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“Papa Was A Rollin’ Stone” From The Temptations Song Facts- Guitar Pic At Six


The year tonight is 1972. You invited friends over to play a great game of Pong and you had the radio cranking. You were treated to this delight from The Temptations called “Papa Was A Rollin’ Stone”.

Did you know that this song caused a lot of problems with the band? A lot of friction between members played out during the recording of the song 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. In addition, Dennis Edwards was angered by the song’s first verse: “It was the third of September/That day I’ll always remember/’cause that was the day/that my daddy died”. While legend has it that, coincidentally, Edwards’ father had died on that date, making him apprehensive of recording the song, Edwards’ father actually died on the third of October, not September. The other half of the legend – that Norman Whitfield forced Edwards to rerecord his parts dozens of times until he finally got the angered, bitter grumble he desired out of the usually fiery-toned Edwards – was true.  Whitfield’s treatment of the group would eventually lead to his dismissal as their producer.

“Papa” rose to number one on the U.S. pop charts and number five on the U.S. R&B charts, becoming the Temptations’ final pop number-one hit.

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