1990 (The Temptations album)

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Studio album by
ReleasedDecember 7, 1973
GenreSoul, funk, psychedelic soul
ProducerNorman Whitfield
The Temptations chronology
The Temptations in Japan
A Song for You

1990 is a 1973 album by The Temptations for the Gordy (Motown) label, their final LP written and produced by Norman Whitfield.

Music and lyrics[edit]

The LP was the center of a number of problems. The Temptations were dissatisfied with Whitfield's socially conscious message tracks, which were by now failing commercially, and desired to get back to singing ballads. Whitfield relented some here, placing message tracks such as "1990" and "Ain't No Justice" alongside love songs such as "Heavenly" and "You've Got My Soul on Fire".

Release and promotion[edit]

The album's first single, the Rose Royce-backed and Dennis Edwards-led funk track "Let Your Hair Down", was its only Top 40 hit. The ballad "Heavenly", sung by Richard Street and Damon Harris, was caught in the center of a disc jockey boycott against Motown. A Motown executive did not thank the United States' DJs while accepting an award for the Temptations at the 1974 American Music Awards, and, as a result, the DJs refused to play "Heavenly". "You've Got My Soul on Fire", another Edwards-led funk track, also stalled out on the pop charts.

The Temptations remained dissatisfied with Whitfield's "slave-driver" like production mentality and his tendency to overshadow the Temptations' contributions to their own records by emphasising his production techniques and creating extended instrumental tracks with only a few verses of vocals. Group leader Otis Williams complained to Motown chief Berry Gordy, who replaced Whitfield with Jeffrey Bowen for their next LP, 1975's A Song for You. Whitfield left Motown soon afterward, and started his own label, Whitfield Records, which released several hits from Rose Royce.

Critical reception[edit]

Professional ratings
Review scores
AllMusic3.5/5 stars[1]
Christgau's Record GuideC–[2]

Reviewing in Christgau's Record Guide: Rock Albums of the Seventies (1981), Robert Christgau wrote: "Not only isn't this good Motown, it isn't good Motown psychedelic—except for some sharp strumming on the title track (a half-assed indictment of/tribute to America) it never takes off rhythmically or vocally."[2]

Track listing[edit]

All tracks written and produced by Norman Whitfield.

Side one[edit]

  1. "Let Your Hair Down" – 2:40 (lead singer: Dennis Edwards)
  2. "I Need You" – 3:05 (lead singer: Damon Harris)
  3. "Heavenly" – 3:57 (lead singers: Richard Street, Damon Harris)
  4. "You've Got My Soul on Fire" – 3:53 (lead singer: Dennis Edwards)
  5. "Ain't No Justice" – 6:08 (lead singer: Damon Harris)

Side two[edit]

  1. "1990" – 4:06 (lead singer: Dennis Edwards)
  2. "Zoom" – 13:42 (lead singers: Dennis Edwards, Richard Street, Melvin Franklin, Damon Harris, Otis Williams)



Chart (1973) Peak
Australian Albums (Kent Music Report)[3] 98
Finnish Albums (Suomen virallinen lista)[4] 24
German Albums (Offizielle Top 100)[5] 25
Japanese Albums (Oricon)[6] 46
Spanish Albums (AFE)[7] 13
US Billboard 200[8] 19


  1. ^ https://www.allmusic.com/album/r427746
  2. ^ a b Christgau, Robert (1981). "Consumer Guide '70s: T". Christgau's Record Guide: Rock Albums of the Seventies. Ticknor & Fields. ISBN 089919026X. Retrieved March 15, 2019 – via robertchristgau.com.
  3. ^ Kent, David (1993). Australian Chart Book 1970–1992. Australian Chart Book, St Ives, NSW. ISBN 0-646-11917-6.
  4. ^ Pennanen, Timo (2006). Sisältää hitin – levyt ja esittäjät Suomen musiikkilistoilla vuodesta 1972 (in Finnish) (1st ed.). Helsinki: Kustannusosakeyhtiö Otava. p. 263. ISBN 978-951-1-21053-5.
  5. ^ "Offiziellecharts.de – The Temptations – 1990" (in German). GfK Entertainment Charts. Retrieved April 14, 2017.
  6. ^ Oricon Album Chart Book: Complete Edition 1970–2005. Roppongi, Tokyo: Oricon Entertainment. 2006. ISBN 4-87131-077-9.
  7. ^ Salaverri, Fernando (September 2005). Sólo éxitos: año a año, 1959–2002 (1st ed.). Spain: Fundación Autor-SGAE. ISBN 84-8048-639-2.
  8. ^ "The Temptations US Chart History". Billboard. Retrieved April 14, 2017.