Summer Song: It’s Summer by the Temptations

The song marks the last recording of Paul Williams, who would die the next year.

I REALLY loved the Temptations, and even more so after they stopped being primarily the background singers for David Ruffin, who left the group in 1968. They became more a five lead-vocal group, under the production leadership of Norman Whitfield, who, with Barrett Strong, wrote most of their songs in this period.

While primarily doing psychedelic soul at this point, the Temps recorded, on the 1970 album Psychedelic Shack the ballad It’s Summer [LISTEN!]. I’m not a big fan of songs that involve a lot of talking rather than singing. But I was a big fan of the bass voice of Melvin Franklin, so I rather liked this. It also appeared as the B-side of the #3 single Ball of Confusion.

After some personnel changes, involving the departure of Eddie Kendrick and Paul Williams, the Temptations released the 1972 album Solid Rock, which featured the re-recorded It’s Summer [LISTEN!], which obviously swipes from the Gershwin brothers. The remake had been released as a single back in the summer of 1971, where it only went to #51 on the pop charts. The song marks the last recording of Paul Williams, who would die the next year.

Maybe because I heard the Melvin version first, I still prefer it to the remake.