Get Ready (The Temptations song)

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"Get Ready"
Side A of the US single
Single by The Temptations
from the album Gettin' Ready
B-side"Fading Away"
ReleasedFebruary 7, 1966
RecordedHitsville USA (Studio A); December 5, December 9, and December 29, 1965
G 7049
Songwriter(s)Smokey Robinson
Producer(s)Smokey Robinson
The Temptations singles chronology
"My Baby" / "Don't Look Back"
"Get Ready"
"Ain't Too Proud to Beg"

"Get Ready" is a Motown song written by Smokey Robinson, which resulted in two hit records for the label: a U.S. No. 29 version by The Temptations in 1966, and a U.S. No. 4 version by Rare Earth in 1970. It is significant for being the last song Robinson wrote and produced for the Temptations, due to a deal Berry Gordy made with Norman Whitfield, that if "Get Ready" did not meet with the expected degree of success, then Whitfield's song, "Ain't Too Proud to Beg", would get the next release, which resulted in Whitfield more or less replacing Robinson as the group's producer.

The Temptations version[edit]

The original Temptations version of "Get Ready", produced by Smokey Robinson, was designed as an answer to the latest dance craze, "The Duck". The Temptations' falsetto Eddie Kendricks sings lead on the song, which Robinson produced as an up-tempo dance number with a prominent rhythm provided by Motown drummer Benny Benjamin. The song made it to No. 1 on the U.S. R&B singles chart, while peaking at No. 29 on the pop charts.[1]

The B-side to "Get Ready" was the ballad "Fading Away", which was also led by Kendricks. Written by Miracles members Smokey Robinson, Pete Moore, and Bobby Rogers, and produced by Robinson, "Fading Away" was later included on the Temptations 1966 album Gettin' Ready along with the hit side.

The group's previous singles since "My Girl" had all landed in the U.S. Pop charts (and R&B charts) Top 20. However, although it hit No. 1 on the R&B charts (their first since "My Girl"), "Get Ready" was only a Top 30 hit (missing the Top 20 by nine positions), while "Fading Away" missed all U.S. national charts. As was promised, the next single released would have Norman Whitfield's song on it. When Whitfield's "Ain't Too Proud to Beg" (also a No. 1 R&B hit) made it to thirteen on the pop charts, Motown chief Berry Gordy assigned him to be the Temptations' new main producer. Ironically, the song did eventually become a Top 10 pop hit, but not by the Temptations, but by the Motown rock band Rare Earth. (The Temptations' version eventually reached No. 10 in the UK in 1969).

Until the group recorded "Please Return Your Love to Me" in 1968, this was their last song to feature lead vocals solely by Kendricks, as David Ruffin (who was with the group at the time), and later, Dennis Edwards, would be placed in that role in later songs.

The Temptations re-recorded the song as part of a series of promos for American television network CBS during the 1990-91 TV season. At the time, the network had been using the "Get Ready for CBS" tagline since 1988, and the song's lyrics were modified to incorporate the tagline.


Chart (1966-1967) Peak
Canada RPM Top Singles[2] 32
UK Singles Chart 10
US Billboard Hot 100[3] 29
US Billboard Hot Rhythm & Blues Singles 1
US Cash Box Top 100 29


Region Certification Certified units/sales
United Kingdom (BPI)[4] Silver 200,000

Sales+streaming figures based on certification alone.

Rare Earth version[edit]

"Get Ready"
Single by Rare Earth
from the album Get Ready
B-side"Magic Key"
ReleasedFebruary 18, 1970
RecordedHitsville USA (Studio A); 1969
Length21:32 (album version)
2:46 (single version)
LabelRare Earth
R 5012
Songwriter(s)Smokey Robinson
Producer(s)Rare Earth
Rare Earth singles chronology
"Generation, Light Up the Sky"
"Get Ready"
"(I Know) I'm Losing You"

The rock band Rare Earth regularly played "Get Ready" in concert, where it was a popular staple of their live performances, and recorded a version for their 1968 Verve release, Dreams/Answers.[5] After signing with Motown, executive Barney Ales asked the band to re-record the song for their first release on Motown's then-unnamed rock subsidiary, due to the audience response to the band's cover.[5] After recording a version which was scrapped, the band themselves set up their own recording equipment and recorded a 21-minute version, which later had audience applause dubbed in.[5] The new recording of "Get Ready" was edited down to 2:46 for a single, which was given a Tamla Motown release in the UK, the only release by the band to appear on Motown itself, and unlike the Temptations' version, Rare Earth's recording was a success on the pop chart.[5] The single peaked at #4 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart in 1970.[6] The Rare Earth version of the song also peaked at number twenty on the R&B chart.[7]

Rare Earth's version of "Get Ready" was routinely used by hip hop artist DJ Kool Herc in turntablism performances.[8] Pioneering hip hop journalist Steven Hager wrote that Rare Earth's recording "was a favorite in the Bronx because it lasted over twenty-one minutes, which was long enough for the serious dancers to get into the beat. They loved to wait for the song's two-minute drum solo to show their most spectacular moves."[9]



Region Certification Certified units/sales
United States (RIAA)[22] Gold 500,000^

^ Shipments figures based on certification alone.

