Dennis Edwards, who joined the Temptations in 1968 and remained with the group until 1977, has died at age 74.
His family confirmed the news to CBS News, saying he died in Chicago. They did not disclose a cause of death.
Born in Fairfield, Ala. and a Detroit native, Edwards died a day before his 75th birthday. As The Temptations’ lead singer, Edwards sang on many of the legendary soul and R&B group’s hits, including “I Can’t Get Next to You,” “Cloud Nine,” “Papa Was a Rollin’ Stone” and “Ball of Confusion (That’s What the World Is Today).”
Edwards joined the Temptations after the group fired singer David Ruffin, bringing a powerful gospel voice that was a bit more rough around the edges than Ruffin’s. In Edwards’ time with the group, many of their songs appeared on the R&B and pop charts, scoring crossover hits with songs like “Don’t Let The Joneses Get You Down,” “Runaway Child, Running Wild” and “Psychedelic Shack.” The group won three Grammys during his tenure.
After Edwards parted ways with the group in 1977, he rejoined them for a few years in the early ‘80s after the group returned to Motown and they scored another hit with “Power.” He left again in 1983, but returned in 1986, just for the year, to record To Be Continued…. Edwards would rejoin the group for the final time from 1987 to 1989.
Edwards also released three solo albums and scored a hit in 1984 for his duet with Siedah Garrett, “Don’t Look Any Further,” which made it to #72 on the pop chart and #2 on the R&B chart. The song was widely sampled by early hip-hop pioneers like Eric B. and Rakim, 2Pac and Junior M.A.F.I.A. featuring the Notorious B.I.G.
In 1989, Edwards was inducted into The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as a member of The Temptations.
Watch a 1986 interview with The Temptations’ David Ruffin and Eddie Kendricks below.