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Heather and Ryan’s Montgomery County Wedding

Weddings Comments (0)

bride and groom

In November of 2014, I was the DJ for Heather and Ryan’s wedding reception. The party was held at the Manor House at Prophecy Creek Park in Ambler, Pennsylvania.  A couple of weeks prior to the wedding we met for what we call a “wrap-up meeting”. This is where we cement the timeline, the formalities, the announcements to be made along with details and very importantly, pronunciations of names to be introduced.   Heather and Ryan are one of those couples that clicked instantly with me, and after speaking with them for nearly two hours, going over a timeline, music, my approach to my job and their vision for their wedding reception, I felt great going in to the big day.

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When November 2nd finally came, my assistant DJ and I arrived at Prophecy Creek about two hours before the start of cocktail hour. We quickly got set up and settled in, before the roughly one hundred and fifty guests arrived.  Once dinner ended, I was ready to get people out their dancing for this wedding. The bride, groom, and their bridal party led the charge to the dance floor. Everything worked from some oldies such as “Runaround Sue” from Dion to music from today like “Party Rock Anthem” by LMFAO. I had a lot of fun being the DJ for this reception. Tara of Silver Orchid Photography – who I really enjoy working with – did a great job capturing the night on camera. The great staff of Robert Fair Catering at Prophecy Creek did an excellent job and provided excellent food, drinks, and service.

Thanks and Congratulations to Heather and Ryan, I wish you all the best as you start your life together as husband and wife.

-DJ Richie


Images courtesy of Silver Orchid Photography


Wedding DJ and Lighting
Montgomery County






Cutting Edge @ March 18, 2015

Bryn’s Bat Mitzvah at Downingtown Country Club

Bar/Bat Mitzvahs Comments (0)

Bat Mitzvah Girl

When I walked in to Downingtown Country Club to set up for Bryn’s Bat Mitzvah, I had no idea what I was stepping into that day. Her Crayola theme, complete with artist table for everyone to create pictures, should have given me some idea of the creative and imaginative young lady I had that day.

Throughout the whole planning process for the mitzvah, and the multiple meetings that we have with our clients here at Cutting Edge Entertainment, Bryn had always been focused on her guests. Her priority for the event was, and I quote, “I want all of my friends and family to dance and have fun the whole day!” While I knew this was something we could easily accomplish, being the dancer I am myself, little Miss Bryn did not indicate how much of a true PARTY ANIMAL she was!

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Before cocktail hour ended, my dancers and I had all the kids rocking out on the dance floor. Bryn not only was dancing, but was making sure everyone knew what dance move was next. She very well might take my job as the next MC here at Cutting Edge.

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Dancing 03

As the party went on, the guests didn’t even want to sit down to eat their meals. From Uptown Funk and Let’s Groove Tonight to Bon Jovi and Taylor Swift, the adults and kids danced until their feet were numb. I believe I lost five pounds that afternoon due to the amount of dancing we all did. The Goldman family didn’t want many formalities, just an awesome party. Due to the flexibility we had, we were able to keep everyone on the dance floor the entire afternoon.

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At the end of the party, everyone was ready for a nap. Bryn smiled and said goodbye to every guest personally, and each person left with a smile on their face and their shoes in their hands. I personally walked up to Mom and Dad and told them I wished I had MORE time with their crowd, because their friends and family wanted to dance the day away.

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Congratulations to Bryn & the Goldman family on their Bat Mitzvah. Thank you to my DJs & Dancers, Michael Duretz for the photos and to Downingtown Country Club for letting us jam out all afternoon!

DJ Tony


Images courtesy of Michael Duretz Photography


Downingtown Country Club


Bar Mitzvah and Bat Mitzvah
MC, DJ and Dancers
Chester County





Cutting Edge @ March 9, 2015

The Cairnwood Wedding of Tara and Chris

Weddings Comments (0)

Bride and Groom

September is always a busy month for us at Cutting Edge Entertainment, and this past September was no exception. Cairnwood – a place we perform as Wedding DJ quite often – is by far one of my favorite venues; I like the staff, the venue, and the fact that it’s located only a few short minutes drive from our office in Huntingdon Valley. However, the thing I like most about Cairnwood is that each and every wedding or party I do there is uniquely different. In other words, it never gets boring at Cairnwood. There are so many different caterers, decorators, planners, florists and other event professionals that all bring their own individual style, enhancing the event and adding something new and different to each event I do there, and the possibilities of how to arrange Cairnwood is almost limitless.

