definition of Wikipedia
||This biographical article needs additional citations for verification. (February 2008)|
October 30, 1941 |
Texarkana, Texas, U.S.
|Genres||R&B, pop, soul, disco|
|Occupations||Singer, songwriter, producer|
|Labels||Warwick, Motown, Atlantic, New Door/Universial|
|Associated acts||The Temptations|
Otis Williams (born October 30, 1941) is an American baritone singer. Nicknamed "Big Daddy", he has also acted as a sporadic songwriter and record producer. Williams co-founded the Motown vocal group The Temptations in early 1960 as The Elgins, a group in which he continues to perform. Williams is the group's only surviving original member.
Williams was born in Texarkana, Texas, to Otis Miles and Hazel Louise Williams, an unmarried couple who separated shortly after their son's birth. As a child, he went by "Otis Miles, Jr." until learning Williams was his legal last name. While Williams was still a toddler, his mother married and moved to Detroit, Michigan, leaving the boy to be raised by both of his grandmothers in Texarkana. Williams' mother moved him to Detroit when he was ten years old, where he lived with his mother and his stepfather, Edgar Little.
Williams became interested in music as a teenager. He loved music and put together a number of singing groups, among them Otis Williams and the Siberians, the El Domingoes and the Distants. The Distants had a local hit, co-written by Williams and manager/producer Johnnie Mae Matthews, called "Come On", with lead vocals by Richard Street. Future Distants recordings were not as successful, and after an offer from Berry Gordy of Motown Records, Williams and his friends/bandmates Elbridge "Al" Bryant and Melvin Franklin quit the Distants. (Best friends for over thirty years, Williams and Franklin were the only two Temptations to never quit the group.) Eddie Kendricks and Paul Williams from The Primes later joined Williams, Bryant, and Franklin to create the Elgins, who signed to Motown in March 1961 as "The Temptations".
The Temptations eventually became the most successful act in black music over the course of its nearly five-decade existence, over which time notable singers such as David Ruffin, Dennis Edwards, former Distant Richard Street, Damon Harris, Ron Tyson, Ali-Ollie Woodson, Theo Peoples, Ray Davis and G.C. Cameron have all been members. In fact, the group's lineup changes were so frequent, stressful and troublesome that Williams and Melvin Franklin promised each other they would never quit the group. Franklin would remain in the group until 1994, when he became physically incapable of continuing. Franklin died on February 23, 1995, leaving Otis Williams (then 53) as the last surviving original member of the Temptations quintet.
Williams is the co-author, with Patricia Romanowski, of The Temptations, a 1988 book that served as both his autobiography and a history of the group. Ten years later, the book was adapted into a NBC television miniseries The Temptations. Williams was portrayed by actor Charles Malik Whitfield. Over the years fan opinion of Williams has been mixed, with some criticizing him for what they perceive as jealous insults against his former bandmates while others defend him for simply trying to be honest about the problems that the group suffered.
Although he has served the longest tenure in the Temptations, Williams rarely sings lead, focusing instead on his role as the group's leader and organizer, and as the background "tenor in the middle". The Smokey Robinson and Eddie Kendrick written track "Don't Send Me Away" from the LP The Temptations with a Lot o' Soul (1967), the intro on early group song "Check Yourself" (1961) and the Norman Whitfield-penned tune "I Ain't Got Nothing" from 1972's All Directions are extremely rare showcases for Williams singing lead. Williams has provided non-singing (spoken word) contributions to some Temptation songs, including "I'm Gonna Make You Love Me" (1968, a hit duet with Diana Ross and Eddie Kendricks sharing the lead vocals), and during the opening verse of "Masterpiece" (1973).
Williams received an honorary doctorate from Stillman College in May 2006.
Williams married Josephine Rogers in 1961; the couple's son, Otis Lamont Williams, was born the same year. Otis and Josephine divorced in 1964, and Williams went on to date Florence Ballard of The Supremes, and was for a time engaged to R&B singer Patti LaBelle.
Williams was married to Ann Cain from 1967 to 1973. Williams married his third wife Goldie, in 1983. They divorced in 1997. His son Lamont, a construction worker, died in a workplace accident in 1983.
In 1969 he had a daughter, Elan Carter, who became 1994's Playboy's Playmate of the Month for June.
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