Monday, 26 November 2018

Monday's Long Song

A full-blown, bonafide classic for you today. I know very little by the Temptations, but Papa Was A Rollin' Stone is simply an incredible piece of music. The story behind the song is fascinating as it led to the group and their producer (and the song's co-writer) Norman Whitfield falling out with the latter being fired as a result. As the Wikipedia entry puts it:
"Friction arose during the recording of Papa Was a Rollin' Stone for a number of reasons. The Temptations did not like the fact that Whitfield's instrumentation had been getting more emphasis than their vocals on their songs at the time, and that they had to press Whitfield to get him to produce ballads for the group. Norman Whitfield forced Dennis Edwards to re-record his parts dozens of times until he finally got the angered, bitter grumble he desired out of the usually fiery-toned Edwards. Whitfield's treatment of the group eventually led to his dismissal as their producer."
A single edit was made but that merely took the song down to seven minutes, still twice as long any radio station would play, yet it topped the US Billboard chart and won the band their final Grammy. Even at the full 12 minutes, it sounds too short to me. Imagine where it could have gone if it didn't fade out.


  1. The fact that it fades out leads me to hope that there's a 20 minute version buried somewhere in the vaults. A classic indeed.

  2. This is one of my all time top 10 tunes.