DELIVER US FROM TEMPTATION: The Tragic and Shocking Story of the Temptations and Motown by Tony with Barbara Aria Turner

DELIVER US FROM TEMPTATION: The Tragic and Shocking Story of the Temptations and Motown

Email this review


Turner (All that Glittered, 1990) again turns a nasty eye on Motown's seamy flip side, this time on the chaotic careers of Temptations singers Eddie Kendrick, Dennis Edwards, and the late David Ruffin. Befriended in 1966 at age 12 by Flo Ballard of the Supremes, Turner served as dresser, makeup man, and errand boy for Mary Wilson and her ""fake Supremes"" in the early 1980's and, later, as road manager and gofer for the myriad combinations of former Temptations as they tried, often pathetically, to regain their lost glory. Admitting that ruthless Motown founder Berry Gordy, ""one of the biggest legit pimps in the world,"" used him to spy on some of the performers, Turner also doesn't dismiss rumors of his affairs with both Gordy and Eddie Kendrick. The author tells (and, in some cases, retells) all, from the early days of Diana Ross and her now legendary ambition to Paul Williams's 1973 suicide; from Gordy's alleged confrontation with the mob to the sad post-Motown stories of Mary Wells, Martha Reeves, and Marvin Gaye--whom Turner claims to have helped ""dress in drag,"" complete with wigs and female underwear. The infighting, backstabbing, carousing, and profligacy of the Motown stars receive a lot of attention here, highlighted by David Ruffin's drug problems and his death by apparent overdose in June 1991. Ruffin's funeral, presided over by Louis Farrakhan and paid for by Michael Jackson (Turner takes time to critique the floral arrangements), became a macabre circus as Kendrick was arrested for failing to pay child support and the corpse's patent-leather-and-rhinestone shoes were removed for enshrinement in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Turner does lots of dirty laundry, little of it coming clean--and he pays no serious attention either to Motown's music or to its role in the history of the American entertainment business.

Pub Date: Nov. 15th, 1992
Page count: 288pp
Publisher: Thunder's Mouth