Saturday, June 16, 2007

Number 601 - Temptations

Number 601


"Papa Was A Rolling Stone"

Clocking in at a impressive 11.45 minutes, this gem, i would presume never got played from start to finish on a local radio station , your welcome to correct me if you can recall '72 coherently. I have read vigorously that it was "Poo Bah'd" if a song clocked longer than 3 minutes in the old days due to stringent radio control. How did Pink Floyd & ever survive "airwave wise" in the old days? The longest song on my iTunes list is on Mellow Mix Volume 8, (they #%$%# rock) The song is called Octavarium and clocks in at a whopping 23.59 minutes~! (does anyone else have a song that is longer?) On that note i remind myself to finish Mellow Mix Volume 1 one day, soon, I'm sure (i hope honest)
PS: All comments made by people, i have answered at bottom of this page.Thanks to all the people who supported me with kind words and also a bigger thanks to the ones who hate this site, for it has put what i am doing into perspective and made me aware of the mistakes (accidentally) i make from time to time. But most of all to the haters, you prove that music is different to everyone. If we all liked the same song and the same artist the world would be bloody boring, just like Jockey "Y" fronts.

A monster album, the one that put them back in the spotlight and signaled that Norman Whitfield had saved the day. Damon Harris had replaced Eddie Kendricks, and there were many doubters convinced the band was finished. Instead, Whitfield revitalized them via the majestic single, "Papa Was a Rollin' Stone." Despite its length, Whitfield's decision to open with an extensive, multi-layered musical suite and tease listeners was a master stroke. By the time Dennis Edwards' voice came rushing in, no one would dare turn it off. The single, as well as "Law Of The Land" and others, ended the funeral arrangements that had been prepared for The Temptations. ~ [Ron Wynn]

About The Song.....

"Papa Was a Rollin' Stone" is a soul song, written by Motown songwriters Norman Whitfield and Barrett Strong as a single for Motown act The Undisputed Truth in 1971. This version of "Papa" was released as a single in early 1972, and peaked at number sixty-three on the pop charts and number twenty-four on the R&B charts.
Later in
1972, Whitfield, who also produced the song, took "Papa Was a Rollin' Stone" and remade it as a twelve-minute record for
The Temptations, which was a number-one hit on the Billboard Hot 100 and won three Grammy Awards in 1973. While the original Undisputed Truth version of the song has been largely forgotten, The Temptations' version of the song has been an enduring and influential soul classic. It was ranked #168 on Rolling Stone's list of the 500 Greatest Songs of All Time, one of the group's three songs on the list. In retrospect, Otis Williams considers "Papa" to be the last real classic and hit for the group.

Beginning with an extended instrumental introduction, each of the song's three verses is separated by extended musical passages, in which Whitfield brings various instrumental textures in and out of the mix. A solo plucked bass guitar part, backed by hi-hat, establishes the musical theme, a simple three-note figure; the bass is gradually joined by other instruments, including a blues guitar, wah-wah guitar, Rhodes piano notes, handclaps, horns, and strings; all are tied together by the ever-present bass guitar line and repeating hi-hat rhythm.
Vocal duties are performed in a true ensemble style: Temptations singers
Dennis Edwards, Melvin Franklin, Richard Street, and Damon Harris alternate vocal lines, taking the role of siblings questioning their mother about their now-deceased father; their increasingly-pointed questions, and the mother's repeated response ("Papa was a rollin' stone/wherever he laid his hat was his home/and when he died, all he left us was alone") paint a somber picture for the children who have never seen their father and have "heard nothing but bad things about him."
Friction arose during the recording of "Papa Was a Rollin' Stone" for a number of reasons. The Temptations didn't like the fact that Whitfield's instrumentation had been getting more emphasis than their vocals on their songs at the time, and that they had to press Whitfield to get him to produce ballads for the group. In addition, Dennis Edwards was angered by the song's first verse: "It was the 3rd of September/That day I'll always remember/'cause that was the day/that my daddy died". Edwards' real-life father had died on the same day as the fictional father in the song, and although the song wasn't originally written for the Temptations, Edwards was convinced that Whitfield assigning him the line was intentional. Although Whitfield denied the accusation, he used it to his advantage: he made Edwards record the disputed line over and over again until Whitfield finally got the angered, bitter grumble he desired out of the usually fiery-toned Edwards (it was, however, one of the reasons Whitfield was eventually fired as the group's producer).
The Temptations' version of "Papa Was a Rollin' Stone" set a precedent for extra-length "cinematic soul" song mixes, and future songs like
Donna Summer's fourteen-minute "Love to Love You Baby" and the instrumentals of MFSB expanded upon the concept in the mid-1970s.