Dancing 01 Wedding DJ

Dancing 02 Wedding DJ

Dancing 03 Wedding DJ

Tara and Chris were a really fun couple to work with, and we had a blast at our wrap up meeting a few short weeks prior to the wedding. The meeting we had lasted almost two hours and I believe it was good for Tara and Chris to get to know me better and gain confidence in my ability to rock out their wedding. For me, getting to know them was more like making new friends than working with a client, and as it turned out we had so much in common.  Together, the three of us mapped out their vision for their reception, and as their Wedding DJ, I helped them to accomplish that vision.

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Dancing 05 Wedding DJ

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Their wedding was one of the highlights of my month, and by the pictures featured here you can tell this was one great crowd. Of course when I DJ a wedding I consider it a team effort, and the wedding can’t be as successful as this one without all of the wedding professionals working in perfect sync. The caterer for the wedding was Feastivities Catering (always amazing), and Kevin from Kevin York Photography who did an awesome job capturing the images from the event. Kevin is a superstar photographer that does great work.

Finally, a successful wedding can’t be complete without the bride and groom, and Tara and Chris were perfect.

Dancing 07 Wedding DJ


Thank you so much Tara and Chris, and wishing you both the best of everything in your lives together as husband and wife!!

-Richie


Images courtesy of Kevin York Photography


Catering by Feastivities Events


Cairnwood


Wedding DJ and Lighting
Montgomery County




Cutting Edge @ February 25, 2015

The Aldie Mansion Wedding of Erin and Jeff

Weddings Comments (0)

Aldie Mansion wedding

2014 was an amazing year for me, and I am so happy to have been a part of so many great wedding receptions. This particular wedding was held in September at the Aldie Mansion in Bucks County, and Erin and Jeff were a fun, outgoing couple, whom I had a blast working with. As a Wedding DJ it’s important to play all sorts of music from all different genres and eras including many diverse artists. Many brides and grooms are concerned with making sure we play a little bit of something for everyone. In my opinion four to five hours is more than enough time to keep everyone happy, whether it be with Big Band, Jazz, Motown, Rock and Roll, or Top 40, I have no problem fitting it all in. This was very important to Erin and Jeff, simply because as in most wedding receptions, their guests varied in both age and musical taste.

Aldie Mansion wedding

Aldie Mansion wedding

Aldie Mansion wedding

This wedding was a blast to be a part of as the Wedding DJ, and the energy of the bride, groom and all their guests was contagious. I have worked with some brides and grooms in the past that sometime worry that not many guests will dance, because they are shy or just not big dancers – when I hear that I always smile, because most times these couples underestimate their guests. People do not get all dressed up in their fancy suits or dresses to just sit at their table and listen to music; they came to have a great time and because they love you and want to celebrate your special day with you. I feel it is up to me to make sure I create that fun, relaxed environment to allow people to let loose and party hard. Now of course the bartender always helps us out, we will never deny that, and once the party begins it’s the DJ that makes sure all of the guests are out there, whether they are dancing, singing along, or just clapping their hands off to the side, I know they’re having a good time. In my opinion, once the party is over – and days, weeks, months and even years go by, you may forget what you ate, you may forget what you wore, there is even a good chance you may forget what kind of music we played, but you should always be able to remember the great time you had.

Aldie Mansion wedding

Aldie Mansion wedding

Aldie Mansion wedding

Aldie Mansion wedding

As always I enjoyed working with Kevin from Kevin York Photography; he is very talented and was great to work alongside with as a Wedding DJ. Thank you for letting me feature these impressive images for the readers of our blog to see. As always, the staff at Aldie Mansion and Jeffrey Miller Catering did an outstanding job (as usual). The entire staff there is amazing and I enjoy working with them. And of course, it is pretty easy to have a good party when you are working with an awesome couple like Erin and Jeff. Thank you again for having us be a part of your wedding day, it was my pleasure to be your Wedding DJ!

