Talkin' 'Bout My Girl: 50 years later, Temps' Classic is Still a Hit

This is a writing sample from Scripted writer KENNETH RAY

Sing it with me: "I've got sunshine, on a cloudy day. When it's cold outside, I've got the month of May." In 1965, more than fifty years ago, a slim, bespectacled David Ruffin's smooth, yet raspy voice delivered these, arguably the most memorable lyrics ever at the beginning of My Girl. It's an iconic recording by the Temptations, and five decades later there are several undeniable reasons everybody still loves that song:

IT'S TIMELESS

I heard My Girl on the radio yesterday. I smiled and sang along, snapping my fingers, awestruck by the fact that fifty years later (Hey, Hey, Hey) it still sounds good. They don't make music like that anymore, I thought, and as I closed my eyes, I could see the original Temps: David Ruffin, Paul Williams, Melvin Franklin, Eddie Kendricks, and Otis Williams, stepping, turning, dancing in perfect rhythm, and it occurred to me that groups don't dance like that either. As I listen to what masquerades as popular music these days, I wonder if there is anything playing on the radio today that will still be playing 50 years from now. I seriously doubt it.

IT'S SIMPLE

You see, the thing that makes My Girl so noteworthy is its simplicity. It's just a guy thinking about his girl, telling the world how good she makes him feel. If you're a guy who's ever had a girl that makes you feel that way you can relate, and if you've ever been that girl, it resonates with you, too.

IT'S PURE

It takes the Temps only about three minutes to deliver this message, and everybody gets it—the first time they hear it. A great song is like that. You don't have to play it and listen closely to understand the lyrics, there's no hidden message to figure out, no profanity, no sexual innuendo, no over-the-top electronics, no R&B wannabe screaming unintelligible lyrics, or trying to impress with uneven or unnecessary voice control. There's just a guy with a sweet voice (I've got so much honey, the bees envy me) telling you about his girl. Nearly three generations of music lovers from Los Angeles to London love this song, and even with moderate airplay, I am sure it garners thousands of new fans each year.

IT'S CLASSIC

The unbelievable thing is, Motown has a treasure-trove of songs like this. I don't know what it was about those magical days, but in the 1960s and 1970s Motown, aka Hitsville, USA produced some of the most memorable, most enduring music of all time. And as time passes, more of those hits will turn fifty, or sixty, and we will notice, and make note of how beautiful, how special, how melodically perfect they are. Or is that Just My Imagination?

Written by:

KENNETH RAY
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A former ad agency principal, Ken has completed hundreds of projects, including magazine ads, articles, blog posts, press releases, content, and two books (one as a ghostwriter). He is a stickler when it comes to spelling, grammar, sentence structure, and punctuation, because deep down he is a bit of a perfectionist. His work has been featured on simple.thrifty.living.com, mlive.com, and Upsidehoops.com.
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