A seven-minute edited version of "Papa Was a Rollin' Stone" was released as a single in September 1972; its b-side was Whitfield's instrumental without the Temptations' vocals. "Papa" rose to number one on the U.S. pop charts and number five on the U.S. R&B charts, becoming the Temptations' final pop number-one hit. The song, the anchor of the 1972 Temptations album All Directions, won three 1973 Grammys: its a-side won for Best R&B Vocal Performance by a Group, and its b-side won for Best R&B Instrumental (awarded to Whitfield and arranger/conductor Paul Riser), and Whitfield and Barret Strong won for Best R&B Song as the song's composers.
A few notable covers of "Papa Was a Rollin' Stone" have been recorded, including a 1993 version by
George Michael, released on the EP Five Live. Also "Papa Was a Rollin Stone" has been mixed with Coldplay's "Clocks" to make "Papa was a Clock.

For George Michael see Number 821
For Coldplay see Number 769
For Pink Floyd fly over to Mellow Mix Volume 1 Number 138

What does "The one we all look up to" think of the Temptations?
At the end of the decade, the Temps (with new lead singer Dennis Edwards) turned funkward. Influenced by both Sly Stone's rock-inflected jams and Marvin Gaye's explorations of concept material, their songs got longer, roomier, edgier. When the newer material worked -- "I Can't Get Next to You," "Psychedelic Shack," "Papa Was a Rollin' Stone," "Ball of Confusion (That's What the World Is Today)" -- the band achieved a new gritty realism that nearly compensated for their abandonment of their trademark violins-and-love-lyrics grace (and the departure, as well, of Eddie Kendricks). Often, however, they seemed to be overreaching; long gone was their early, remarkable concision.As a whole, the Temptations' '70s and '80s work was haphazard. Sly, P-Funk, and, later, Prince had captured R&B's harder, more experimental edge -- and the Temps, however occasionally impressive, seemed retrograde. Years of performing meant that the band could be counted on for extremely professional product, but their best moments came when they worked hardest at recapturing the sound of their earliest glory. [edit] 2004
For Marvin Gaye see Number 611
For Prince see Number 812
Rolling Stone Top 500 Songs ranked this song at Number 168 and the Album ranked at Number (Only their anthology @ #398)
This song has a crowbarred rating of 72.1 out of 108 pts