~Richie


Images courtesy of Kevin York Photography


Aldie Mansion


Wedding DJ and Lighting
Bucks County




Cutting Edge @ February 11, 2015

The Lake House Inn Wedding of Ivy and Brian

Client Testimonials, Weddings Comments (1)

Wedding DJ Bride and Groom

Last year was full of so many awesome weddings, and one of those was the reception of Ivy and Brian. The wedding and reception were held at the Lake House Inn, in Bucks County, Pennsylvania. Besides playing music for the party, I also provided sound for the outdoor ceremony. The good thing about having the Wedding DJ play music for the ceremony is we can play any type of music you could possibly want. We can do string quartet, harp, acoustic guitar, piano, and so on. There has been a trend in recent years to be more creative, instead of doing the traditional “Canon In D” by Johann Pachelbel or “Here Comes The Bride” by Richard Wagner.

Ivy and Brian are both serious party people, and they really wanted to ensure all of their guests would have an amazing time. They picked the right Wedding DJ for the job, because getting (and keeping) people out on the dance floor happens to be my ultimate specialty. I played everything from “Runaround Sue” by Dion & The Belmonts to “Blurred Lines” by Robin Thicke, and everyone of all ages had a blast dancing and celebrating with the bride and groom on their special day.

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Now, of course, I can’t take all the credit for the success of the party, because ultimately it’s a team effort. I worked together with the elite staff at the Lake House Inn, who did a superb job and were easy to work with (as always). Outstanding food is a key element to a successful party, and the food at Lake House Inn is outstanding.

I am extremely grateful to have so many great friends in the wedding industry.  One of those friends is photographer extraordinaire Nicole Leigh.  I have worked dozens of weddings with Nicole and her staff, and she was nice enough to recommend me to Ivy and Brian.  I feel if it wasn’t for her kind words about my work, I would not have had the opportunity to be a part of this celebration.  As expected, she did a great job and took some fantastic pictures from the party.

Wedding DJ Wedding Cake

A few weeks after the wedding, Ivy and Brian posted the following testimonial on The Knot:

Cutting Edge Entertainment impressed me and all my guests very much. The groom and I had told him what type of music we would like played & he followed everything we said perfectly. People were asking the night of and the day after wondering how we found a DJ that wasn’t cheesy, who only played good music. Everyone at Cutting Edge seems cool, but Richie Abrams is who we dealt with the most, and he is a joy. Funny, patient, and accommodating. Plus Cutting Edge’s services are reasonably priced. Hire these guys! Right now! And chase away those nightmares of awful wedding DJs.

Thank you again to Ivy and Brian for choosing Cutting Edge Entertainment as your Wedding DJ, and wishing you both all the best life has to offer.

-DJ Richie


Images courtesy of Nicole Leigh Photography


The Lake House Inn


Wedding DJ and Lighting
Bucks County





Cutting Edge @ January 26, 2015

The Cairnwood Wedding of Rich and Marly

Weddings Comments (0)

Kevin York Photography

The Cairnwood Estate in Montgomery County is like a second home to the staff here at Cutting Edge Entertainment, and I consider myself fortunate to work there on a fairly regular basis. Being intimately familiar with a venue gives the Wedding DJ at a huge advantage to coordinate a party there without a hitch since we are familiar with the logistics of the mansion, especially when the grand tent is used adding another dimension to the venue.

Cairnwood hosted the wedding of Rich and Marly on a spectacular Sunday in October.  I had the pleasure of meeting and speaking with Rich and Marly numerous times before their big day, and they are an awesome couple with as much character and charm as their wedding venue.  They had lots of specific requests, and a definite vision of what their day was to be like, which only makes the job of the Wedding DJ that much easier.  The job of a good Wedding DJ involves much more than meeting specific music requests, but also following a timeline while communicating and working closely with the other wedding professionals (photographers, caterers, etc).  Communicating with these other professionals and working as a team is key to a seamless and successful wedding reception.

Kevin York Photography

Kevin York Photography

This wedding was set to go late into Sunday night, but within the first hour I knew that Rich and Marly’s guests were there to party, and prepared to go all night long. The ceremony took place out in the front of the mansion where we provided music and microphones for the officiant and Rich’s live performance serenading his new wife in front of all of their guests.  It was truly unique and added a great personal touch to the ceremony.

