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491-Eddie Kendricks-Keep On Truckin’

1973-Number 18 single.

Best Bit-At 0-10. ‘Keep On Truckin” is a phrase of encouragement, meaning to continue to stay focused regardless of circumstances or setbacks.

Eddie James Kendrick was born on December 17th, 1939, in Union Springs, Alabama, United States, he died of lung cancer on October 5th, 1992 at the age of 52. Kendrick was one of the founding members of what would become Tamla Motown’s most successful male group, the Temptations (see also best songs 1031-1001-777 and 569.) He remained with the group from their formation in 1955, until leaving in bitter circumstances in 1971. Kendrick was noted for his distinctive falsetto singing style, and can be heard singing lead on many of the Temptations hits including ‘Get Ready’, and ‘Just My Imagination (Running Away With Me.’)

Eddie Kendrick’s solo career got off to a slow start, with all five singles released from his first two solo Albums failing to break into the Billboard top 40, but things changed with the release of his third, and self titled studio Album in 1973, when ‘Keep On Truckin” released as the Albums second single made it all the way to Number 1 on Billboard. The song signified a change in style, moving towards a more dance oriented sound, and is considered to be one of ‘Disco’s’ first breakthrough hits.

‘Keep On Truckin” was co-written by Leonard Caston Jr. Anita Poree (1939-2018) and Frank Wilson (1940-2012) who also produced the song. Caston Jr. has written for many artists on the ‘Chess,’ and ‘Motown’ labels, including the 1971 top 20 hit for The Supremes,’Nathan Jones,’ he can also be heard playing the piano on the Fontella Bass hit ‘Rescue Me,’ from 1965. Frank Wilson who also worked with Kendrick on all of his first six solo Albums will always be best remembered for his ‘Northern Soul’ classic ‘Do I Love You (Indeed I Do’) (see also best songs 97.) He went to work for Motown in 1965, employed as a songwriter and producer for many of the labels top acts including The Supremes,(see also best songs 411) and The Four Tops. Wilson retired from music in 1976 to become a born again Christian Minister.

Eddie Kendricks released 12 solo studio Albums between 1971-1981. There were also two duet Albums with his fellow ex ‘Temptations’ band mate David Ruffin (1941-1991) and a live Album recorded with Ruffin, and Daryl Hall & John Oates in 1985,’Live at the Apollo.’In ‘Keep On Truckin’ the narrator is telling us of his love, and desire for another, and he will do whatever it takes to make that person his. The lyric ‘In old Temptation’s rain I’m duckin,’ is a dig at his former band mates, who had previously had a dig at him in their song ‘Superstar (Remember How You Got Where You Are’.)

‘I’m the red ball express of lovin,’ Diesel powered straight to you, I’m truckin.’ In old Temptation’s rain, I’m duckin,’ for your love through sleet and snow, I’m truckin.”