Motown's forays into more of a rock'n'roll sound weren't always successful. But The Temptations were well suited for it. For my money, "I Can't Get to Next To You" released in 1969 was not only the best Motown rock'n'roll moment, with its wah wah guitar and psychedelic sound, but also simply one of the all time great Motown songs. And of course this is after one of Motown's greatest singers David Ruffin had left the Tempts, though they still had Eddie Kendricks, Dennis Edwards and the rest of the crew.
The first 25 seconds here show the real genius of Motown. "Hey everybody, hold it, hold it, listen." Cue the beautiful little Earl Van Dyke piano roll, then the music comes with a quick triple shot - bam bam bam! Then be still you loud horns for a little more gorgeous piano then a new bam - the vocals "I [pause] can turn the greyest sky blue...."
The song has barely begun yet it already has about 4 pop hooks under its belt! Then they really get it going - you are a goner by the time they get to the fantastic chorus.
I've heard this song thousands of times, and it still kills me, makes me really happy.
Had a bad week? This'll cure what what ails you brothers and sisters.
A song so good Al Green covered it. No surprise, his version is wonderful, slowed way down with the Rev's signature all over it. Though of course we knew Al Green could make a ship sail on dry land.