The Temptations’ Lead Singer Dennis Edwards Dead at 74

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Dennis Edwards, who joined the Temptations in 1968 and sang a string of top 40 hits including “My Girl,” “I Can’t Get Next to You,” and “Papa Was a Rollin’ Stone,” has died. His family confirmed the news to CBS News, saying he was in Chicago at the time of his passing, though did not release the cause of death. He was 74.

According to TMZ, Dennis was born on February 3, 1932, in Birmingham, Alabama. Before joining the Temptations, Edwards sang in another group, called the Contours. Edwards joined the Temptations when the group fired David Ruffin. He brought a fresh sound to the group’s sound. Under Dennis’ lead, the group adopted a more bluesy, soul rock sound and began writing songs that spoke to the social issues of the 1960s and 1970s.

In 1976, the group split with Motown for the album, The Temptations Do the Temptations and moved to Atlantic. It wasn’t long after that, Dennis decided to leave the group. In the 80s, Edwards rejoined the group for a few years, which they returned to Motown, and scored big with the hit “Power.”

Dennis left the group in 1983 but briefly came back in 1986 to record, To Be Continued. He decided to return from 1987 to 1989 for one last tenure.

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In 1989, Dennis Edward was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as a member of the Temptations.

Outside the Temptations, Dennis scored a solo hit with “Don’t Look Any Further,” which made it to number 72 on the pop chart and number 2 on the R&B chart. The song was featured in 2Pac’s “Hit ‘Em Up” and M.A.F.I.A’s “Getting MOney” with Notorious B.I.G.

Edwards later teamed up with Ruffin (the previous Temptations lead singer) and Eddie Kendricks for a “Tribute to the Temptations” package tour. The group then tried to keep Edwards from using the Temptations name, which was owned by Otis Williams and Franklin.

They later filed a permanent injunction against him in 1999, which prevented him from using the Temptations’ name in advertising for his concerts.

Edwards would have been 75 on Saturday, February 3.

Dennis Edwards was married to Ruth Pointer, of the group the Pointer Sister from 1976 to 1977 and they had a daughter, Issa Pointer. His cause of death is not yet known.