On this day in music history: October 25, 1968 – “Cloud Nine” by The Temptations is released. Written by Norman Whitfield and Barrett Strong, it is the twenty fourth single release for the legendary Motown vocal quintet. After lead vocalist David Ruffin is fired from The Temptations in June of 1968, he is replaced by former Contours (“Do You Love Me?”, “First I Look At The Purse”) member Dennis Edwards. With the new addition, producer Norman Whitfield takes the opportunity to take the group in a new musical direction. Using the template of Sly & The Family Stone’s recent hit “Dance To The Music” (at the suggestion of Temptations leader Otis Williams), with its funky and driving back beat, along with the band’s unique habit of having several members taking a turn at lead vocals in the course of a song, inspired him to try something similar with the Tempts. Lyrically, “Cloud Nine” is different from anything previously released by Motown, with its narrative about being poor and disaffected, looking for an escape and release from that situation. The basic track for the song is cut at Golden World in Detroit (Motown Studio B) with members of The Funk Brothers on October 1, 1968. Whitfield also hires another young Detroit based guitarist named Dennis Coffey to play the signature wah wah guitar part on the song. Dubbed “psychedelic soul” by music critics and the public, the single marks the beginning of a new era for The Temptations, quickly racing up the R&B and pop charts immediately after its release. Issued in mono for the single release, the 45 mix of “Cloud Nine” differs significantly from its stereo counterpart. For The Tempts vocal coda at the songs conclusion, most of the instrumentation accept for the hi-hat cymbals drop out of the mix, as the group sings to the fade out. “Cloud Nine” peaks at #2 on the Billboard R&B singles chart and #6 on the Hot 100 in January of 1969. It also wins The Temptations a Grammy Award for Best Rhythm & Blues Group Performance, Vocal Or Instrumental in 1969, making them the first Motown artists to receive that honor. “Cloud Nine” is certified Gold in the US by the RIAA.