result of an apparent suicide.

Eddie Kendricks

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Dennis Edwards Jr. was an American soul and R&B singer who was best known as the frontman in The Temptations, on Motown Records. Edwards joined the Temptations in 1968, replacing David Ruffin and sang with the group from 1968 to 1976, 1980 to 1984 and 1987 to 1989. In the mid-1980s, he attempted a solo career, scoring a hit in 1984 with "Don't Look Any Further". Until his death, Edwards was the lead singer of The Temptations Review, a Temptations splinter group.

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Meet the Temptations is the debut studio album by the Temptations for the Gordy (Motown) label released in 1964. It includes most of the group's early singles, excluding only the first, "Oh Mother of Mine", and its b-side, "Romance Without Finance" ; as well as the single "Mind Over Matter", in which the group is credited as The Pirates. The album consists entirely of previously released singles, including the group's first hit single, "The Way You Do the Things You Do".

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<i>Cloud Nine</i> (The Temptations album) 1969 studio album by The Temptations

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<i>The Temptations with a Lot o Soul</i> 1967 studio album by The Temptations

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<i>The Temptations Wish It Would Rain</i> 1968 studio album by The Temptations

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Gonna Give Her All the Love Ive Got

"Gonna Give Her All the Love I've Got" is a 1967 Soul song, originally recorded and made a hit by Jimmy Ruffin on Motown's Soul Label imprint. Ruffin's 1967 original version, from his album Jimmy Ruffin Sings Top Ten, reached the Pop Top 30, peaking at #29, and was a Top 20 R&B Hit as well, peaking at #14. It was also a hit in Britain, reaching #26 on the UK Singles Chart. The song has a social context: it depicts a man anticipating his release from prison on the morrow, when he'll return home on a train to "the girl that I left behind," promising himself that he will reward her steadfast love for him by "giv[ing] her all the love [he's] got." The song was written by Norman Whitfield and Barrett Strong and produced by Whitfield.

References

  1. 1 2 3 4 Ribowsky, Mark (2010). Ain't Too Proud to Beg: The Troubled Lives and Endearing Soul of the Temptations. Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons. pp. 14-16
  2. 1 2 Ribowsky, Mark (2010). Ain't Too Proud to Beg: The Troubled Lives and Endearing Soul of the Temptations. Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons. pp. 40, 93-95
  3. Tobler, John (1992). NME Rock 'N' Roll Years (1st ed.). London: Reed International Books Ltd. p. 317. CN 5585.
  4. OLIVER, MYRNA (1995-02-24). "Obituaries : Melvin Franklin; Temptations' Original Bass Vocalist". Los Angeles Times. ISSN   0458-3035 . Retrieved 2017-09-25.
  5. "Melvin Franklin on IMDb". Internet Movie Database/. Internet Movie Database. Retrieved 2020-08-20.
  6. List of Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Inductees
  7. Bhatia, Kabir (2013-08-19). "R&B Hall of Fame makes Cleveland its home... for now". WKSU 89.7. Retrieved 2020-08-20. First inductions took place over the weekend at Cleveland State, but Detroit, Chicago and other cities want to host the hall, too

Further reading