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Search Artist here:1-2-3-A-B-C-D-E-F-G-H-I-J-K-L-M-N-O-P-Q-R-S-T-U-V-W-X-Y-Z
By The Year 1955 to 2005:
Ouch !
This site was nothing more than a fun hobby, of course the list was subjective, it was always meant to be. Even the word "definitive" is subjective.
Who are these people and what's the point of something like this?posted by thirteenkiller at 6:32 AM on June 20
There are no "people" just me, one person and the only point of something like this was meant purely as fun!
Totally subjective list with no given reason for existence other than "merely to question Rolling Stone Magazine's Top 500 Songs" and no given selection criteria whatsoever!Eye-bending layout and popup ads!Content lifted (uncredited) from other sites including and wikipedia!Yes folks, this list truly has it all!!!!posted by googly at 6:39 AM on June 20
If there are "pop up ads" i want to know, i hate pop up ads just as everyone else. Fromnow on if i quote from wiki i will state so and i have never used
Your favorite 1,000 bands suck.posted by zardoz at 6:43 AM on June 20
I have only done "400" so far not 1000 and sorry that you hate all 400 so far, your a tough one to please.
I've been finding myself with hours and hours of free time. Some days I wake up screaming "Dear God! WHY can't I find something to do?" I still can't appreciate this list.posted by piratebowling at 6:45 AM on June 20
Well the idea was to provoke thinking over Rolling Stone top 500 list so i guessed it worked. Dont forget its only 40% complete.
Also, what's up with the random fan art from "The Crow"?posted by piratebowling at 6:48 AM on June 20
Just thought it would be graphically interesting, and er my name was crowbarred so i thought...
Clocking in at a impressive 11.45 minutes, this gem, i would presume never got played from start to finish on a local radio station , your welcome to correct me if you can recall '72 coherently. I have read vigourisously that it was "Poo Bah'd" if a song clocked longer than 3 minutes in the old days due to stringent radio control. That's is sum written rite their. Pourly espressed an factuitously rong.posted by Floydd at 6:35 AM on June 20
Alabama here i come!
People love lists. We evolved to love lists. Cavemen made lists.posted by MarshallPoe at 6:35 AM on June 20
Is this something I would have to have free time to be able to appreciate?posted by cerebus19 at 6:37 AM on June 20
Well that was my intention, whether you appreciate it? I would hope so.
I respect the work and the thoroughness, but Human League? *shudders*posted by jonmc at 6:40 AM on June 20
Seriously? You can't tap a single toe to Human League? (I better scratch the other 9 songs i had planned in the countdown) just teasing. At least you had nice words to say and to be honest i got frag all in this column. yes i know frag is not "proper" english, sorry Floydd
What, no Tony DeFranco and the DeFranco Family? Consider this list "Poo Bah'd."posted by Floydd at 6:43 AM on June 20
Whats up with Floyyd? (sic) Did he not have his cornies this morning? Just remember this Floydd, Google was not a english word either, so Poo Bah!
Ambitious. Can't speak to the content as yet, but dumping that enormous fucking pop-up? YES PLEASE.posted by kittens for breakfast at 6:44 AM on June 20
If i knew what the pop up was or by who, it would be NUKED in seconds.
also, I did it first and better. nyahnyahnyah!posted by jonmc at 6:51 AM on June 20 [1 favorite]
Smarty pants :p
You did "making a list of songs" first?posted by Wolfdog at 6:55 AM on June 20
Of course i did, its all in excel and all backed up by sales, ratings, and the original crowbarred *loveable factor* of the song.
Definitive? Such a strange word for such a subjective endeavor.posted by caddis at 6:56 AM on June 20
Yes, well, i am not going to disagree with that statement, other than it was subjectivly correct.
well, blog and mefi wise. and I definitely did it better.posted by jonmc at 6:57 AM on June 20
You keep saying that
They are definitive songs. Like, "This, you can be sure, is a song."posted by Wolfdog at 6:57 AM on June 20
The only thing worse than lists are listmakers' justifications as to why their selection process was anything more than completely subjective and arbitrary. You're either preaching to the converted or picking a fight--it doesn't matter whether you're a recognized rock critic or a guy from New Zealand with enough time on his hands to seek out Helen Reddy performances on YouTube.posted by thivaia at 7:01 AM on June 20
I have been busted by Professor Moriarty
Wow, tough room. I guess I won't be posting my "THE DEFINITIVE 100,000 PEOPLE OF ALL TIME 1955-2005" to projects anytime soon. Which is okay, I guess, since I'm only up to 60,010.posted by hermitosis at 7:01 AM on June 20
If you think this is tough... imagine if would say [burried..inaccurate]
*waiting for the bitching about Rock the Casbah at 999*posted by mr_crash_davis at 7:03 AM on June 20
I still stand by that entry, The Clash like Dylan & Hendrix are over rated.
I gotta say I love the fact that they've put so much work into the history and background -- very thorough. but I had to close the window what I got to Christopher Cross' Sailing.Yacht Rock. Bleargh.posted by Devils Rancher at 7:03 AM on June 20
Thanks but, C'MON! Doesn't "Sailing" remind you of lying in bed on a Sunday morning while some poor bastich is mowing the lawns???
Oldies stations do this every summer.posted by DU at 7:13 AM on June 20
Yeah, but um ... its winter here in the south pacific... brrrrrr
Where did they rank Mortician's Hacked up for Barbecue? I assume it's in there somewhere.posted by The Straightener at 7:25 AM on June 20
