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Just My Imagination

by

The Temptations



Songfacts®:  You can leave comments about the song at the bottom of the page.

Motown writers Norman Whitfield and Barrett Strong wrote this in the late '60s, but since Psychedelic songs were popular at the time, Whitfield and Strong decided to wait a few years before releasing it. Whitfield pulled it out of the mothballs after the relative failure of The Temptations' "Ungena Za Ulimwengu (Unite the World)," which hit #33 in 1970. Whitfield wanted to steer the Temptations away from their string of socially relevant songs. (thanks, Brad Wind - Miami, FL)
This was the last single for the Temptations with Eddie Kendricks and Paul Williams in the group. Eddie started a solo career and in 1973 scored his biggest hit with "Keep On Truckin'." Williams remained on salary as an advisor, but was plagued with personal problems - he was separated from his wife, owed back taxes and was being treated for alcoholism. He committed suicide in 1973 at age 34. (thanks, Bertrand - Paris, France)
This was the third of 4 #1 Hits by the Temptations. The track was released in February 1971, and took off right away, peaking at #1 in April.
The Rolling Stones covered this in 1978. They had a hit with another Temptations song, "Ain't Too Proud To Beg," in 1974.
The Temptations
More The Temptations songs
More songs covered by The Rolling Stones
More songs written by Norman Whitfield

Comments (21):

On May 30th 1980, the Temptations hosted the NBC-TV program 'The Midnight Special' and opened the show with this song.
- Barry, Sauquoit, NY
On January 31st 1971, the Temptations performed "Just Imagination (Running Away With Me)" on the CBS-TV program 'The Ed Sullivan Show'...
And on that very same day it entered Billboard's Hot Top 100 chart; and on March 28th, 1971 it peaked at #1 (for 2 weeks) and spent 15 weeks on the Top 100 (and for 9 of those 15 weeks it was in the Top 10)...
It entered the Top 10 at #4, stayed at #4 the following week, then moved to #3 for 1 week, next was #2 for 1 week, and finally two weeks at #1...
On February 28th, 1971 it reached #1 (for 3 weeks) on Billboard's R&B Sngles chart...
The Rolling Stones covered it in 1978; was track 3 on their 16th American studio album, 'Some Girls'.
- Barry, Sauquoit, NY
Great song; one the greatest intros of all time!!!
Just a good song that even the Stones version is passable...
- Barry, Sauquoit, NY
The Stones remade this song on their 1978 smash album, Some Girls. The Stones called the song "Imagination," and change some of the lyrics to make them more sexually suggestive. The Stones' version is superior to the Temps. The Stones also do a better "Ain't To Proud To Beg" than the Temps. But the Stones' version of "My Girl" isn't listenable.
- David, Youngstown, OH
Didn't the Stones do a cover of this?
- David, Atlanta, GA
My how I let my imagination run away with me when I hear this song. Saw the Temps at Purdue University in Lafayette, Indiana in the early 70's. God do me a favor and take me back just one more time.
- George, Louisville, KY
This is the best song Eddie Kendricks ever sang REST IN PEACE EDDIE
- jimmy, Knox, TN
Man this is as good as Motown gets--what a song of perfection. Sad and evocative and poignant and SO SO beautiful!

Thanks, Matt, Raleigh, NC for that tidbit. Interesting to listen for.
- Guy, Woodinville, WA
I wrote a great comment about My Girl and I think the same comment can be used here. I simply get so emotional when I hear this song, too. I really can be anywhere -- hear the first few notes and I just shut out the world and melt. It's amazing, it really is.
- Laura, Hacienda Heights, CA
Sorry, that was Eddie Kendricks who sang lead.
- Matt, Raleigh, NC
Classic Jamerson lines - "I Was Made to Love Her", Bernadette", "What's Going on", etc. He inspired all bass players contemporaneous and those who came afterwards. Jamerson is Electric Bass 101.
- Matt, Raleigh, NC
The orchestration in this song is unbelievable - tympani, harp, french horns, strings, etc. you can hear Paul Williams open his mouth to sing in between the 1st and 2nd lines. Such clarity and creativity in these types of recordings is sorely missed these days - and only 3 chords! An ironic farewell to both this lineup of the Temps and Motown's Detroit years, as shortly therafter, both were gone.
- Matt, Raleigh, NC
I have always liked the Temptations, and this is one of my favorite. It's a very sad song, tear jerker, I guess I like those
- Mary, Yuma, AZ
You're OK, I just equate a Motown Bass Groove on a song like "Reach Out I'll Be There" or "My Girl", that's all.

Sorry I misunderstood...
- Dave, Oak Park, MI
I wasn't saying that this bass line was ONE that inspired the McCartney bass. I meant that the Motown sound was the thing-this is an example of that Motown groove. Sorry if I came across unclear.
- Brian, Sydney, Canada
QUOTE: "Great song! The bass playing is that great Motown groove that inspired Paul McCartney in the mid-'60's. It changed his approach to songwriting and his own blass playing. A great song from a great singing group."

Eh, I don't really notice anything that special about the Bass-lines on a song from NINETEEN-SEVENTY-ONE that would'a made its way into Paul McCartney's Bass Playing in the SIXTIES.

Other than it being a "Great Song", I think that above fact is useless.
- Dave, Oak Park, MI
Great song! The bass playing is that great Motown groove that inspired Paul McCartney in the mid-'60's. It changed his approach to songwriting and his own blass playing. A great song from a great singing group.
- Brian, Sydney, Canada
Very lovely song...how pining fo another hurts!!
- Julie, Marquette, MI
Who among us has not loved a person and not had that love returned? This song poignantly captures that feeling, perhaps more perfectly than any other song.
- Jay, New York, NY
One of the saddest love songs ever written: it's all in his mind. "But in reality...she doesn't even know me." Heartbreaking and unforgettable.
- Clarke, Pittsburgh, PA
appears in the movie dicky roberts former child star
- jordan, springfeild, AR
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