CHICAGO (CelebrityAccess) Dennis Edwards, 74, singer with The Temptations, died in a hospital in Chicago Feb. 1.
Edwards joined the group after the band’s initial hits like “My Girl” and “Ain’t Too Proud To Beg” under the recruitment of producer/songwriter Norman Whitfield, when Whitfield was moving the band toward a grittier sound, which fit in well with Edward’s powerful voice, steeped in Gospel music. He joined the group, after singing in an act called The Contours that opened for The Temptations in the late ’60s.
The Temptations’ lead singer, David Ruffin, had decided to leave the group in 1968 and Edwards was asked to step in. Ruffin gave him the news personally. “I thought he was kidding,” Edwards told The Tallahassee Democrat in 2013. (After Edwards joined the band, Ruffin was known to jump onstage, take the mic away from Edwards, and sing his old songs, eventually leaving Edwards alone).
Edwards joined Eddie Kendricks, Melvin Franklin, Paul Williams and Otis Williams, with Kendricks singing most of the leads, but Edwards was there for hits like “I Can’t Get Next To You,” “Ball of Confusion (That’s What The World Is Today),” “Shakey Ground” and, most notably, the songs that won them their first Grammys, “Cloud Nine” and “Papa Was a Rollin’ Stone,” as noted by the New York Times. Edwards also contributed to “Just My Imagination,” which reached No. 1 on the Billboard pop singles charts.
In the 1990s, he led a group called Dennis Edwards & The Temptations. As was the case with many of the bands of this kind in 1990s after they splintered, it led to a battle with Otis Williams, and eventually changed it to Temptations Review Featuring Dennis Edwards.