Im sure i ranked that somewhere in the top 200's, i'll get back to you
I am making a list called The Greatest Things Ever Made in the History of the Universe from the Start of Time until the Massive Explosion that Burns Us All. It covers one gin and tonic I drank in March of 1992.posted by Astro Zombie at 7:45 AM on June 20 [4 favorites]
You, i would love to have as a guest writer. Seriously.
We're looking for someone who doesn't immediately 'Pooh Bah' everything he eats.posted by Flashman at 7:45 AM on June 20
I try not to, but Britney Spears makes me feel that way
First thing when I went to the site (after being annoyed by the pop-up ad):"Papa Was A Rolling Stone"Clocking in at a impressive 11.45 minutes, this gem, i would presume never got played from start to finish on a local radio station, your welcome to correct me if you can recall '72 coherently. I have read vigourisously that it was "Poo Bah'd" if a song clocked longer than 3 minutes in the old days due to stringent radio control.Realized the guy was a moron, came back here to say so. (And yes, the song did get played from start to finish on the radio. Golly! What times those were!)I gotta say I love the fact that they've put so much work into the history and backgroundExcept, as googly said:Content lifted (uncredited) from other sites including and wikipedia!posted by languagehat at 7:47 AM on June 20
Like i said i will address that, now that it has been said, so i will include citation for all the wiki faithful, as for me being a moron? I guess i must be.
Yaaay, another list of things that I'll probably disagree with. And this one's really long, too!posted by Afroblanco at 7:47 AM on June 20
Hey, whats a thousand? Really? Its less than the "The Definitive 2000 Porn Films of All Time" (Why do i get the feeling people would like that more?)
1955-2005 /= all time also, fuck this shit.posted by es_de_bah at 7:57 AM on June 20
When this site first started in 2006 Rock and Roll was only 50 years old, in that lifetime it was alltime, but gee, thanks for the support tho bro.
Here, I sit, eagerly anticipating The Definitive 1000 Songs Of All Time, 1355 to 1405.posted by koeselitz at 8:09 AM on June 20
Thats next year, but i hear it will be hard to aquire the youtube video's. Pity.
I've really got to question Twist and Shout at #894.posted by PHINC at 8:14 AM on June 20
And you are right to question, this was the only song entered as a "typo" Twist & Shout was scheduled for the 100's another lesser beatles song was meant for that spot.
vigourisouslyI don't know what to make of this word. Help?posted by danb at 8:16 AM on June 20
Nor do i, its now spelt correctly (sic)
Terrible design. When Maddox out-designs you, something is wrong.As far as the list goes, I have no idea. I couldn't get past the first page. It's not that the Clash are at 999, its that they wrote better songs than Rock the Casbah.posted by jeffamaphone at 8:18 AM on June 20
Personally i was hoping the design was going to be one of the better features. However 601 is the first page (so far) yet you saw Clash #999 and that makes two pages you saw. Maddox rules.
I thought it meant vigorously, then I thought it meant vicariously. But now I think it means vigourisously.posted by goatdog at 8:19 AM on June 20
vivaciously yours.
seriously. The Definitive Songs of all time from 1955-2005? What do these songs define and how is 1955-2005 all time?posted by shmegegge at 8:19 AM on June 20
They define a" period" and if you were born in 1955 and died 2005 that definately all time.
OH! Maybe it's that these songs define the period of 1955-2005 better than any other songs from all of history. So the 1812 overture, for instance, while bang on for 1812, just doesn't compare to Rock The Casbah where 1956 is concerned.posted by shmegegge at 8:20 AM on June 20
Think i just pissed of a "Clash" fan. A huh, yup i'm pretty sure.
I'm working on a The Definitive 1000 Songs Of 2008-2062. 53: Burnswild Funk: »Let Me Love You (Come On!!!)«Yes, Jean Paul Gosselaar may have been the first artist to release a swirling orb featuring the wonderful sounds of a mellotrue, but Burnswild Funk was the first band to use that instrument properly. This, their debut orb, is one of the finest examples of early palaver-swizz and it's an epic drama. The Nu-Strain break at 1:44 is the grrrrove and the dolphin singers compliment the soundscape perfectly. All in all an amazing achievment and it, of course, lay the foundation of many, many things to come. Plug in your iNeurons and switch/on the mp6 here.posted by soundofsuburbia at 8:22 AM on June 20 [1 favorite]
Thats actually funny, i like soundofsuburbia, and yes, i look forward to it being released.
"papa was a rolling stone" is 11.45 minutes long?? the radio version i've heard is only 3-4 minutes. until i got to l-hat's comment, i assumed the 11.45 minute song was "in-a-gadda-da-vida".posted by bruce at 9:00 AM on June 20
I think i need Babbelfish
Some time back Rolling Stone Magazine came out with their own list. It was obviously an egocentric one because the top two songs were Bob Dylan's "I'm a Rolling Stone" and "Satisfaction" by The Rolling Stones. Those two songs allegedly beat out "Imagine." Admittedly I'm a little biased towards John Lennon, but "Imagine" is in my not so humble opinion a better song than most anything either the Stones or Dylan ever dished out. Your mileage will no doubt vary. There's too many of these list things. It's so subjective. There's no objective criteria. Maybe someday, someone will make a list of the one thousand best lists of this sort of all time. Then one could distill another list from comparisons of all those lists... and we still wouldn't know anything more than we do now.posted by ZachsMind at 9:12 AM on June 20
