Ron Tyson (born February 8, 1948) is an American tenor/falsetto singer and songwriter. Tyson is the current tenor for long-lived singing group The Temptations, filling the role made famous by Eddie Kendricks in the 1960s.
Born February 8, 1948 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Ron was raised in Monroe, North Carolina. Ron was influenced at an early age by gospel music, particularly the work of Rev. Caleb Anderson. While singing with his grandfather's gospel group, Southern Gospel Six, he recorded his first record at the age of 7. Pop recording duo (founding members of the group JODECI) "K-Ci's and Jo Jo's" grandfather also sang lead with Southern Gospel Six. Ron's grandfather, Horace Presson had a radio show and he was also a gospel music promoter. Ron traveled around performing with his grandfather. This experience enabled him to develop an appreciation for gospel music and taught him a great deal about the music business in general.
Ron later returned to Philadelphia and attended Thomas Edison, Onley, and the Granoffsky School of Music where he studied opera and the guitar. The guitar lessons were short lived, but the techniques he learned in his opera classes are often used in his performances now, such as breathing techniques, scales, & being able to determine a perfect pitch.
Before joining the Temptations, Ron was lead singer of The Ethics, with Carl "Nugie" Enlow, Andrew "Bike" Collins, & Joe Freeman. The Ethics represented a combination of remarkable vocal blending and versatile natural talents. The group originated during 1967 in Philadelphia and was produced and managed by Thadeus Wales in conjunction with Salassi Productions, Inc. One of so many groups reaching for the "big time" they were signed to Vent, a small local Independent company. Despite the standard problems so many small labels ran into, the music was good enough to sell very well. With songs like "Searching", "Farewell," & "Tell Me", these songs carry on that melodic vein and features Ron's ethereal falsetto to great effect. After Vent's demise, they carried on changing the group's name to "Love Committee". The line up for Love Committee included Norman Frazier, Larry Richardson, Joe Freeman, & Ron Tyson. After the death of Larry Richardson, Michael Bell, who also sang with "Sly, Slick, and Wicked", became the newest member. They recorded for TSOP and scored disco hits in the 70's for Ariola International and Gold Mind, popular for the R&B hit "Law And Order".
The Philadelphia Sound
In addition to being a great singer/performer, Ron was also a hit making song writer and producer in Philadelphia. He wrote or co-wrote the majority of the songs for The Ethics & Love Committee. He worked with such artists as the O'Jays, First Choice,the Salsoul Orchestra, Gloria Gaynor, Loleatta Holloway, Double Exposure, The Trammps, and Bunny Sigler. He also worked with the Four Tops, Joe Simon, Curtis Mayfield, The Dells, Archie Bell and the Drells, Blue Magic and Harold Melvin and the Blue Notes. On Loleatta Holloway's LP, "Love Sensation", Ron co-wrote and co-produced "I'll be standing there" & on Curtis Mayfield's LP, "Heartbeat", Ron co-produced "Tell me, Tell me, How ya liked to be loved" & "Victory". Ron, along with Norman "The Machine" Harris, Ron Kersey, Alan Felder. Ronnie Baker and several others worked on a lot of projects for "The Harris Machine" (Norman Harris' production company). They were a very popular songwriting and production team who scored major hits with a variety of artists for several years. They co-wrote and produced The Dells' "Betcha Never been loved (like this before)", "Teaser", "Our Love", "Rich Man Poor Man (peace), "Waiting for you" & the title track "They said it couldn't be done (but we did it)". On the Ojay's LP "Survival", Ron co-wrote "What am I waiting for" and on The Trammps' LP "Disco Inferno", he co-wrote "Starvin'" and "Don't burn no bridges". Joe Simon-Love Vibrations/Happy Birthday Baby Ron also worked with the Legendary Joe Simon on his LP "Love Vibrations/Happy Birthday Baby". On this LP Ron co wrote & Co produced "I can't stand a liar", "Somebody for Everybody", "If you got the time(I got the place)", "It must be love" & "I.O.U.". Joe Simon was a great inspiration for Ron. Ron learned how to read music and special counts bars from Joe who was very influential in helping Ron to become a great songwriter. He taught Ron many different things about the art of songwriting. Bishop Joe Simon and Ron are still great friends today.
Ron also worked with Harris-Baker-Young, Philadelphia's disco rhythm section that consisted of guitarist Norman "The Machine" Harris, drummer Earl Young, and bass player, Ron Baker. During the course of his many collaborations in Philly, Ron proved himself to be a hard worker, very determined, and a talented, sought after vocalist, writer, and producer.
Ron Tyson's first appearance with the Temptations was on the "Motown 25" television special in 1983. His entry into the group was delayed for a couple of days because of a bad snowstorm, so easing him into the group slowly never worked out. The call asking the Temptations to perform on Motown 25 came in and Ron had to get to work. He had been working with a choreographer to learn the routines but after receiving the call to perform, he had to go with what he knew. After practicing a few moves (including the famous "Temptations Walk") while waiting in the wings backstage, a very nervous but excited Tyson went on stage and performed. He hit all the right notes and made all the right moves and has been an integral part of the Motown Legendary Group for over 30 years. Before that, he wrote the majority of songs on The Temptations' "HEAR to Tempt You" LP 1977, including the two singles, "In A Lifetime" and "Think For Yourself." Ron co-wrote songs and sang background on both Norman Harris produced Eddie Kendricks' albums, "He's A Friend" and "Goin' Up In Smoke." On "Goin' Up In Smoke" Phil Hurt, Bunny Sigler, & Carl Helm also sang background with Ron. Ron also sang background vocals on several of the sessions in Philly. Ron has quite a vocal range. Although he is known for singing in his sweet falsetto voice, he is very capable of singing bass as well.
Becoming the 13th member of this legendary Motown group, Ron is the fourth replacement for Eddie Kendricks after he left the group in 1971. Before Tyson, there was Rickey Owens, Damon Harris, and Glenn Leonard.
He has a tenure with the group that is third only to tenor Otis Williams, who has been in the group since its inception in 1960; and bass singer Melvin Franklin, who was in the group from 1960 until his death in 1995.
Beyond the Temptations
In 2004, Ron co-wrote and recorded his own solo CD entitled, "CHRISTMAS...MY FAVORITE HOLIDAY". The CD includes both traditional and original holiday songs. There are also several collaborations and duets with vocalists, friends, and associates including Al McKenzie, Penny Wells, Ashley Davis, Oji Pierce, & Eugene "Lamb Chops" Curry. .
In 2012, Ron released his 2nd solo CD project entitled “Recipe 4 Love”. This recording showcases both gifts, as it includes some future classics along with a guest artist duet with Freda Payne. Ron collaborates with the CD's producer, award-winner Preston Glass, along with having 2 new songs contributed by writer Vinnie Barrett.