A Norman Whitfield and Barrett Strong ballad that quickly became a huge hit for the unravelling Temptations, Just My Imagination is a masterclass in restraint and songwriting craft. There are impressive harmony chops on display throughout, but the middle eight is the grit at the heart of this particular pearl.
Recorded just as lead singer Eddie Kendrick was leaving The Temptations to go solo, he nevertheless gives a great account of himself in the verses. But Paul Williams, the troubled Temptation whose failing health and personal problems would see him commit suicide only two years after the song's release, gives the performance of his career when the song shifts gears into the middle eight. It's a raw burst of soul that sits in complete contrast to the sweetness of the verses, a shot of despair amongst all the dreaming. Perfect, basically.