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.

Author: Roger

I'm a librarian. I hear music, even when it's not being played. I used to work at a comic book store, and it still informs my life. I won once on JEOPARDY! - ditto.

3 thoughts on “Summer Song: It’s Summer by the Temptations”

  1. Melvin pre-dated Barry White with that talking, that smooth bass talking… and of course, we can go earlier to The Inkspots and The Mills Brothers for the talk/sing stuff (“Honey baby, honey lamb…”). Melvin was IT on this cut. I love it, Roger, and the idea of Paul Williams even dreaming of trying to attempt the POSSIBILITY of covering this tune? Kind of out of Paul’s league, although he did some great things on his own, especially as a songwriter in his lifetime, and he was a cute person.

    Thanks for another trip down memory lane. Have you heard “Hot Fun In The Summertime” lately? One of my fave summer tunes… Amy
    http://sharplittlepencil.wordpress.com/2011/08/22/laundromat-sunday-whirl/

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