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