“Keep on Truckin'” is a 1973 hit song recorded by Eddie Kendricks for Motown Records’ Tamla label. The song was Kendricks’ first major hit as a solo artist, coming two years after his departure from The Temptations. “Keep On Truckin'” reached number one on both the Billboard Hot 100 and R&B Singles Chart upon its release, and was Kendricks’ only number-one hit. It also reached #18 on the UK Charts.
By 1973, Eddie Kendricks was two years deep into a solo career following his bitter split from The Temptations in 1971. While his former bandmates went on to record hits such as “Superstar (Remember How You Got Where You Are)” (which was a reported jab at Kendricks and fellow ex-Temptation David Ruffin), and their seven-minute opus, “Papa Was a Rollin’ Stone”, Kendricks had begun to reach a cult R&B fan base following his last two albums.
Working closely with Frank Wilson, who was the main producer in most of Kendricks’ solo efforts, the duo worked on a song that would aim at the dance floor rather than the serene ballads that Kendricks was used to recording. His earlier single, “Girl You Need a Change of Mind”, was a cult favorite for club fans. With co-writers Anita Poree and Leonard Caston, Jr., Wilson created a song rivaling that of the Temptations’ Norman Whitfield-produced cinematic soul that had become commonplace among the group’s recordings, but instead of instigating drama, the song’s grooves were clearly aimed at the dance floor.
Upon its release in the summer of 1973, the song would finally bring Kendricks out of the shadow of his former band as the song’s catchy beats and melody became a crossover hit. By late fall, the song had reached number one on the US pop and R&B singles chart, matching the performance of the biggest singles released by his former group. When “…Truckin'” became a hit, the Temptations’ hit luster was waning, with “Hey Girl (I Like Your Style)” barely reaching the Top 40, and the follow-up funk song, “Let Your Hair Down”, becoming only a modest hit (although an R&B #1). Much like their “Superstar”, which would notably be covered by David Ruffin, Kendricks included a jab at his former bandmates with the lyric:
In old Temptations’ rain, I’m duckin’
For your love through sleet or snow, I’m truckin’
Eddie Kendricks is the third album by former Temptations vocalist Eddie Kendricks. Released in the Spring of 1973 on the Tamla imprint of Motown Records. This was the breakthrough solo album Eddie Kendricks was looking for. Charting on the pop chart at number eighteen and number five on the R&B chart. This was his only […]
Musicians in the tags above are confirmed. For more information click on the album.
Leonard Caston Jr