The Temptations Revue featuring Theo Peoples will come to the Lancaster Performing Arts Center for a sold-out show on Jan. 19.
Peoples is the only man in history to sing lead for The Temptations and the Four Tops.
“It’s been a blessing for me, I’m truly grateful for that,” he said in a telephone interview.
Peoples performed for six years with The Temptations and for 12 years with the Four Tops. He is focusing on his solo career, but will perform with The Temptations Revue at the LPAC, filing in for the previously announced Barrington “Bo” Henderson, who is now lead singer with the Stylistics.
The St. Louis, Missouri native played piano in his father’s church. He served as minister of music when his father asked him to sing a song. Peoples told his father he could not sing, but his father told him he would not know that until he actually tried.
“I guess I tried it and I realized I had a voice,” the baritone-voiced Peoples said. “I was about 19 years old when that happened, so I’ve been singing ever since.”
The audience for the sold-out, Jan. 19 show at the Lancaster Performing Arts Center will hear a little bit of The Temptations and Four Tops.
“We’ll give people the best of both worlds,” Peoples said.
His favorite songs from the two iconic Motown groups include the Four Tops’ “Ain’t No Woman (Like the One I’ve Got” and “I Can’t Help Myself (Sugar Pie, Honey Bunch),” and The Temptations’ “My Girl,” “I Wish it Would Rain” and “Just My Imagination (Running Away With Me).”
Peoples said it was intimidating when he first joined The Temptations.
“The Temptations’ legacy started with David Ruffin and then Dennis Edwards,” he said. “Those are some big shoes to fill.”
Peoples approached the gig not by trying to be them, but by trying to be himself, singing their songs.
“It was well-received by the audience,” he said.
The transition to the Four Tops wasn’t as smooth, though.
Peoples was asked to join the group to replace original lead vocalist Levi Stubbs, who died in 2008. He had retired after 45 years. He gave Peoples’ his personal blessing to take over as front man.
“He is just phenomenal,” Peoples said. “No one could fill his shoes. So I kind of did that show my way, as well.”
His first show with the Four Tops was in New York.
“When I walked out on stage and Levi wasn’t there, people were shouting, ‘Where’s Levi?’” Peoples said.
Audience members walked out of the theater before Peoples really had a chance to show them he could sing.
“That was kind of hurtful to me,” he said. “But I hung in there and people started to receive me once they knew that Levi had retired.”
“I’m just honored and grateful of the career that I’ve had,” Peoples said.
He has released several solo albums including “Down Time,” (2000); “Listen 2 Your Heart” (2002); and “Chemistry...You and Me,” (2004). He is writing material for a new solo album.
“This album will probably be called ‘From Then ‘til Now,’” Peoples said.
Writing, he said, is his first love. He wrote and sang “This Is My Promise,” which appeared on the Temptations’ 1998-Grammy Award-nominated, platinum-certified album “Phoenix Rising.”
“‘This is My Promise’ I wrote for my wife on our wedding day,” Peoples said. “Now we’re coming up on 25 years of marriage, so I wrote a song for that.”
That song and a host of other love songs will be on the new album, he said.