The Temptations' tenth studio album released in February 1969 as Gordy 939 , an imprint of Motown Records.

The group line up was,

Original track listing

  1. Cloud Nine
  2. I Heard it Through the Grapevine
  3. Runaway Child, Running Wild
  4. Love is a Hurtin' Thing
  5. Hey Girl
  6. Why Did She Have to Leave Me(Why Did She Have to Go)
  7. I Need Your Loving
  8. Don't Let Him Take Your Love From Me
  9. I Gotta Find a Way (to Get You Back)
  10. Gonna Keep on Tryin' Till I Win Your Love

Cloud Nine is the album that marks the beginning of the Temptation’s psychedelic soul phase; in comes Dennis Edwards as replacement for David Ruffin, in come the conga drums and the wah-wah pedals, the socially relevant lyrics and the marathon funk mini-epics. It also marks the point at which Norman Whitfield takes effective control of the group's direction; with the sole exception of Hey Girl (a Carole King/Gerry Goffin composition), every track comes from the stable of Norman Whitfield/Barret Strong.

The album features the two big hits Cloud Nine (which has all five of the Temptations sharing the lead) and Runaway Child, Running Wild, nine and-a-half minutes worth of a funky blues groove (oddly reminiscent of the Doors circa Morrison Hotel/Hard Rock Cafe). Both of which served to define that psychedelic soul sound.

Not that they completely abandoned the conventions of the Motown sound; there are also sweet orchestrated ballads such as Hey Girl as well as danceable soul like Why Did She Have To Leave (Why Did She Have To Go), and I Gotta Find A Way (To Get You Back) the latter as good an example of the classic Motown groove as you'll ever find, featuring some of that old James Jamerson bass magic.

There's even a version of Heard It Through The Grapevine, already a hit for both Gladys Knight and the Pips and Marvin Gaye. All of which makes the album something of a mixed bag as if they couldn't quite shake off that Sound of Young America thing quite yet.

I'm riding high on cloud nine
You're as free as a bird in flight
There's no difference between day and night
It's a world of love and harmony
You're a million miles from reality, cloud nine

A 1987 album by George Harrison, produced by future Traveling Wilburys bandmate Jeff Lynne. Though most of the attention and praise for Harrison's solo work is lavished on the triple album All Things Must Pass, as it should be, this little gem is often overlooked. At the time, it was his first album in five years, and it was a commercial success, mostly on the strength of the hit single "Got My Mind Set on You", as well as a critical one. As a result, Harrison returned to the public eye for a few years in the late 80s and early 90s, touring sucessfully and working with the Wilburys until he retreated into the obscurity of his private life again, where he would largely remain until his death.

The album is perhaps best described as insubstantial, not in the sense of being inconsequential or lightweight, but etheral, intangible pop tunes without the mystical freight of some of his other work. The cover, with Harrison in mirror shades and a Hawaiianesque shirt, clearly indicate he's having fun here, but it's not all upbeat, as the clouds behind him are tinged with grey.

  1.   Cloud 9
  2.   That's What It Takes
  3.   Fish on the Sand
  4.   Just for Today
  5.   This Is Love
  6.   When We Was Fab
  7.   Devil's Radio
  8.   Someplace Else
  9.   Wreck of the Hesperus
  10.   Breath Away from Heaven
  11.   Got My Mind Set on You

The phrase 'to be on Cloud Nine' means to be in a state of utter bliss, elation or euphoria. Apparantly, this expression originates from the United States Weather Bureau, from around the 1950s. They categorize clouds into types, nine being a cumulonimbus (the massive ones with flat bottoms and rounded tops) - the highest type.

Cumulonimbus clouds occur at around 30-35,000 feet, so being on cloud nine was supposed to be as high as you'd want to get !


RoguePoet thinks that another source could be The Nine Choirs Of Angels - the highest of which is The Seraphim, ninth. The other end could be the nine circles of hell, of which a writeup can be found here. Might be on to something, but I definately have seen the nine types of clouds mentioned in two or three places. Anyone have any other perspectives on this ?

Cloud 9 is an idiom for a state of joy, euphoria, or extreme happiness. Usually "cloud 9" is coupled with the "on" preposition.

"Those chocolate bunny ears were so good I was on cloud 9! I love consuming simulated fluffy animals!"

There are a couple theories regarding this expression's origin. An early cloud classification system had nine levels of cloud classification. The cumulonimbus clouds, the most fluffy cotton candyish of clouds, were slotted in at the 9 position. Clouds, heaven, angels have long been associated. A true state of euphoria might be considered being up on the cloud 9 level, upon the most aesthetically pleasing of clouds.

Alternatively, the number 9 is considered a very pure number. It's a trinity of trinities. Three times three. Hence the expression "dressed to the nines", which means well dressed. So being up on a cloud numbered 9 is surely a good thing, if you adhere to a childhood fantasy of heaven. For those who believe oxygen deprivation has the greater downside, well, it's a somewhat silly allusion.

A strong possibility for the origin comes to us from Buddhism. In Buddhism one ascends 10 clouds. Cloud 9 is a state of enlightenment, where one's acts are done without regard for the self. However, the expression's popular use makes this suspect. Being on cloud 9 almost always refers to a rather selfish state of self satisfaction.

One man is known to have fallen from cloud nine and survived.

Cumulonimbus incus, referred to as cloud nine by cloudspotters, can reach heights of 65,000 feet only stopping in growth at the borders of the troposphere and stratosphere, where its anvil of ice crystals spreads out, feeding negative charged ice crystals into the storm inside. All airplanes fly over or around these clouds as passing through could destroy them.

In the late 60s, Lt. Cl. William Rankin was on a routine flight in an F8U-209 Crusader jet and at around 47 thousand feet passing over a cumulonimbus cloud when his engine lost power. He pulled the lever to transfer auxiliary power, but that broke off in his hand. He had to eject.

As he free fell into the thundercloud, although he was able to put on his oxygen mask, his body expanded in decompression, and all exposed skin began to frostbite, numbing him from the sharp pain he initially felt. Battered by large hailstones, after ten minutes of falling, when he thought he was at 10,000 feet his parachute opened. Then his real troubles began.

Winds kept him in the cloud for another half hour, pulling him up and down as far as 6000 feet, twirling him around until he vomited, thrusting him through thick rain that he had to hold his breath to keep from drowning, lifting him up into his chute or looping around it. The hundreds of thousands of hailstones were picking up electrons from hitting ice crystals, building up the charge that causes lightning, which Rankin experienced as seeing huge blue blades several feet thick. The extreme heat of lightning (27,000 degrees C) explodes the air around it in millionths of a second, resulting in thunder.

"I didn't just hear the thunder,' Rankin later wrote, 'I felt it."

Convinced of his death, the afterimage of a fork behind his chute gave him the vision of a glowing cathedral, and as this burned away, he found he was in less turbulence and thinner rain, and was soon tangled into a tree in a Carolina pine forest. With no broken limbs, he orientated himself to a road, and was picked up and taken to hospital: heavily bruised, covered in frostbite, with the impressions of his flight jacket's stitches over his body from expanding 10 miles up on cloud nine, and hoping to be back in the skies by the next month.

He died at the age of 89 in 2009.



(this was inspired by reading about it in The Cloudspotter's Guide. Rankin wrote a book a year after his experience, now out of print, called 'The Man Who Rode the Thunder'; every single review online of the book is enthusiastic. In 1975, skydiver Mike Mount was also sucked into a cumulonimbus at a height of 4500 feet and had a similar experience inside.)

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