CHICAGO (CBS) — Dennis Edwards, the lead singer of Motown legends The Temptations, has died at age 74.
Edwards died Thursday night at Mercy Hospital. He had been ill for months. He had suffered a stroke last year in St. Louis, and had come to Chicago for rehab. He would have turned 75 on Saturday.
Inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1989 as a member of the Temptations, Edwards replaced lead singer David Ruffin in 1968. The group’s original lead singer was Elbridge “Al” Bryant.
In addition to their signature Motown sound, Edwards led the group on a mix of psychedelic, funk, and disco music, as well as two Grammy-winning songs, “Papa Was a Rollin’ Stone,” and “Cloud Nine.”
Though he was fired from the Temptations in 1977 just before the group left Motown Records, he returned in 1980 when they left Atlantic Records to return to Motown.
In 1984, Edwards left the Temptations again and began a solo career. His first solo album, “Don’t Look Any Further,” reached No. 2 on the R&B charts; and the title track of his follow-up album, “Coolin’ Out,” was an R&B Top 30 hit.
He returned to the Temptations in 1987, but left again two years later.
Edwards was married to Ruth Pointer, of the vocal group The Pointer Sisters, from 1976 to 1977, and the two had a daughter, Issa Pointer, who later joined her mother’s group.