Kevin York Photography

Kevin York Photography

Kevin York Photography

The guests moved inside the Cairnwood mansion house to enjoy their cocktail hour of drinks and hors d’oeuvres. During our meetings and planning prior to the wedding reception we selected a playlist for the night that would honor both the backgrounds of Rich and Marly. Opening the dance floor with a traditional Jewish Hora to get the whole family involved and sprinkling in some great latin salsa to get everyone’s heart rates up throughout the night really worked well, and made for a festive and fun reception party. The dancing didn’t stop until the lights came on, and all of the guests participated and had a great time.

Kevin York Photography

The staff of the Cairnwood Estate, Feastivities Catering, Photography by Kevin York, and Cutting Edge Entertainment all came together that night as one big team and insured one of the best nights of Rich and Marly’s lives was a celebration no one will soon forget. Thanks so much Rich and Marly, it was an honor to be your Wedding DJ, and be chosen to be a part of your big day.  From myself, and the rest of the team at Cutting Edge. we wish you all the best life has to offer in your lives together as husband and wife.

-Adam


Images courtesy of Kevin York Photography


Cairnwood


Wedding DJ and Lighting
Montgomery County





Cutting Edge @ January 19, 2015

The Merion Wedding of Nicole and Gary

Client Testimonials, Weddings Comments (0)

Bride and Groom Wedding DJ

In November of 2014, I was the MC/DJ for a wedding at The Merion in Cinnaminson, New Jersey.  I have worked there many times in the past, and always enjoy getting to see wedding coordinator extraordinaire and former high school classmate, “The Amazing” Denyse.  Nicole and Gary were a laid back bride and groom, and their primary concern was with making sure that their friends and family had a great time at their wedding reception. At our wrap up meeting just prior to the wedding, we spent a lot of time going over the music for the ceremony, dinner, and dancing. We sat together for a while just listening to music and looking for the perfect grand entrance, cake cutting, and parent dance songs. The best part of my job is getting to know my clients and share in their excitement for their big day, and sitting down with them face to face really gives me the chance to do just that!

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Wedding DJ Dancing 02

I was very impressed with the staff at The Merion. It is always great to work with a staff that knows exactly how to keep a party running smoothly. There was never any lull or down time throughout the entire wedding reception. Guests were kept entertained either with watching the wedding formalities like the first dance, parent dances, or cake cutting, and when these were done the crowd was treated to a delicious meal, followed by dancing, dancing, and more dancing. The bride, groom, and their bridal party led the charge to the dance floor, and danced to everything from some older favorites like “Shout” (Otis Day & The Knights), to some current selections like “Party Rock Anthem” by LMFAO.

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Wedding DJ Cake

It was great to work with Denyse and the rest of the crew and The Merion. I hope to be back in the facility soon for more parties.  I also had the opportunity to work with Krista and Michael from Michael’s Photography. They always do a wonderful job capturing images for our blog.  Nicole and Gary are fantastic, and I enjoyed getting to know them before the wedding and it was awesome to be a part of their celebration. I look forward to staying in touch with them, as they begin their lives together as husband and wife.

-Richie

A few weeks after the wedding the bride and groom were nice enough to post the following testimonial on Wedding Wire…

Words cannot express how wonderful Richie was to work with. He made the whole experience extremely easy for us. From the very first meeting we knew we had chosen the best company and DJ to work with. My guests are still talking about how much fun they had at our wedding. I missed a couple aspects of the night because I was dancing so much. Richie is absolutely amazing!!! You will not regret hiring him!



Images courtesy of Michael’s Photography


The Merion


Wedding DJ and Lighting
Philadelphia and Southern New Jersey




Cutting Edge @ January 14, 2015

The Artesano Wedding of Nicholas and Natalie

Weddings Comments (0)

Bride and Groom Wedding DJ

On an unassuming corner in the Manayunk section of Philadelphia, just off of Main St., resides a truly unique and magnificent wedding venue… The Artesano Iron Works. It isn’t until you walk by do you notice their lovely courtyard entrance, and back up a few steps to admire it.  With a little bon fire blazing outside on Saturday, November 8 of 2014, the iron gates opened welcoming the guests of Nicholas and Natalie into the cool lounge/acid jazz themed cocktail hour, kicking off their wedding reception.

