Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
Cloud Nine (song)
"Cloud Nine" is the name of a 1968 hit song by The Temptations for the Motown label. It was the first of their singles to feature Dennis Edwards instead of David Ruffin in the lineup, was the first of producer Norman Whitfield's psychedelic soul tracks, and won Motown its first Grammy Award. The song was written by Whitfield and former Motown artist Barrett Strong.
In 1968, psychedelic rock band Sly & the Family Stone had a smash hit with their innovative single "Dance To The Music", and Temptation Otis Williams introduced Norman Whitfield to the band's music. At first, Whitfield didn't want to produce anything with such a radically different sound, but within a few weeks, he had created the backing tracks for the newest Temptations single, "Cloud Nine". Featuring all five Tempts trading lead vocals à la The Family Stone, "Cloud Nine" was a marked departure from the standard Tempts sound: wah-wah guitars and a harder, driving beat propelled the record, as opposed to pianos and strings. The lyrics for the song were about the struggles and pains of living poor, as opposed to being about relationship and love troubles.
"Cloud Nine" won Motown its first Grammy Award in 1969 for Best Rhythm & Blues Group Performance, Vocal or Instrumental, and led the way for the Temptations' full-blown venture into psychedelia, with increasingly eclectic and socio-political-themed records, including "Runaway Child, Running Wild", "Psychedelic Shack", and "Ball of Confusion (That's What the World is Today)", following within the coming two years. The Cloud Nine LP in 1969 featured psychedelic soul tracks such as "Cloud Nine" and "Runaway Child, Running Wild" on Side A, with more traditional Tempts ballads on Side B. By 1970, both sides of the group's albums were filled with psychedelic material, including the original versions of Whitfield and Strong's "War (What is It Good For)" and "Smiling Faces Sometimes", later hits for Edwin Starr and The Undisputed Truth, respectively.
- Lead and Background Vocals by Dennis Edwards, Eddie Kendricks, Paul Williams, Melvin Franklin, and Otis Williams
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