Dennis Edwards, the lead singer for The Temptations who led the group to several hits in the 1970s and was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame with the group, died Thursday of complications from meningitis.
Edwards’ wife of 18 years, Brenda Edwards, confirmed that he died in a Chicago hospital after being in and out of hospitals since he was diagnosed with meningitis in May 2017, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported. Edwards would have turned 75 on Saturday.
Edwards joined The Temptations in 1968 after singing with The Contours and stayed with the group initially until about 1977, returning for brief stints in the 1980s and joining with several members of the group for reunion concerts and tours in the years afterward.
He was the group’s lead singer on hits including “I Can’t Get Next To You,” “Ball of Confusion,” and “Pappa Was a Rollin’ Stone.” Edwards also recorded a solo hit, “Don’t Look Any Further,” which has been sampled in numerous songs by Eric B. and Rakim as well as 2Pac and Junior M.A.F.I.A. with Notorious B.I.G.
Edwards had a gritty voice unlike the falsetto of previous Temptations lead singer David Ruffin, and under Edwards' leadership the group took on a more bluesy, soul-rock sound that was very popular with fans. Every album put out while Edwards was lead singer was a top-selling album in the R&B genre.
Edwards later teamed up with David Ruffin and Eddie Kendricks for “Tribute to the Temptations” tours, but the group was barred in 1999 from using The Temptations name, which was owned by other members of the group.
Condolences and memories flowed from fans and celebrities on Twitter.
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