July 2, 1939
Paul Williams was born in Birmingham on this day in 1939. As a teenager, Williams performed with friends Eddie Kendricks, Kel Osbourne and Willie Waller in a group called the Cavaliers. In 1957, Williams, Kendricks and Osbourne formed the Primes and eventually moved to Detroit, Michigan. Although the trio never made a record, the Primes were successful and helped launch the Primettes, a female group that later became known as the Supremes. The Primes disbanded in 1960. Williams and Kendricks then formed the Elgins, along with Otis Williams, Melvin Franklin and Elbridge Bryant. The group became known as the Temptations and signed with Motown in 1961. It was not until 1964 that the band hit the Billboard Top 20 with “The Way You Do the Things You Do.” Williams was lead singer during the band’s early years and was featured on “No More Water in the Well,” “Just Another Lonely Night” and “Don’t Look Back” – his signature song. Williams was the choreographer for many of the group’s dance routines, as well as those of the Supremes. As a member of the Temptations, Williams was posthumously inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1989 and the Vocal Group Hall of Fame in 1999.
Read more at Bhamwiki.
For more on Alabama’s Bicentennial, visit Alabama 200.