Thursday, February 9, 2012

Temptations -- "Cloud Nine"

You can be what you want to be
You ain't got no responsibility
Every man in his mind is free
You're a million miles from reality
"Cloud Nine" marked a radical change of musical direction by the Temptations.  

Otis Williams, the only surviving original member of the group, was a fan of Sly & the Family Stone, and told Motown producer Norman Whitfield that the Temptations should update their sound.  Whitfield initially resisted, believing that the Family Stone's "psychedelic soul" sound was only a passing fancy, but eventually came around to his baritone's point of view.

"Cloud Nine" was written by Whitfield and Motown stalwart Barrett Strong, who also teamed up to write "I Heard It Through the Grapevine," "Papa Was a Rolling Stone," and many other hits.

"Cloud Nine" seems to be a song about a guy who has spent his whole life in poverty, but escapes from the misery of his everyday existence by taking drugs.  But Whitfield, Strong, and the Temptations deny that the song is about drugs.  (If it looks like a duck, walks like a duck, and quacks like a duck . . . hey, you know the rest.)

"Cloud Nine" was the first Motown record to win a Grammy award (for the best R&B group performance).   

Here's "Cloud Nine":

Here's a link you can use to buy the song from Amazon:

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