Other cover versions[edit]

  • The song was Ella Fitzgerald's last US chart record (1969), reaching the Billboard Bubbling Under the Hot 100 survey (#126)[23] and the Record World "Non-Rock Top 40". She performed it on The Carol Burnett Show in November 1969.
  • Australian singer Carol Hitchcock released a version which was produced by Stock, Aitken and Waterman in 1987 that became a moderate hit in her homeland, peaking at No. 18,[24][25] but only achieved minor UK success, peaking at No. 56.[26]
  • The song was recorded by its original author Smokey Robinson, for his 1979 album Where There's Smoke…. This 6-minute disco version was also released as a single and made #82 on the R&B Charts.


  1. ^ Whitburn, Joel (2004). Top R&B/Hip-Hop Singles: 1942-2004. Record Research. p. 571.
  2. ^ "Item Display - RPM - Library and Archives Canada". 1966-04-04. Retrieved 2018-09-19.
  3. ^ Joel Whitburn's Top Pop Singles 1955-1990 - ISBN 0-89820-089-X
  4. ^ "British single certifications – Temptations – Get Ready". British Phonographic Industry. Retrieved February 26, 2021.
  5. ^ a b c d Betts, Graham (June 2, 2014). Motown Encyclopedia. AC Publishing. p. 187. ISBN 9781311441546.
  6. ^ "Rare Earth - Chart history". Retrieved November 21, 2016.
  7. ^ Whitburn, Joel (2004). Top R&B/Hip-Hop Singles: 1942-2004. Record Research. p. 482.
  8. ^ Weingarten, Christopher R. Public Enemy's It Takes a Nation of Millions to Hold Us Back. Bloomsbury Academic. p. 20. ISBN 9780826429131.
  9. ^ Chang, Jeff (April 2007). Can't Stop Won't Stop: A History of the Hip-Hop Generation. St. Martin's Press. p. 76. ISBN 9781429902694.
  10. ^ "Rare Earth – Get Ready" (in Dutch). Ultratop 50.
  11. ^ "Rare Earth – Get Ready" (in French). Ultratop 50.
  12. ^ "Top RPM Singles: Issue 3808." RPM. Library and Archives Canada.
  13. ^ " – Rare Earth – Get Ready" (in German). GfK Entertainment charts. To see peak chart position, click "TITEL VON Rare Earth"
  14. ^ "Nederlandse Top 40 – week 19, 1970" (in Dutch). Dutch Top 40.
  15. ^ "Rare Earth – Get Ready" (in Dutch). Single Top 100.
  16. ^ "Rare Earth Chart History (Hot 100)". Billboard.
  17. ^ "Rare Earth Chart History (Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs)". Billboard.
  18. ^ "Cash Box Top 100 Singles (June 27, 1970)". Archived from the original on June 8, 2015. Retrieved November 29, 2016.
  19. ^ "Item Display - RPM - Library and Archives Canada". 17 July 2013.
  20. ^ Top 100 Hits of 1970/Top 100 Songs of 1970.
  21. ^ "The Cash Box Year-End Charts: 1970". Archived from the original on 2019-07-22. Retrieved 2016-11-29.
  22. ^ "American single certifications – Rare Earth – Get Ready". Recording Industry Association of America. Retrieved February 26, 2021.
  23. ^ Joel Whitburn's Bubbling Under the Billboard Hot 100 1959-2004
  24. ^ Kent, David (1993). Australian Chart Book 1970–1992 (Illustrated ed.). St. Ives, N.S.W.: Australian Chart Book. p. 139. ISBN 0-646-11917-6. N.B. The Kent Report chart was licensed by ARIA between mid-1983 and June 19, 1988.
  25. ^ "Australian Top 50 ARIA Singles Chart – Week Ending 9th August, 1987". (original document published by ARIA). Retrieved 2017-07-18.
  26. ^ "Official Charts > Carol Hitchcock". The Official UK Charts Company. Retrieved 2017-07-18.