I really enjoyed working with Nicholas and Natalie, as I related to them in many ways, and on many levels. We all spent a significant part of our lives living in Manayunk, and, being close to the same age we all shared many big changes and significant life experiences. Being that part of my job as a Wedding DJ is getting to know my client, this certainly helped us to click that much more, allowing me to even better understand the wants and visions of the bride and groom in regard to their wedding reception.  Again, Nick and Natalie were a pleasure to work with and I felt as if we were on the same page throughout the process.

Wedding DJ

The breathtakingly beautiful interior of the Artesano Iron Works, and the professionalism of its staff only helped set the stage for fun, food, and dancing – and the guests definitely came ready to party. After finishing their main course, the guests flocked to the dance floor and never left. We had all their guests dancing to tried and true dance hits like “Mony Mony” and “Soul Man”, to classic favorites like Mambo #5 and 90′s rap. Nick even represented his New York roots with Jay-Z’s “New York State of Mind”.

Wedding DJ

Wedding DJ

All in all, it was a great party, with fun guests and a really cool bride and groom… a Wedding DJs dream reception and a bride and groom who truly knew how to have fun and make the most of their wedding reception.

asyaphotography.com

Photographer Asya Shirokova captured the night’s best memories, and was kind enough to allow us to share her images here on our blog, and the fine couple from Lovebirds provided a photo booth backdrop to allow the guests to get silly. And as far as the staff at Artesano is concerned, they run a tight ship, and a world-class venue, and with the invaluable help of the amazing Dawn Bainbridge – Event Producer at Artesano Iron Works – the reception was an absolute success.

Nicholas and Natalie, we wish you the best in the next chapter of your lives out in sunny California!

-Adam


Images courtesy of Asya Photography


Artesano Iron Works


Wedding DJ and Lighting
Philadelphia




Cutting Edge @ January 5, 2015

Kerri and Justin’s Manor House Wedding

Weddings Comments (0)

Bride and Groom

September is always a busy month full of amazing events for us at Cutting Edge Entertainment. One of those events was the wedding reception of Kerri and Justin, a couple I had a great time working with. The best part of working as a DJ is that I have fun at my job. At the office, at a party, meeting clients, or behind the mixer, most of the time I am having a blast. I enjoy meeting with brides and grooms and talking about their wedding, going through a timeline, finding out about the music they like to dance to and just visualizing the day with them. I feel that many folks choose to book Cutting Edge Entertainment because they have a good time meeting with myself and our staff, and if we can have fun in a meeting for an hour, it’s likely that we will have a rocking time at a four or five hour reception. I am confident that is why Kerri and Justin chose Cutting Edge Entertainment as their Wedding DJ.

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Kerri and Justin just happen to be one of the best kinds of brides and grooms… the party animals. They were definitely the stars of this show, and played up the role of bride and groom to the max. They were out their on the dance floor celebrating the entire time, and when I played a song like “Don’t Stop Believing” by Journey, everyone had no problem singing along. I played music that spanned all different genres and eras at this party. The guests partied to everything from “Do You Love Me” by The Contours to “All About That Bass” by Meghan Trainor.  As you can see by the images here in the blog post, this was an awesome crowd.

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This wedding was held at the Manor House at Commonwealth in Montgomery County, and I had the chance to work with Richard, Julie, and the rest of the incredible staff at this venue. It is important that there be plenty of communication between the kitchen and the DJ, to ensure that the event runs smoothly, and the folks at Commonwealth excel at this. At this wedding, I knew that once guests were seated, they would be immediately served their meals. The best run weddings are the ones where there is no stop in the action, everybody is either watching (or participating in) a formality (such as the first dance, parent dances, cake cutting, etc.), eating, or on the dance floor doing their thing.  I also had the opportunity to work with Krista and Michael from Michael’s Photography.  They did a wonderful job capturing images for our blog.

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Thank you again Kerri and Justin, and the best of luck to you in your lives as husband and wife.

-DJ Richie


Images courtesy of Michael’s Photography


The Manor House at Commonwealth


Wedding DJ and Lighting
Montgomery County





Cutting Edge @ December 3, 2014

The Temptations vs. The Beatles: A Comparative

Musicology, The Beatles Comments (0)

Temptations vs. Beatles

In 1961, an unknown and unsigned “Rock and Roll” group named The Beatles was playing seedy nightclubs in Hamburg, Germany, while another yet unknown vocal group – The Temptations – were signed the then still fledgling Motown Records.

