In addition, Sky's the Limit features the final Temptations recordings for founding member Eddie Kendricks, the main lead vocalist on "Just My Imagination". During the recording of the album, Kendricks departed the group for a solo career. His best friend Paul Williams would soon follow him out of the group
The album tracks show Whitfield's gravitation back towards a ballad format: fully half of the LP is made up of such tracks. Previous Whitfield co-compositions such as "Gonna Keep on Tryin' (Till I Win Your Love)" (from the Temptations' Cloud Nine album), "I'm the Exception to the Rule" (recorded by The Velvelettes in 1964), and "Throw a Farewell Kiss" (also a Velvelettes original) were revived and recorded for this album.
Sky's the Limit contains two extended-length tracks: "Love Can Be Anything (Can't Nothing Be Love But Love)" runs nine minutes, while "Smiling Faces Sometimes" runs twelve minutes, mostly comprised of instrumental passages.
Eddie Kendricks also began to withdraw from the group; he regularly quarreled with either Otis Williams or his best friend Melvin Franklin, and the fights often became violent. Kendricks began spending more time with his friend David Ruffin, former lead singer of the Temptations. Ruffin had been fired from the act in June 1968 because of unprofessional behavior and perceived ego problems, and Kendricks was the only member who continued an alliance with Ruffin. In fact, Kendricks suggested more than once that Ruffin should be invited back into the group, an idea which the other members strongly objected to. By the fall of 1970, Kendricks decided that he should leave the group and go solo.
During a November 1970 engagement at the Copacabana nightclub in New York City, tensions came to a head. Otis Williams' mother had just died, and his voice cracked onstage during a performance, drawing Kendricks' ire. Attempting to avoid yet another fight, Williams and Melvin Franklin sneaked out of the Copa immediately after the show, infuriating Kendricks to the point that he left as well and didn't return for the next show. The rift became irreparable at that point, and it was mutually agreed by all parties involved that Kendricks would be leaving The Temptations.
"Smiling Faces Sometimes" was planned as the third single from Sky's the Limit, but when Eddie Kendricks, the song's lead singer, quit the group in late winter of 1971, Whitfield had to shift plans. "Smiling Faces" was given to The Undisputed Truth, whose recording of the song became a Top 5 pop hit, while the Temptations, reduced to a quartet while searching for a Kendricks replacement, re-recorded "It's Summer", from the Psychedelic Shack album, as a single. "I'm the Exception to the Rule" from Sky's the Limit was issued as "It's Summer's" b-side.
Kendricks arranged a solo deal with Motown's Tamla label, and would go on to have hits such as "Keep on Truckin'" (1973) and "Boogie Down" (1974), while Paul Williams retired from the stage and assisted the Temptations with choreography until committing suicide in 1973.
|1||"Gonna Keep on Tryin' (Till I Win Your Love)"||3:59||Eddie Kendricks|
|2||"Just My Imagination (Running Away with Me)"||3:48||Eddie Kendricks and Paul Williams|
|3||"I'm the Exception to the Rule"||3:27||Eddie Kendricks and Dennis Edwards |
(spoken introduction by Otis Williams)
|4||"Smiling Faces Sometimes"||12:43||Eddie Kendricks and Dennis Edwards|
|6||"Throw a Farewell Kiss"||3:11||Dennis Edwards|
|7||"Ungena Za Ulimengu (Unite The World)"||4:31||Dennis Edwards and Melvin Franklin|
|8||"Love Can Be Anything (Can't Nothing Be Love But Love)"||9:23||Dennis Edwards, Eddie Kendricks, |
and Melvin Franklin