See? See what happens when someone thinks what they are going to write first, before executing innocent life forms? Well said ZachsMind
Rolling Stone's listAccording to Wikipedia, the album version of "Papa Was a Rolling Stone" is 11:47; the edited single is 6:54.posted by kirkaracha at 9:45 AM on June 20
Your only two seconds out, but i will forgive you, the rest might not.
Bob Dylan's "I'm a Rolling Stone"It's 'Like A Rolling Stone.' Just so you know.posted by jonmc at 9:51 AM on June 20
I thought i did. Noted to check
It's hard to take seriously any page that has a picture of "The Crow" on it.posted by interrobang at 9:54 AM on June 20
Fine. I will Krusty the Clown from now on. He's pretty serious.
The Definitive 1000 Songs Of All Time 1955 to 2005.Finally, we can get this settled once and for all!posted by obvious at 9:57 AM on June 20
Thats actually a valid point, i would love to see a www vote for that list. Funny, because that is one of the things i first wanted when i started this site. Imagine, after a few million votes then it could be submitted to Rolling Stone.
Even CKLW, which was a Top 40 "Boss" format station, sometimes played the full version of "Papa Was a Rolling Stone." Usually late at night, though. Probably to give the DJ time to run to the can. Plus the Temps were from Detroit, so it's logical their hometown would play the whole song.posted by Oriole Adams at 10:01 AM on June 20
in '72?
In 1990, Was (Not Was) came out with a version of "Papa Was A Rolling Stone" that blew everybody away. I doubt you'll ever see their version on any of these silly lists. Don Was rocks.posted by ZachsMind at 10:40 AM on June 20 [1 favorite]
Any supporter of the Eagles has my vote and hey im not silly. (just slightly)
"L'homme armé" better come in at #1 or I'm calling foul.posted by languagehat at 10:49 AM on June 20
er, just looking that up right now, how do you spell....
Floydd's link to reminded me of their NPR 100 which came out around the turn of the millenium. I think this is one of the better lists of its kind. It endeavors to cover the history of American music overall for an entire century, but being ethnocentric to the US, it's far too focused to be more than a novelty.posted by ZachsMind at 12:38 PM on June 20
Yes, but did it just focus on a couple of "well known" countries or was there more?
It was worth it only for linking to this (YouTube).posted by evilcolonel at 1:00 PM on June 20
Keonepax is fantastic, his videos are legendry
I like it, thanks for posting.Although, this worries me:Rockers OnlineUnited States: 10Canada: 9Netherlands: 1Germany: 121 Rockers 4 countriesWho's the German? Speak up, Kraut.posted by goodnewsfortheinsane at 1:49 PM on June 20.
Mein gott! Just remember the amazing Kraftwerk and what they achieved. Just don't mention "The Hoff"
Wow. You can snark all you want, but the guy's responding to us, and that's worth something.posted by goodnewsfortheinsane at 7:15 PM on June 20
Thank you. I just wanted to respond to the criticism. A lot of things i will now take on board and try to implement
Good, people are finally starting to turn against Top X lists. I strongly dislike them. Top 10 Reasons Why, in my opinion, Top X lists suck:
They always seem to allow for either too many or too few items. The list ends up excluding something really important or having a bunch of filler.
That tendency to have too many or too few items makes Top X lists a really facile way to create controversy and drive people to your site/blog/YouTubery/whatever. Far too many people will instantly say "How could you possible exclude XYZ?!?" or "XYZ?!? Are you insane?" And it'll bring people to you like moths to a really good fistfight.
About half the time, the things they're listing aren't even what they're supposed to be talking about. Top 10 Reasons Linux Sucks? Half of it'll be about Windows, not actually about Linux. Top 5 Baby Names To Avoid? Half of them will be names that are actually incredibly cool.
Lists are sometimes appropriate, but in the same way that Powerpoint presentations are: only for certain subject matter, and only when carefully applied.
They usually have no cohesive ideas, just random snark with very little context.
They foster short attention spans.That's my opinion, anyway.posted by
jiawen at 7:28 PM on June 20
No problems with what you say, only thing you have to remember jiawen not everyone is as literate and smart as you.
Bottom Line: Calling his list 'definitive' is begging for criticism, and not necessarily the good, constructive kind. I'd constructively start criticism by saying, "stop calling it definitive, cuz it's not, and it ain't never gonna be." It's a list put together by one brain, and no more or less definitive than any other alleged definitive list out there. I've made lists of what I believe to be best movies and put it up at my online journal, but I don't call it definitive. Even if you took a million people's lists and compared them, then picked the ones that majorities of people chose, you couldn't call the final result definitive. It's an impossible goal, and it's not truth in advertising.posted by ZachsMind at 12:34 PM on June 21
Ok, here is an argument for discussion. First of all the word "Definitive" 1. most reliable or complete, as of a text, author, criticism, study or 2.having its fixed and final form; providing a solution or final answer; satisfying all criteria.
My response to all of that is exactly what i am trying to achieve, where does it say it has to be THE ABSOLUTE AUTHORITAIVE THING EVER WRITTEN?
Can infinity be defined? NO, but i can write a book about "the Definitive theory on Infinity" YES
i rest my case