Although the suggestion that The Temptations rival The Beatles in any way, shape or form will undoubtedly be unsettling to die-hard Beatles fans, it will come as little surprise to Temptations fans.  The more common comparison to The Beatles is The Rolling Stones, and although both were part of the “British Invasion”, the parallel stops there. The Rolling Stones were merely playing a game of catch-up with The Fab Four both creatively and commercially in the 1960s. With all due respect, The Stones output and footprint is more fairly measured over three decades, and pales in comparison to both The Temptations and The Beatles if narrowed to the 1960s.

On the other hand, The Temptations were doing their own thing musically; entirely different from not only the British Invasion, but from most of what was coming out of the United States, and even more specifically Motown.  Although perhaps not as iconic as The Beatles or The Rolling Stones, their output during the 1960s and early 1970s was more prolific than the latter, and seemingly their appeal was broader and more diverse than the former.

 

 Output

The Temptations first R&B Chart hit was in 1962, and from then until 1972 (their relevant period) they would land in the Billboard R&B Top 40 a total of 37 times, reaching the #1 spot eleven times, whereas The Beatles – from their first Billboard Pop Top 40 hit in 1964 until their breakup in 1970 - charted a total of 46 times in the Pop Top 40, twenty of which rose to #1. In the same time period The Temptations crossed over to the Pop Top 40  charts a total of 30 times, while unlike other white acts of their time like Elvis Presley, The Beach Boys and The Rolling Stones, The Beatles never once charted in the R&B Top 40.

An interesting footnote, The Beatles had nine more Top 40 hits than The Temptations during this period, and nine more #1 hits as well.  Coincidentally, both groups recorded songs that featured the number “9″ in the title (“Cloud Nine” and “Revolution #9″).

It’s important to point out that both The Beatles and The Temptations did continue to chart beyond 1970 and 1972 respectively. After 1970 The Beatles charted five more times with previously recorded songs, and the remaining three Beatles assembled posthumously to the assassination of John Lennon to chart with material comprised of tapes Lennon left unfinished. The Temptations charted in the R&B Top 40 thirty one more times after 1972, but the departure of Eddie Kendricks and Paul Williams in 1971/72 signaled the end of the “classic Tempts” era.  Hence – for the sake of this comparative – the measure of output is from 1962 to 1972 for The Temptations and 1964 to 1970 for The Beatles.

 

 Metamorphosis

The most striking parallel between the two groups is that both experienced a complete mid-60s musical metamorphosis.

Between 1965 and 1967, The Beatles evolved from the jangly 1950s inspired Rock and Roll of their formative years to something entirely different, and much more difficult to categorize than their earlier body of work.  I suppose it could be categorized as “Psychedelic Rock”, and there is even a valid argument that The Beatles were the first to market in the genre, or at the very least were one of the pioneers.  At the same time they dabbled in spiritualism and philosophy, so perhaps it’s fairer to call it an experimental period and a departure from their “mop-top” era.  They literally re-invented themselves. This isn’t to say they didn’t still drop a nod to their roots every now and then. For the most part however, they became an entirely different entity. Remarkably retaining both their relevance and commercial success, and plausibly improving upon it.  Only one other group in the 1960s was able to achieve such a feat, and that ((cue spotlight))… was The Temptations.

In all fairness, The Tempts didn’t quite “evolve” so much as make a complete 360.  They didn’t have the luxury of unlimited studio time to experiment like The Beatles did, and their motivation to change was both more sudden, and for entirely different reasons.  The Beatles evolution was brought on by a combination of eclectic factors; not wanting to tour anymore, marijuana and hallucinogenic drugs, and an inspirational producer who afforded them creative license to experiment. Ultimately this resulted in a complete transformation, from touring Rock and Roll Group into in-studio Recording Artists.  In contrast, The Temptations morph was expeditious.  With the misfortune of having to change lead singers mid-career – often a death sentence to music groups – they rolled the dice by leaving their 1950s inspired R&B and ballad style behind, tackling what is commonly defined as “Psychedelic Soul”, a genre pioneered by Sly and The Family Stone.

With The Temptations transformation, they began to rely less on the lead singer, and instead their new arrangements traded lyrics more freely among all five group members, all of whom were talented singers in their own right. As a result, the Tempts sound became “more whole”. It was during this period that The Temptations charted higher on the Top Pop 40 charts then they had in their entire previous incarnation. This lends to the theory that – like The Beatles – they not only retained their relevance and commercial success, they improved upon it.

