He was the son of Sophia and Rufus Williams, a gospel singer in a gospel music vocal group called the Ensley Jubilee Singers. He met Eddie Kendricks in elementary school; supposedly, the two first encountered each other in a fistfight after Williams dumped a bucket of mop water on Kendricks. Both boys shared a love of singing, and sang in their church choir together. As teenagers, Williams, Kendricks, and Kell Osborne and Willie Waller performed in a secular singing group known as The Cavaliers, with dreams of making it big in the music industry. Now known as The Primes, the trio moved to Cleveland, Ohio, and eventually found a manager in Milton Jenkins, who moved the group to Detroit, Michigan. Although The Primes never recorded, they were successful performers, and even launched a spin-off female group called The Primettes, who later became The Supremes. In , Kell Osborne moved to California, and the Primes disbanded. Kendricks returned to Alabama, but visited Paul in Detroit shortly after.
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Paul would remain a lesser-known name than either Ruffin or Kendricks, despite his great vocal presence and pivotal role in the rise of the classic five-piece line-up, alongside Melvin Franklin and the sole survivor in the modern-day Temptations, Otis no relation Williams. Williams was not a Detroit native. He was born on 2 July in Birmingham, Alabama, where he knew Kendricks from elementary school days, going on to form the Cavaliers with friend Kel Osbourne. They became the Primes, moving to Cleveland in search of work and then, as fate decreed, Detroit. The Temptations in all their mids finery, with Paul Williams, centre. Photo: Motown Records Archives. What was hidden from public view was that Williams suffered from sickle-cell anaemia. He remained in their close circle, especially as choreographer, and started to record solo material in early On 17 August that year, he was found dead in a Detroit alley, a gun close by the body. The story of Paul Williams is punctuated by tragedy, but his contribution to the legacy of the Emperors of Soul is indelible, and we celebrate it with this hand-picked selection of some of his finest moments.
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One of the first times Otis Williams, the founder and last surviving original member of the Temptations, realized his music made an indelible impact on their fans occurred after he received a letter in the mail. Despite launching over a half-century ago, the Temptations and their legend has lately been enjoying fresh relevance. Williams, who grew up in Texas, packed up and moved to Michigan with his mother when he was 10 his parents separated shortly after Williams was born.
Williams was noted for being one of the founding members and original lead singer of the Motown group The Temptations. Personal problems and failing health forced Williams to retire in He was found dead two years later as the result of an apparent suicide. Paul Williams was born and raised in the Ensley neighborhood of Birmingham, Alabama. Both boys shared a love of singing, and sang in their church choir together. Now known as The Primes, the trio moved to Cleveland, Ohio , and eventually found a manager in Milton Jenkins, who moved the group to Detroit , Michigan.