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DENNIS EDWARDS,
1943-2018

Dennis Edwards, who replaced David Ruffin in The Temptations in 1968 and sang on the Motown group’s politically oriented, psychedelic soul material, died today, one day shy of his 75th birthday, in Chicago.

His family confirmed the death but gave no cause.

A gospel singer who was drafted to join The Contours, Edwards brought a gritty vocal sound to the Temps that coincided with producer Norman Whitfield’s ambition to toughen up the quintet’s sound in the late ‘60s.

With Edwards swapping lines with Eddie Kendricks, Paul Williams, Otis Williams and Melvin Franklin, the group ventured into funk territory blazed by James Brown and Sly and the Family Stone on songs such as “Cloud Nine” and “Run Away Child, Running Wild.” He dominated hits such as “I Can’t Get Next to You” and “Psychedelic Shack” as well as the original version of “War,” which would later be a hit for Edwin Starr.

Edwards left The Temptations when the band departed Motown for Atlantic, rejoining them in 1980 when the group returned to Motown. He stayed with the group upon Ruffin’s return in 1982, touring as a seven-man group and scoring a hit with 1982's Reunion and the single "Standing on the Top (Part 1)." He would be in and out of the group until finally leaving in 1989.

In the mid-‘80s, Edwards had a solo career on Motown, his lone hit being "Don't Look Any Further," a track that would famously be samplyed by Eric B. and Rakim in "Paid in Full."

Edwards and Otis Williams got into a legal battle after Edwards toured as Dennis Edwards and The Temptations. He was legally allowed to bill himself as The Temptations Review featuring Dennis Edwards, which toured up through last year.

 

 

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