It could be argued, particularly in the case of The Beatles, that such a metamorphosis would be easy, and unsurprising. The Beatles were unquestionably one of the first “Rock and Roll bands”, so is it really that remarkable of an achievement?  On the flip side, there had been countless vocal harmony and Doo-Wop groups prior to The Temptations, and none of them had morphed at all. So here’s the crux; Besides The Beatles and The Temptations, has any other group maintained success on both sides of such an extreme shift?

In all fairness, several groups do come to mind.

Fleetwood Mac (formed in 1967) was more of a Blues/Rock band, yet it was not until they shifted to a Pop/Rock orientation in 1975 that they achieved any sort of commercial success.  In contrast were The Beach Boys who attained massive Pop success in the early 1960′s. But due to a series of mental breakdowns suffered by chief songwriter and producer Brian Wilson, 1966 marked the end for The Beach Boys experimental period.

Other great groups like The Rolling Stones didn’t transform at all, nor did they need to.  They stayed their course and kept to a successful formula that garnered them commercial success while maintaining their relevance. In all fairness, they may have dabbled in different experimentations, but it was just that… dabbling.  Metamorphosis is not necessary in a group’s career, it is merely unique and worthy of remark. In this respect The Beatles and The Temptations were unquestionably remarkable.

 

Songwriting

It’s here that The Temptations fall short, but then again, who doesn’t.  All but three of The Beatles Pop Top 40 hits were written by a member of The Beatles. This isn’t to say they didn’t cover other artists’ material. They often did. Yet by design or coincidence, nearly 100% of The Beatles hits were home-grown.

Pretty much every other prolific Pop songwriter/songwriting team in the 1960s was a part of the same formidable organization as The Temptations, Motown Records. Names like Smokey Robinson, Holland-Dozier-Holland, Ashford & Simpson, Norman Whitfield and Barrett Strong (to name a few). Even Kenny Gamble and Leon Huff – who later achieved songwriting fame for the Philadelphia International label – penned a chart-topping Temptations/Supremes duet.

That The Beatles authored most of their own tunes is a massively impressive feat, yet this fact alone does not make them the greater recording artist.  Taking a great song and making it a hit is what it all boils down to.  Elvis Presley, who out sold and out-charted The Beatles, did not write his hit songs.

 

 Cultural Relevance and Irrelevance

The Beatles broke up in 1970, and the split made headlines, with the four former Fabs using the press to slander one another in public forum. The Beatles end was not pretty, but it was most certainly final with each Beatle launching a successful solo career. Additionally, each of the four was able to attain multiple #1 hits, hence retaining both musical and cultural relevance as solo artists.  The music of The Beatles did go through a period of diminished relevance amongst the youth of the 1970s, which was to be expected of your parent’s music, but this period was short-lived.  The Beatles soon returned to the Icon status they still hold today.

The Beatles relevant period essentially began in 1964 until their breakup in 1970. The Temptations relevant period mirrored the 1964 start, and continued into 1972. Post-1972, The Temptations began a steep decline into epic irrelevance.  To this day, they have yet to officially “break up”, and there have been dozens of lineup changes since their dual peaks of musical and cultural significance.  David Ruffin and Eddie Kendricks – both of whom had left The Temptations by 1972 – continued on as solo artists, with Kendricks achieving somewhat greater commercial success.

Both The Beatles and The Temptations are part of our cultural fiber, and the recordings of both groups are featured on television programs and in motion pictures, while their songs are covered again and again by countless artists.

BEATLES

In summary, although both groups existed in the same time period, they aren’t commonly considered as competitors in any way. Being contemporaries, they would have competed for chart positioning, yet the likeness stops there. The contrasts between the two groups were great enough to make their trajectories similar, but not parallel.

As a massive Beatles fan, I am always searching for artists that might challenge The Beatles perceived supremacy, although a correlation of The Beatles and The Temptations may be more juxtaposition than comparison.  Both groups produced excellent music, style icons, and ambassadors (respectively) of their particular genre of music in their own country, as well as abroad.

But most importantly, both groups have given us the gift of great music.

-Craig


Beatles illustration courtesy of Sean Gallo


Cutting Edge @ December 1, 2014

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