As we were readyin’ ourselves to wish him a Happy 75th Birthday (on this day), the news of Dennis Edwards‘ passing just came to our attention a few hours ago. Leavin’ us (once again) in state of shock and sadness. His wife, Brenda, stating he died last Thursaday night in a Chicago hospital of complications from meningitis. A disease he’d been diagnosed with back in May 2017…
A native of Birmingham, AL, Dennis Edwards was 7 when he moved to Detroit, MI with his family. During his High School days, he joined a Gospel group, meanwhile studying at the Detroit Conservatory of Music. He was not allowed to sing nor to listen to secular music when at home. And despite his mom’s disapproval, he got himself into singin’ Rhythm & Blues. Eventually forming his own band by the likes of Dennis Edwards & The Firebirds. Then releasing a single – ‘I Didn’t Have To (But I Did)’ back in 1961 on some obscure local label.
Auditioning for Motown Records as a solo artist, he nevertheless joined The Contours as their lead singer in 1966. Then 2 years after, he came to replace David Ruffin as the lead singer of The Temptations. With his rougher Gospel-hewn vocals, Edwards most likely led the group through their psychedelic, Funk and Disco periods along with producer Norman Whitfield. Two of the band’s classics he appears on – ‘Cloud Nine’ (1968) and ‘Papa Was A Rollin’ Stone’ (1972), won Grammy Awards. Although Edwards would sang lead on many other Temptations‘ hits. From ‘I Can’t Get Next To You’ to ‘Ball of Confusion’, ‘Psychedelic Shack’ and ‘My Girl’.
By 1977, Edwards left the group but returned two years later to leave again in 1983. And in 1984, he made his Motown debut as a solo artist via Gordy Records. Eventually teamin’ up with producer Dennis Lambert. He released two albums for the label. Beginning with ‘Don’t Look Any Further’ and its memorable title track featuring Siedah Garrett. Then ‘Coolin’ Out’ in 1985 before returing with The Temptations for a brief period in 1987.
In the late 80’s, he toured with former Temptations members David Ruffin and Eddie Kendricks, although no recording saw the light. And in the 90’s, he began touring under the name Dennis Edwards & The Temptations. Eventually prompting a legal battle between himself and Otis Williams who’d fired him from the band back in 1977. From then, it was decided that Edwards‘ group would be called The Temptations Review featuring Dennis Edwards. With the latter still in activity as of today.
Dennis Edwards has received 7 Grammy Awards, 14 Gold Records, has sold over 100,000,000 recordings worldwide. A member of the Alabama Hall of Fame, he performed in Washington DC for the 2009 Inaugural Ball for President Barack Obama.
Gone too soon: Dennis Edwards
Indamixworldwide would like to express their deepest condolences to Dennis Edwards‘ family and friends…