Music is a way of expressing yourself as it is a form of art. Deemed as the universal language, it has a way of connecting people from various backgrounds and so on. Also, one such personality was Melvin Franklin, who was also called Blue by his fans.
For those who don’t know, Franklin was an American bass singer and also the founding member of the Motown singing group, The Temptations. Moreover, even though he is no longer here with us, his memory and his songs are still alive.
Hence, on this occasion, get to know more about this amazing singer and his life, including his childhood, personal growth, and many more.
Melvin Franklin: Quick Facts
|Full Name:||David Melvin English|
|Stage Name:||Melvin Franklin|
|Date of Birth:||October 12, 1942|
|Death:||February 23, 1995|
|Place of Birth:||Montgomery, Alabama, US|
|Height:||6 feet 1 inch(185 cm)|
|Labels:||Warwick, Motown, Atlantic|
|Associated with:||The Temptations|
|Instruments:||Vocals, Piano, Guitar|
Who is Melvin Franklin?
Melvin Franklin, also known as “Blue,” was an American-born singer and founding member of the Motown singing group, The Temptations. He was also known for his low-range vocals, hence the name bass singer.
Age, Childhood, and Family
Talking about his childhood, the bass singer was born as David Melvin Franklin in Montgomery, Alabama, the United States of America. Born on 12th October 1942, his mother’s name was Rose English from Mobile County, Alabama.
Moreover, his biological father was a preacher of the English family’s church, and Franklin was conceived through a non-consensual relationship. Shortly after his birth, Melvin’s mother married Willard Franklin and relocated to Detroit.
However, young Melvin stayed with his grandmother and only moved to his mother at ten. After that, young Melvin took his step-father’s surname.
As for his education, Franklin went to Northwestern High School, but before he could graduate, he joined Otis Williams, his classmate’s singing group, The Elgins. Likewise, the group was formed in late 1960 and consisted of other members: Elbridge Bryant, Paul Williams, and Eddie Kendricks.
Similarly, Franklin always had an interest in music from an early age and even backed home in Detroit, was a part of several singing groups like The Voice Masters. He also performed with well-known singers like Lamont Dozier, David Ruffin, and Richard Street.
A career in Music- The Temptations
From having a passion for singing to becoming a well-established singer, Melvin sure came a long way and fulfilled his dreams. The bass singer of the group, The Elgins, the band signed with Motown Records under a new name back in March 1961.
Because of his fondness for this color, Melvin was nicknamed “Blue” by his band members. Aside from being a vocalist, the young singer was also the founding member.
Likewise, the group’s early albums include songs like The Temptations Sing Smokey(1965), Getting Ready(1966), The Temptations with a Lot o’Soul(1967), The Temptations Wish It Would Rain(1968), and many others.
As expected, many of their singles proved to be a hit and even topped several charts. Moreover, Franklin’s song ‘I Truly Believe’ from ‘The Temptations Wish It Would Rain’ was a huge success.
But one of their most successful singles has to be ‘The Way You Do Things You Do’ from 1964. The song also stayed at the 11th position on the Billboard Hot 100 and entered the charts of France, the UK, and Canada.
Their next single, Beauty is Only Skin Deep, also found the same success. However, the group has a lot more successful songs under their name. Some of their other single hits include I Wish it Would Rain(1967), Run Away Child, Running Wild(1969), Just My Imagination(1971), and Masterpiece(1973).
Soon his deep vocals became one of the group’s signature trademarks, and he was still regarded as one of the most famous bass singers in the music industry.
Melvin Franklin- Other Works
Besides singing and being part of the popular singing group, Franklin also worked as a voice actor. His deep voice was ideal for voicing characters such as ‘Wheels,’ one of the main characters from the animated series, Pole Position.
Likewise, Franklin also appeared in the 1986 British adventure movie, Sky Bandits. The story followed two outlaws who enlist in the Royal Air Force and later fly warplanes known as gunbuses.
Sadly, the movie was a box-office flop and grossed only $3 million on a budget of $18 million.
Likewise, in 1998, a mini-series named ‘The Temptations’ was aired by NBC, based on the group. Also, Melvin was played by actor, DB Woodside.
Awards and Achievements
Considered as one of the best-known groups of that time, Melvin was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hame of Fame back in 1989 with his group, The Temptations.
Along with that, the group was also inducted into the official R&B Hall of Fame in 2013. Moreover, that same year, his wife received the Lifetime Achievement Award for the deceased singer.
Who was Melvin Franklin married to?- Wife and Children
The singing icon and a well-respected one at that, Melvin Franklin was a married man. Similarly, he was married to Kimberly and had six beautiful children with her.
However, not much information has been shared when it comes to his family. Not even their names and whereabouts are known as of now.
Nonetheless, the singer’s married life is also a total mystery. Likewise, we don’t know when and how they met or tied the knot.
What did Melvin Franklin die of?- Funeral
Despite being a successful singer, Franklin’s life had a series of ups and downs, especially when it came to his health. It all started in late 1960 after he was diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis, a long-term autoimmune disorder that affects joints.
During the early symptoms, the singer battled it with cortisone to perform with his group. However, cortisone’s constant use made his immune system weak, making him vulnerable to other diseases.
Shortly after, Melvin developed diabetes in the early 1980s and later suffered from necrotizing fasciitis. Likewise, to make it worse, a robber shot him in hand and leg while trying to stop him from stealing his car.
The event that took place in Los Angeles proved to be fatal and prevented Franklin from participating in other group activities.
Then on February 15, 1995, Melvin fell into a coma after having multiple seizures and stayed in a coma until his demise on February 23, 1995.
As of now, the loved singer is interred at Forest Lawn Memorial Park in Los Angeles.