Temptations Former Lead Singer Bruce Williamson Dies At 49 From Coronavirus

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Written by Dana Sanchez
Bruce Williamson
A native of Compton, Bruce Williamson grew up singing gospel music. Joining The Temptations was a lifelong dream. Bruce Williamson, center, and Otis Williams, right, of The Temptations perform for President Bush at a celebration of African American History Month, Feb. 12, 2008, in the White House. (AP Photo/Ron Edmonds)

Bruce Williamson, the lead singer and frontman for The Temptations from 2006 until 2015, died on Sunday from covid-19. He was 49 years old.

“There’s no words in the world that can express how I feel right now I love you Daddy thank you for being awesome thank you for being loving thank you for being Who You Are I pray to God and we will meet again,” his son Bruce Jr. wrote in a Facebook tribute. “I love you Daddy R.I.H KING WILLIAMSON.”

A native of Compton, Los Angeles, Williamson grew up singing gospel music. He joined The Temptations in 2006 and stayed for nine years, featuring on the albums “Back to Front” and “Still Here”.

Joining The Temptations was a lifelong dream for Williamson, who said he would have liked to join sooner, but he was initially rejected.

Temptations member Ron Tyson described Williamson as “the greatest singer he has ever heard,” Williamson said in an interview with Las Vegas Black Image Magazine in 2013.

Tyson tried to recruit him for 10 years, but Temptations member Otis Williams was initially against it “because he thought I was too big and too young,” Williamson said. 

The Temptations started in Detroit in 1960 with Otis Williams, David Ruffin, Melvin Franklin, Paul Williams and Eddie Kendricks. Their hit songs were “My Girl” and “The Way You Do the Things You Do” (1964) and “Ain’t Too Proud To Beg” in 1966.

Williamson once that he did “more in six months of being a Temptation than many artists have done in a lifetime,” the Daily Mail reported.

Williamson moved to Las Vegas to pursue a career as a musical artist.

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After he left The Temptations, he continued to perform successfully as a solo act and in Las Vegas with the Lon Bronson band. He also led a local group called the Sons of Soul, SoulTracks reported.

In 2014, The New York Times reviewed a seven-night Broadway production featuring The Temptations, and described Williamson as “full-throated with gospel timing. He had multiple paths from croon to rasp, and he could sound simultaneously forceful and desperate.”

Williamson never lost the dream of wanting to be a Temptation, “but I didn’t want to be an imitation or one who impersonates my predecessors. I wanted to be myself,” he said during a 2016 interview with Chapter & Verse Network.

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