Ron Tyson has performed as The Temptations' first tenor for over thirty years. He was born on February 8, 1948 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and raised in Monroe, North Carolina.
As a young child, gospel music influenced and inspired Tyson. Tyson’s grandfather, Horace Presson (pictured below) hosted a radio show and acted as a gospel music promoter. While singing with his grandfather's gospel group, Southern Gospel Six, seven-year-old Tyson recorded his first record with the group. Tyson traveled and performed with his grandfather. This experience enabled Tyson to develop an appreciation for gospel music and taught him about the music business at a young age, immersing him in a lifetime of dedication to the industry.
Tyson later returned to Philadelphia and attended Thomas Edison, Onley and the Granoff School of Music where he studied opera and guitar. The guitar lessons were short-lived, but the lessons he obtained in his opera classes still enhance his performances now, such as breathing techniques, scales, and determining a perfect pitch.
Before joining The Temptations, Ron was lead singer of The Ethics, with Carl "Nugie" Enlow, Andrew "Bike" Collins and Joe Freeman. The Ethics represented a combination of remarkable vocal blending and versatile natural talents. The group was created in 1967 in Philadelphia and produced and managed by Thadeus Wales in conjunction with Salassi Productions, Inc. The Ethics were an ambitious group and quickly signed to Vent, a small local Independent company. Despite the marketing issues many small labels face, The Ethics’ music was exposed to a wide audience.
After Vent's demise, The Ethics changed the group's name to Love Committee. The members of Love Committee included Norman Frazier, Larry Richardson, Joe Freeman and Ron Tyson. After the death of Larry Richardson, Michael Bell, who also sang with Sly, Slick, and Wicked, joined Love Committee as the newest member. They recorded for TSOP and recorded disco hits in the 70's for Ariola International and Gold Mind. The group was renowned for the R&B hit "Law and Order."
In addition to being an accomplished singer and performer, Ron Tyson also became a well-reputed songwriter and producer in Philadelphia. He wrote or co-wrote the majority of the songs for The Ethics and Love Committee and worked with a myriad of artists, including The O’Jays, First Choice, the Salsoul Orchestra, Gloria Gaynor, Loleatta Holloway, Double Exposure, The Trammps and Bunny Sigler. Additionally, he collaborated creatively with the Four Tops, Joe Simon, Curtis Mayfield, The Dells, Archie Bell and the Drells, Blue Magic, Harold Melvin and the Blue Notes. On Loleatta Holloway's LP, Love Sensation, Ron co-wrote and co-produced "I'll Be Standing There." On Curtis Mayfield's LP, Heartbeat, Ron co-produced "Tell Me, Tell Me (How Ya Liked to Be Loved)” and "Victory." Tyson, along with Norman "The Machine" Harris, Ron Kersey, Alan Felder, Ronnie Baker and several others worked on frequently on projects for The Harris Machine, Harris' production company. They were a very popular songwriting and production team, scoring major hits with a variety of artists for several years. They co-wrote and produced The Dells' "Betcha Never Been Loved (Like This Before),” "Teaser," "Our Love," "Rich Man Poor Man (Peace),” "Waiting for You" and the title track "They Said It Couldn't Be Done (But We Did It)." On the Ojay's LP Survival, Ron co-wrote "What Am I Waiting For," and on The Trammps' LP Disco Inferno, he co-wrote "Starvin'" and "Don't Burn No Bridges."
Ron also worked with the legendary Joe Simon on his LP Love Vibrations/Happy Birthday Baby. On this LP, Ron co-wrote and co-produced "I Can't Stand a Liar," "Somebody for Everybody," "If You Got the Time (I Got the Place)," "It Must Be Love," and "I.O.U." Joe Simon was a great musical and personal inspiration for Tyson and taught him how to read music and special count bars. Bishop Joe Simon and Ron are still great friends today.
Before performing as an active member of The Temptations, Ron Tyson wrote the majority of songs on The Temptations' HEAR to Tempt You LP in 1977, including the two singles, "In a Lifetime" and "Think for Yourself." He co-wrote songs and sang background on both Norman Harris-produced Eddie Kendricks' albums, He's a Friend and Goin' Up in Smoke. On Goin' Up In Smoke, Phil Hurt, Bunny Sigler, and Carl Helm also sang background with Tyson. Although Tyson is known for singing in his sweet falsetto voice, he is very capable of singing bass as well, allowing him to perform in a wide variety of songs. This singing ability coupled with sheer determination and a lifetime of dedication to the music industry led Ron Tyson to eventually join The Temptations as the first tenor.
Tyson's first appearance with the Temptations was on the Motown 25 television special in 1983; it was as special as it was abrupt. Tyson’s induction into the famous group was delayed for a couple of days due to a snowstorm, giving him little time to actually prepare for his first performance with the group. He briefly practiced new, detailed routines with a choreographer and was quickly ushered into his first performance that would be broadcast nationally. After practicing a few moves (including the famous "Temptations Walk") while waiting in the wings backstage, a very nervous but excited Tyson went on stage and performed. He hit all the right notes and made all the right moves and bolstered his position as an integral part of the legendary Motown Group for over 30 years.
Tyson has seen The Temptations through tough situations, but their perseverance and hard work paid off. From a youth of performing with his grandfather to his legacy of producing, writing and performing with a huge variety musical legends, Tyson never turned his back on music.
"Our time has finally come around," he said. "Great things are happening."
The Temptations’ Phoenix Rising was nominated for a Grammy and reached double platinum status. Subsquently, Motown released The Temptations' 57th album, EAR-Resistible which was nominated and won a Grammy in the best R&B Traditional CD category at the 43rd Annual Grammy Ceremony. Ron sings several leads and shared leads, including "Got to Get on the Road," "Proven and True," and "Kiss Me Like You Miss Me." Ron also co-wrote the song, "Party." Thereaftr, The Temptations released their 58th album Awesome. Ron's leads and shared leads include "So Easy," "Swept Away," "I Feel Good," and "Open Letter, My One Temptation – Interlude." In addition to singing lead, Ron co-wrote "So Easy" and "My One Temptation – Interlude." On this interlude, Ron performs all of the vocal harmonies in the background with the exception of the bass.
In addition to adding his shimmering falsetto, Ron is in charge of providing the "uniforms" for the stylish Temptations performance wardrobe. He picks, chooses, and coordinates the outfits with a discriminating eye for class and style. Tyson uses two or three different tailors to keep The Temptations looking up-to-date and as smooth as their legendary moves on stage. The hallmark of the Temptations' style has always been their presentation. Even if one attends several concerts in a row, he will never see The Temptations wear the same outfits twice. From black tuxedos to linen casuals to the individual silk rainbow primary color box of one of their souvenir photos, The Temptations' fashionable "uniforms" exude showmanship and elegance, making the Temptations one of the best dressed groups in the industry while still performing with grace, elegance, dignity and precision.
32 years later, Ron Tyson is still counting his blessings and very thankful to be a part of this wonderful and legendary group. From beginning to now, music has been his calling.