The recorded version of "My Girl" was the first single of the ‘Temptations’ to feature David Ruffin on lead vocals. Previously, Eddie Kendricks and Paul Williams had performed most of the group's lead vocals, and Ruffin had joined the group as a replacement for former ‘Temptation’, Elbridge Bryant. While on tour as part of a review, a collective tour for most of the Motown roster, Smokey Robinson caught the ‘Temptations' part of the show. The group had included a medley of soul standards in the show, one of which, ‘Under the Boardwalk’ by ‘The Drifters’, was a solo spot for Ruffin. Robinson was so impressed that he decided to produce a single, with Ruffin singing lead. Robinson saw Ruffin as a ‘sleeping giant’ in the group with a unique voice that was ‘mellow’ yet ‘gruff’. Robinson thought that if he could write just the perfect song for Ruffin's voice, then he could have a smash hit. The song was to be something that Ruffin could ‘belt out’ yet something that was also ‘melodic and sweet’.
After some persuasion from Ruffin's bandmates, Robinson had the Temptation’s record ‘My Girl’ instead of the ‘Miracles’ (who were originally intended to record the song) and recruited Ruffin to sing the lead vocals. According to Robinson, he allowed the group to create their own background vocals ‘because they were so great at background vocals’.
‘My Girl’ reached number two in the ‘U.K. Singles Chart’. ‘My Girl’ climbed to the top of the U.S. pop charts after its Christmas 1964 release, making it the Temptations' first number-one hit. The single also gave the Gordy label its first number one on the ’Billboard Hot 100’. The ‘Temptations’ were the first Motown act to earn a Grammy. In 2004 and ‘My Girl’ was ranked Number 88 on Rolling Stone’s list of ‘The 500 Greatest Songs of All Time’.
When my life is reviewed, it will show three phases of my development from birth to grave. First, there was the brash, fearless, young Oliva-type boy whose light-fingered ways and charming rascal mannerisms was always getting him into trouble and scrapes with the law (between 5-13 years).
Next came the more enlightened boy and young man who had developed a conscience and established a more cerebral and responsible way of life (I would read three and four books from cover to cover weekly). During this phase of life, I spent around a decade on self-improvement of my overall behaviour and personal life following a horrific accident at the age of nearly 12 years that almost killed me and left me unable to walk for three years. My accident and the many years of dedicated exercises thereafter (mental and physical) resulted in my gradual emergence of being too old for my years, too confident, too independent and too knowledgeable for my own boots. It was during this period I vowed to reform my life and ways. I became the youngest Youth Leader in Great Britain at the age of 18 years and I also was the youngest Trade Union shop Steward in Great Britain at the age of 18 years.
At the age of 19 years, I was offered graduated entrance via trade union scholarship to ‘Ruskin College’ (the trade union fast-track for degree educated shop stewards) ‘Ruskin College’, originally known as ‘Ruskin Hall’ is an independent educational institution in Oxford, England. It is named after the essayist and social critic John Ruskin (1819–1900) and specialises in providing educational opportunities for adults with high-enough intellect but with few or no qualifications. The college is an affiliate of the University of Oxford; this relationship allows students special privileges such as attending lectures and the use of most facilities.
The offer to become a trade-union graduate came at a time in my shop stewardship when the 200 men and women I represented at 'Harrison Gardener’s Dye Works' were pressing for increased wages. At the time, the workforce of this Victorian establishment had never been on strike since it had first opened over sixty years earlier. The upshot was that at that time in my life, my need to advance my education and trade union/political career was subsumed by my strong socialistic principles of advancing the worker's rights.I subsequently brought the workforce of 200 plus out on its very first strike (which attracted national press coverage) and because of the work commitment involved in the six-month wage negotiation of 6p an hour increase, I sacrificed a scholarship for the price of 6p an hour wage rise.
Prior to my accident, I had always been a clever boy at school and despite passing my Gramma School 11 plus with flying colours, I declined to go. At the age of 11 years, I was being taught in a class of 13-15-year-old pupils.
During my period of hospitalisation between the ages of 12-13 years, a teacher from ‘St. Patricks Roman Catholic School’ arranged for me to be tested by Mensa and my score came back as 142. I'd long been aware that I didn’t think the same way as my peers and was interested in subjects far in advance of my age (politics, history, religion, eastern practices of transcendental meditation and pain-control methods of the mind). Another strong interest of mine that was to remain strong was of the more sexual, romantic and amorous kind; numerous relationships with older women than me.
Also, I became interested in all manner of social care improvement; things that were most uncommon in an 18-year-old. For three years, I visited and befriended many of the dying residents in a ‘Cheshire Home’ establishment in Cleckheaton and I campaigned for many causes of social injustice. One of my attributes at the time was being a good singer, and I even toyed with the notion of becoming famous in this direction for a number of years. Around the age of 15 years, all my thieving stopped and was supplanted with romantic adventures and too many young man/older women relationships.
Phase three of my life occurred during my emigration period of two years in Canada and my first marriage (21-26 years of age). These were my ‘sensible years’ when I decided to devote the remainder of my life to doing good work for the Lord (whom I had promised when my life was miraculously spared at the age of 11 years). So, after advancing from Work’s Foreman to Mill Manager (23-26 years of age) following my return from Canada, I engaged in ordinary millwork for five years while I obtained ‘O’ and ‘A’ levels at night school as a man soon to be married. During these reforming years, I'd effectively turned my life around from ‘game poacher to gamekeeper’ and 'constant sinner to budding saint', as I prepared to enter a course in Newcastle-upon -Tyne to become a Probation Officer.
Over the next twenty-five years as a Probation Officer, I was to become one of the most prominent Relaxation Trainers in the country, a marital and bereavement counseller, a skilled group worker, a stress management consultant and the founder of ‘Anger Management’; a process/method that was to mushroom across the English speaking world after my codification of the process after 1972 (laying down specific ways to simplify the process for Workers to follow, so that effective progressional change in behaviour becomes easier to achieve,and that the positive changes achieved becomes reinforced and maintained long term). I had long believed that (like my own lifestyle and behaviour) there is little point changing anyone or anything for the better unless they/it stays changed.
During this period, I operated 'Relaxation Training Courses' in Educational Establishments, Schools, Probation Offices, Hostels, Churches, Hospitals, Community Halls, Psychiatric Units and on courses for training Psychologists and Psychiatrists. I was also the person who introduced 'Relaxation Training Courses' into male and female Prisons in Great Britain, and during the 1980s, I was granted permission to teach 'Relaxation Training Courses' to Lifers in Newhall Women’s Prison in the Wakefield area.
Despite my philandering, wandering and wayward ways as a teenager and young man in my early twenties, whenever I did commit to a woman in later life after my return from a couple of years in Canada, my commitment was factually and emotionally honest, and total
Despite all of the good sides of my personality, my lifelong character flaw has been my unfailing attraction for a beautiful woman of independent mannerisms and mind and cultural lifestyle. The main difference between the first twenty-five years of my life and the last twenty-five years has been the ages of the women I have better related to. Whereas in my earlier years, I was always attracted to the older woman, in my later years of life, the younger woman has held more attraction for me.
I know that it is no coincidence that my wife Sheila is 14 years my junior and can only be described as beautiful inside and out, independent, cultural, good through and through,l and fun to be with. From the first moment we met, I knew she was destined to become ‘My Girl’ before progressing to ‘My Lover’, then ‘My Wife’, ‘My Soulmate’, and ‘My main reason why I am still living’. She is each and all of these things to me; she is Sheila, 'My Girl’.
Love and peace Bill xxx