190619 the temptations
From left: Ephraim Sykes, Jawan M. Jackson, Jeremy Pope, Derrick Baskin and James Harkness Image Credit: AP

The Temptations, whose string of hits in the 1960s and 1970s are being celebrated in a Tony-nominated show on Broadway, got a star on the Apollo Theatre’s Walk of Fame in Harlem on Friday.

“It’s like breaking all records of all the things that we’ve done,” said Otis Williams, the only surviving member of the five-man group behind such classics as ‘Just My Imagination’ and ‘Papa Was a Rollin’ Stone.’ “The Apollo honouring The Temptations — phew! Unheard of. But I’m loving it, because this is our home,” Williams said.

The Temptations performed at the Apollo as part of the Motortown Revue in the early 1960s, along with other Motown artists like The Supremes, Stevie Wonder and the Four Tops.

More than 50 years on, the band’s story and music is enjoying a revival with the Broadway musical ‘Ain’t Too Proud - The Life and Times of the Temptations,’ which got 12 Tony award nominations, including best musical.

The ceremony took place ahead of the Tony awards ceremony on Sunday, where the cast of the show will perform.

Williams said watching the musical was an emotional experience.

“Every time I’ve seen it, it’s been a tear-jerker,” he said.

“We were at the right place at the right time... And we kept polishing up our act,” he said.

Williams, 77, said although it was hard to choose a favourite song, he would have to go with ‘My Girl’ in 1964, which gave the band its first US number one chart hit.

“Once they hear that ‘boom, boom, boom, boom,’ people start standing up like trees growing out of the ground. They love that song,” he said.