Dennis Edwards was an American singer signed to Motown as both a solo artist and as lead singer of the vocal group The Temptations.
Born in Alabama, Dennis started singing in his father’s church choir at the age of two. His family moved to Detroit and he continued to sing at church. He joined the gospel group The Mighty Clouds of Joy as a teenager and (despite secular music being disallowed at home) created his own soul group Dennis Edwards & The Fireballs, and also recorded briefly as a solo artist.
Dennis served time in the US military before auditioning for Motown. He was then drafted as The Contours‘ lead singer in 1966. He quit the group in 1967, attempted to be freed from his Motown contract (former Motown songwriting team H-D-H promised to sign him to their new label) but was brought in as The Tempations’ new lead singer, replacing David Ruffin, in 1968.
Dennis led The Temptations through a successful period in the late 1960s and early 1970s, and his rougher vocals fitted well with the “psychedelic soul” style of music Norman Whitfield was producing for the group. He remained with the group until 1977, when they left for Atlantic.
After a failed solo career, Dennis rejoined the group in 1980, along with both David Ruffin and Eddie Kendricks for a reunion album in 1982. He began to miss rehearsals and shows and was fired (again) in 1984. He then attempted a second solo career, this time finding considerably more success, scoring a hit with the now-acclaimed ’80s soul classic “Don’t Look Any Further”. He was then brought back as lead singer of the Temptations in 1987 and was fired shortly after (in 1989).
He then began touring and recording with former Temptations lead singers David Ruffin and Eddie Kendricks as “Ruffin/Kendricks/Edwards, former leads of The Temptations”. Despite its success, Dennis had to finish up the project alone following the deaths of David and Eddie, in 1991 and 1992, respectively.
He began touring as Dennis Edwards & The Temptations in the 1990s, but following a legal battle against Otis Williams (awkward), the group, which continues to perform today, is now called The Temptations Review featuring Dennis Edwards.
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