Temptations lead singer Dennis Edwards is dead at 74

Dennis passed away a day before his 75th birthday

Edward Dennis theGrio.com
(Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images)

Dennis Edwards, best known for his tenure as the lead singer of the Temptations, is dead at age 74.

Edwards’ family told CBS News that he was in Chicago when he died, but they did not disclose a cause of death. The singer passed away just a day before his 75th birthday.

Breaking: Dennis Edwards, former lead singer of The Temptations has died in Chicago – per family. He crooned the world over with “Cloud Nine” – “I Can’t Get Next to You” & “Papa Was a Rollin’ Stone.” Tomorrow, Edwards would have been 75. @cbschicago pic.twitter.com/HWESouATfl

—Throwback Clip: Aretha Franklin talks writing ‘Day Dreaming’ about Dennis Edwards—

A storied career

Edwards was born in Birmingham, Alabama, on Feb. 3, 1932. He sang with the Contours for some time before he joined the Temptations after David Ruffin was fired. From 1968 to 1977, Edwards’ grittier tone and tendency to sing more about the social issues facing the country at the time took the band in a new direction.

As Rolling Stone noted, the new direction immediately brought in fans with “Cloud Nine,” and they continued to rock the charts with hits like “Run Away Child, Running Wild,” “Don’t Let the Jonses Get You Down,” “Psychedelic Shack and “Ball of Confusion (That’s What the World Is Today).”

All the way up through 1976, the Temptations scored a Top 40 hit with every single new album. Several were Top 10 hits as well.

Ultimately, Edwards left the Temptations when they made the move to Atlantic. For a short time in the 1980s, he came back to knock out such hits as “Power,” “Standing on Top (Part 1)”, and the album To Be Continued. He was with the group on and off again throughout the eighties for a few reunion tours and new music before leaving for good in 1989.

Edwards is also known for a solo hit, “Don’t Look Any Further,” that not only scored high on the charts but also with other artists, who sampled it in their own music. That song was sampled in Rakim’s “Paid in Full,” 2Pac’s “Hit ‘Em Up,” and Junior M.A.F.I.A.’s “Getting’ Money” with the Notorious B.I.G.

We are incredibly sad to hear of his passing, and theGrio would like to express our condolences to Edwards’ family in this time of grief and loss.