All Directions

All Directions is a 1972 album by The Temptations for the Gordy (Motown) label, produced by Norman Whitfield. It reached number two on the Billboard 200, making it the band's most successful non-collaborative album on the chart, and became their twelfth album to reach number one on the Top R&B Albums chart.

All Directions
Studio album by
ReleasedJuly 27, 1972
StudioHitsville USA, Detroit
GenreSoul, funk, psychedelic soul
GS 962
ProducerNorman Whitfield
The Temptations chronology
Solid Rock
All Directions
Singles from All Directions
  1. "Papa Was a Rollin' Stone"
    Released: September 28, 1972
Professional ratings
Review scores
Christgau's Record GuideB+[2]
The Rolling Stone Album Guide[3]

Overview and backgroundEdit

The LP features the #1 hit "Papa Was a Rollin' Stone", a twelve-minute cover of a Whitfield-produced Undisputed Truth single. "Papa" won three Grammy Awards in 1973: Best R&B Performance by a Group for the Temptations, Best R&B Instrumental Performance for Whitfield and arranger/conductor Paul Riser's instrumental version of "Papa" on the single's b-side, and Best R&B Song for Whitfield and lyricist Barrett Strong. All Directions was Strong's final LP as the Temptations' lyricist; Strong in fact had no direct involvement in the album as both of his compositions for it – "Papa was a Rollin' Stone" and "Funky Music Sho' 'Nuff Turns Me On", were both covers (originally by The Undisputed Truth and Edwin Starr, respectively). Strong left Motown to restart his career as a recording artist.

According to group leader Otis Williams, the Temptations fought "tooth and nail" not to record "Papa Was a Rollin' Stone" or "Run Charlie Run", a socially conscious Black power track (dealing primarily with the phenomenon of white flight) that called for them to repeatedly call out, in an affected Caucasian accent, "the niggers are comin'!" According to legend, lead singer Dennis Edwards didn't want to sing "Papa's" opening lines, because his own father had died on the third of September, but in actuality, Edwards' father had died on the third of October. In addition, his father was a minister, "a good, steady, religious man", not a "rolling stone".[4]

The group was certain that "Papa" and All Directions would flop, and that they would be back to singing ballads like "My Girl" and "Ain't Too Proud to Beg" again. Although the first single, "Mother Nature", charted at number 92 on the Billboard Pop Singles Chart, "Papa" was a number one hit and is today one of the Temptations' signature songs.

Also included on All Directions are the Edwin Starr cover "Funky Music Sho' 'Nuff Turns Me On" (the b-side to "Mother Nature", a Top 30 R&B hit), the Marvin Gaye & Tammi Terrell cover "Love Woke Me Up This Morning", and "I Ain't Got Nothin'", a rare lead showcase for Otis Williams.


The album was included in the book 1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die.[5]

Track listingEdit

Side one
No.TitleWriter(s)Lead vocalsLength
1."Funky Music Sho Nuff Turns Me On"Barrett Strong, Norman WhitfieldDennis Edwards, Richard Street, Damon Harris, Otis Williams and Melvin Franklin3:05
2."Run Charlie Run"C. Maurice King, Jan FormanEdwards, Street, Harris, Williams, Franklin3:01
3."Papa Was a Rollin' Stone"Strong, WhitfieldEdwards, Street, Harris, Franklin11:44
Side two
No.TitleWriter(s)Lead vocalsLength
4."Love Woke Me Up This Morning"Nickolas Ashford, Valerie SimpsonHarris2:22
5."I Ain't Got Nothin'"C. Maurice King, Evans KingWilliams, Franklin3:33
6."The First Time Ever (I Saw Your Face)"Ewan MacCollStreet4:11
7."Mother Nature"Nick Zesses, Dino FekarisEdwards3:08
8."Do Your Thing"Isaac HayesStreet, Harris, Franklin3:30



Weekly chartsEdit

Chart (1972) Peak
Canadian Albums (RPM)[6] 26
French Albums (SNEP)[7] 8
German Albums (Offizielle Top 100)[8] 20
Spanish Albums (AFE)[9] 9
UK Albums (OCC)[10] 19
US Billboard 200[11] 2
US R&B Albums[12] 1

Year-end chartsEdit

Chart (1973) Peak
US R&B Albums[13] 19


"Mother Nature"
"Funky Music Sho' Nuff Turns Me On"
  • B-side of "Mother Nature"
  • US R&B Singles #27
"Papa Was a Rollin' Stone [Vocal]"


  1. ^
  2. ^ 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
  3. ^ Brackett, Nathan; Hoard, Christian David (2004). The New Rolling Stone Album Guide. ISBN 9780743201698.
  4. ^ "Temptations lead singer recalls Motown's heyday". 2012-09-16. Retrieved 2015-06-24.
  5. ^ Robert Dimery; Michael Lydon (7 February 2006). 1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die: Revised and Updated Edition. Universe. ISBN 0-7893-1371-5.
  6. ^ "RPM: The Temptations (albums)". RPM Magazine. Archived from the original on 2017-04-15. Retrieved April 14, 2017.
  7. ^ "Tous les Albums de l'Artiste choisi". InfoDisc. Retrieved April 13, 2017.
  8. ^ " – The Temptations – All Directions" (in German). GfK Entertainment Charts. Retrieved April 14, 2017.
  9. ^ Salaverri, Fernando (September 2005). Sólo éxitos: año a año, 1959–2002 (1st ed.). Spain: Fundación Autor-SGAE. ISBN 84-8048-639-2.
  10. ^ "The Temptations Chart History". Official Charts Company. Retrieved April 14, 2017.
  11. ^ "The Temptations US Chart History". Billboard. Retrieved April 14, 2017.
  12. ^ "The Temptations". Billboard. Retrieved 2021-09-10.
  13. ^ "Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums - Year-End". Billboard. Retrieved 2021-09-10.

See alsoEdit