In Memoriam: Dennis Edwards (1943 – 2018)

Photo by John Salangsang/Invision/AP/REX/Shutterstock (9195855t)Dennis Edwards (February 3, 1943 – February 2, 2018) was an American soul and R&B singer, notably a lead singer in The Temptations, on Motown Records. Edwards joined the Temptations in 1968, replacing David Ruffin and sang with the group from 1968 to 1976, 1980 to 1984 and 1987 to 1989. In the mid-1980s, he attempted a solo career, scoring a hit in 1984 with “Don’t Look Any Further” (featuring Siedah Garrett). Until his death, Dennis was the lead singer of The Temptations Review featuring Dennis Edwards, a Temptations splinter group.

Edwards was born in Fairfield, Alabama, about eight miles from Birmingham, to Reverend and Mrs. Dennis Edwards Sr., He began singing as a toddler, just two years old, in his father’s church. The Edwards family moved to Detroit, Michigan when Edwards was about ten years old, and Edwards would continue to sing in the church pastored by his father, eventually becoming choir director.

As a teenager, Edwards joined a gospel vocal group called The Mighty Clouds of Joy, and studied music at the Detroit Conservatory of Music. He was not allowed to sing or listen to secular music at home, and his mother disapproved when he began pursuit of a career singing rhythm and blues music. In 1961 he organized his own soul/jazz group, Dennis Edwards and the Fireballs. In 1961, Edwards recorded a single for the obscure Detroit label, International Soulville Records, “I Didn’t Have to (But I Did)” b/w “Johnnie on the Spot”.

Following time served in the US military, in 1966 Edwards auditioned for Detroit’s Motown Records, where he was signed but placed on retainer. Later that year, he was assigned to join The Contours after their lead singer fell ill. In 1967, the Contours were the opening act for several Temptations concerts, and Temptations members Eddie Kendricks and Otis Williams – who were considering replacing their own lead singer, David Ruffin (who was a personal friend of Edwards), took notice of Edwards and made his acquaintance.

Edwards died on February 2, 2018, one day prior to his 75th birthday, in a Chicago hospital after a long illness, the singer’s manager confirmed to ABC News. – Wikipedia

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