Anonymous Anonymous said...

most of these songs can be played at

2:52 am  
Blogger said...

"The longest song on my iTunes list is on Mellow Mix Volume 8, Dream Theater (they #%$%# rock) The song is called Octavarium and clocks in at a whopping 23.59 minutes~! (does anyone else have a song that is longer?)"

I had to go back a few years, but a Dutch prog group called Focus released the album "Focus III" in 1973, which included a song called "Anonymous II," clocking in at 26.58 minutes (a side and a half on the 2-disc vinyl album). The opening and closing sections were quite good, but the middle (with drum AND bass solos) really dragged things down. Still, Focus is an old favorite from the era.

Enjoying the list...

4:27 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I don't quite know how to disable your pop ups, but they "pop up" whenever I click on a song. I would encourage you to contact blogger about them - if you have a free account, they may just be unavoidable.

Anyhow, I appreciate the time and effort you've put into this.

3:35 pm  
Blogger crowbarred said...

Thanks for the comments!
as for the blogger pop up (i did not even know they did that) i will be writing a stern "desist and back away from the blog" to googles I have windows IE 7 pop up blocker with zonealarm so that is why i dont see it.

3:52 pm  
Blogger crowbarred said...

update: google deny pop ups of any sort on blogger. Did a check on pop ups for this site, my pop up super duper alerter says there are none for this site! That is, none located in IE 7 and Zonealarm. Can anyone tell me what the advertising is about and or if any other info on the pop up? Please.

4:18 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Honestly, I don't know, but it makes my McAfee security system go bonkers. Sets off my firewall and actually managed to crash my privacy service - which makes no sense.

I'll try and check this from work tomorrow since the pop up situation is not as extreme there.

9:44 pm  
Blogger crowbarred said...

please, because i want to know. as far as i have found out they say it is beacuse of a persons certain isp. i have widgets yes so if i could find out who is responsible, out that widget goes

9:51 pm  

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