Only one, the 1962 effort ‘Dream Come True,’ achieved any commercial success, however, and in 1963, Bryant either resigned or was fired after physically attacking Paul Williams. The Tempts’ fortunes changed dramatically in 1964 when they recruited tenor David Ruffin to replace Bryant; after entering the studio with writer/producer Smokey Robinson, they emerged with the pop smash ‘The Way You Do the Things You Do,’ the first in a series of 37 career Top Ten hits. With Robinson again at the helm, they returned in 1965 with their signature song, ‘My Girl,’ a number one pop and R&B hit; other Top 20 hits that year included ‘It’s Growing,’ ‘Since I Lost My Baby,’ ‘Don’t Look Back,’ and ‘My Baby.’ In 1966, the Tempts recorded another Robinson hit, ‘Get Ready,’. After spotlighting Kendricks on the smash ‘Ain’t Too Proud to Beg,’ the group allowed Ruffin to take control over a string of hits including ‘Beauty’s Only Skin Deep’ and ‘(I Know) I’m Losing You.’
Beginning around 1967, Whitfield assumed full production control, and their records became ever rougher and more muscular, as typified by the 1968 success ‘I Wish It Would Rain.’ After Ruffin failed to appear at a 1968 live performance, the other four Tempts fired him; he was replaced by ex-ContourDennis Edwards, whose less polished voice adapted perfectly to the psychedelic-influenced soul period the group entered following the success of the single ‘Cloud Nine.’ As the times changed, so did the group, and as the 1960s drew to a close, the Temptations’ music became overtly political; in the wake of ‘Cloud Nine’ — its title a thinly veiled drug allegory — came records like ‘Run Away Child, Running Wild,’ ‘Psychedelic Shack,’ and ‘Ball of Confusion (That’s What the World Is Today).’ After the chart-topping success of the gossamer ballad ‘Just My Imagination (Running Away With Me)’ in 1971, Kendricks exited for a solo career. Soon, Paul Williams left the group as well. In their stead, the remaining trio recruited tenors Damon Harris and Richard Street; after the 1971 hit ‘Superstar (Remember How You Got Where You Are),’ they returned in 1972 with the brilliant number one single ‘Papa Was a Rolling Stone.’ While the Tempts hit the charts regularly throughout 1973 with ‘Masterpiece,’ ‘Let Your Hair Down,’ and ‘The Plastic Man,’ their success as a pop act gradually dwindled as the ’70s wore on. After Harris exited in 1975 (replaced by tenor Glenn Leonard), the group cut 1976’s The Temptations Do the Temptations, their final album for Motown.