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3 February 1943 - 1 February 2018
Former Temptations front man, Dennis Edwards passed away in
Chicago two days before his 75th birthday. The cause of death has
been confirmed as ‘complications from meningitis.’
Dennis Edwards was born in Birmingham, Alabama to Reverend and
Mrs. Dennis Edwards Sr. He began singing in his father’s church
at just two years old. At high school Edwards sang with the Crowns
of joy gospel group. In 1961, Edwards formed ‘Dennis Edwards
and the Fireballs’ before joining the Contours in 1967.
Replacing David Ruffin in the Temptations
Dennis Edwards was David Ruffin’s replacement in Otis Williams’
‘The Temptations’ from 1968 to 1977, 1979-1983, 1987-1988.
Edwards’ trade mark baritone can be heard on Temptations’
million sellers such as “Cloud Nine,” “I Can't
Get Next to You” & “Papa Was a Rollin’ Stone
as well as Rick James’ 1982 funk classic “Standing on
The Top” (Rick James and the Temptations).
Ruffin interrupts performances
In the early part of his tenure with The Temptations, Edwards’
lead performances were often interrupted by David Ruffin (whom Edwards
replaced). Ruffin would show up at their concerts and would jump
onto the stage, grab the microphone away from Edwards and start
singing. Though this would delight fans and Edwards would ‘professionally’
sing along as though the union was planned. This eventually would
be stopped after the Temptations hired more guards to keep Ruffin
from entering their concerts.
“It was the 3rd of September…”
Dennis Edwards Became angry when Norman Whitfield, assigned him
to sing the first verse of the song “Papa Was a Rolling Stone,”
because in real life, Edwards’ own father had died on the
third of September just like the father in the song. Edwards refused
to sing the verse at first, believing that Whitfield had assigned
the line to him on purpose. Whitfield denied having done so, but
allegedly used it to his advantage, forcing Edwards to sing the
verse anyway and using Edwards’ personal anger to set the
dark tone of the song. This dispute eventually lead to Whitfield
being fired as the group’s producer.
In 1984, Motown re-launched Edwards’ solo career with the
album “Don’t Look Any Further.” Edwards shared
vocals on the title track “Don’t Look Any Further”
with Siedah Garrett. “Don’t Look Any Further”
remains a firm favourite among hard-core RnB / soul fans worldwide.
Edwards was elected to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1989
(as a member of The Temptations). At 6’ 5”, he was the
tallest member of ‘The Temptations, Richard Street and David
Ruffin stood at 6’ 4” and 6’ 3”.
During the 1990s, Edwards began touring under the name ‘Dennis
Edwards & the Temptations,’ prompting a legal battle between
himself and Otis Williams. It was decided that Edwards’ group
would be called ‘The Temptations Review featuring Dennis Edwards.’
Band members included Dennis Edwards, David Sea, Mike Pattillo,
Chris Arnold and the son of original Temptation Paul Williams Jr.
Dennis Edwards has received 7 Grammy Awards, 14 Gold Records,
has sold over 100,000,000 recordings worldwide.