The Temptations, an American vocal group, rose to prominence in the 60s with their soul music and still holds a special place in fans’ hearts today. One of the group’s primary members, known as Blue, significantly contributed to their signature sound. This article delves into the life of David Melvin English, known as Melvin Franklin or Blue, and uncovers how did Blue from the Temptations die.
Melvin Franklin: The Man Behind ‘Blue’
Blue’s actual name was David Melvin English, but he opted to use Melvin Franklin as his stage name. He was the bass singer of the group and occasionally took the lead in his career. His distinctive bass voice was a significant factor that set The Temptations apart from other groups.
Blue featured in songs like ‘I Truly, Truly Believe’, and ‘Silent Night’. As his friends and group members started calling him Blue due to his love for the color, the nickname stuck and became popular among fans.
Early Life and Career Beginnings
Born on October 12, 1942, in Montgomery, Alabama, Blue resided with his grandmother until the age of 10, after which he moved to Detroit to live with his mother and stepfather. His interest in music began during his childhood and pushed him to join the Voice Masters, marking the start of his music career.
The Formation of The Temptations
The Temptations, initially known as The Elgins, were formed in 1961 as a result of two vocal groups merging – the Distants and the Primes. The vocal group Distants was originally from Detroit, while the Primes started in Alabama and later moved to Detroit.
The original members of The Temptations were Otis Williams, Paul Williams, Melvin Franklin, Eddie Kendrick, and David Ruffin, also known as the ‘Classic Five’. The choreography was initially coordinated by Paul Williams but was later taken over by Cholly Atkins. The ‘Temptations Walk’ became a popular move among their fans.
In the movie about the band, D B Woodside portrayed Blue, with other cast members including Christian Payton, Just Leon, Terron Brooks, Charles Malik Whitfield, Alan Rosenberg, and Smokey Robinson.
As a founding member of the band, Melvin began singing with Otis Williams, before they formed the famous singing group.
The Rise of The Temptations and Their First Hit
The Temptations’ first hit came in 1965 with their song ‘My Girl’, which not only became their biggest hit but also marked their first song that reached #1 in pop. The song sold a million copies and still holds a record as one of the best songs ever recorded.
Despite the frequent changes in the group members, Otis Williams and Marvin Franklin remained the original members until Blue’s death. Up to this point, as many as 26 members have contributed to The Temptations.
Among the many people who have contributed lead vocals, we have to mention Eddie Kendrick, Paul Williams, David Ruffin. David’s unique song stylings and presence are the reason many fans consider him the best lead singer of the legendary singing group. Others love Eddie more, and his high-pitched voice.
For most of their career, the Temptations were part of Motown Records. When it comes to The Temptations, we have to mention Berry Gordy, the legendary record producer also discovered Smokey Robinson, Diana Ross, Stevie Wonder, Michael Jackson, Marvin Gaye, and many more.
Blue’s Personal Life
Blue was married to Kimberly English till his death in 1995. The couple had five children – David English Jr., Felicia English, Davette English, LaRissa English, and Niquos English.
The Unfortunate Shooting Incident
In 1978, Blue tried to prevent a man from stealing his car in Los Angeles, during which he was shot in his leg and hand. He was then admitted to a hospital where he recovered from his injuries.
Health Complications and Demise of Blue
David Melvin English was diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis and was prescribed cortisone. Unfortunately, the drug weakened his immune system, leading to diabetes. In 1995, he suffered numerous seizures causing irreversible neurological damage, which resulted in him falling into a coma.
He was admitted to Cedars Sinai Medical Center, where he died a week later due to heart failure. His health complications, including the diabetes and weakened immune system, contributed to his untimely death.
Recognition and Legacy
The Temptations won numerous honors and awards over time, including three Grammys. The band members were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum in 1989.
In 2020, Rolling Stone acclaimed the group as the best black vocal group in modern times. Their album Anthology was thrice featured in the list of ‘500 Greatest Albums of All Time’ by Rolling Stone. Billboard magazine ranked them at the top of their list of the Greatest R&B/Hip-Hop Artists of All Time and also featured them in 125 Greatest of All Time Artists in 2019.
The Temptations in 2022
As of 2022, Otis Williams is the only original member of the group still alive. The other original members sadly passed away – Paul Williams committed suicide in 1973, David Ruffin died due to a cocaine overdose in 1991, and Eddie Kendricks succumbed to lung cancer in 1992.
The members of the group The Temptations continued their tour in the U.S. in 2022, marking the 60th anniversary of the band.
The life and death of Melvin Franklin, or Blue, from The Temptations, is a tale of a man who overcame obstacles to achieve significant success in the music industry. His unique bass voice greatly contributed to the distinctive sound of The Temptations, etching his name in the annals of music history. Despite his untimely demise, Blue’s legacy continues to influence the music world today.