Instruments: Vocals
Date of Birth: February 3, 1943
Place of Birth: Birmingham, Alabama

1987 Governor's Achievement Award

1999 Inductee Alabama Music Hall of Fame

Dennis Edwards, the son of a minister, began singing gospel music with the Golden Wonders. He moved into the realm of secular music with a group called Fireworks, before joining the Contours. With Edwards as a member, the Temptations' Producer Norman Whitfield took the group into the realm of Sly Stone--influenced psychedelic soul with songs such as "Cloud Nine""Psychedelic Shack" and "Ball of Confusion". The move worked. The Temptations won their first of three Gammy Awards and Edwards found himself firmly entrenched with Temptations fans. In 1977, Edwards departed the group, but was back before the end of the decade, and in charge of one of the group's biggest hits, "Power". During the 1980s, Edwards, Kendricks and Ruffin teamed up to record and tour a power packed show which featured many of the groups most successful songs.

Source: Alabama Music Hall of Fame

Once a Temptation, always a Temptation might be the motto for explosive vocalist Dennis Edwards, who's joined, left, and re-joined the group three times. Edwards was born in Birmingham, but his family moved to Detroit when he was seven. As a high school student, Edwards sang with the Crowns of Joy gospel group, then formed a soul-jazz band called Dennis Edwards & the Firebirds, inspired by organist Richard "Groove" Holmes. Motown bass legend James Jamerson heard Edwards singing one night and suggested he audition. They needed a lead singer quickly for the Contours, and his feature on "It's So Hard Being Alone" was Edwards' entry into the company. A song he recorded for Soulsville, "I Didn't Have To (But I Did)," got moderate reaction, but Edwards was soon enlisted to replace David Ruffin as lead singer of the Temptations in 1968. He spent the next nine years in that role, his gritty leads fueling such songs as "Cloud Nine," "I Can't Get Next to You," "Ball of Confusion," and "Psychedelic Shack," as well as the groundbreaking singles "Papa Was a Rolling Stone" and "Masterpiece." He left for the first time in 1977, returned in 1979, and left again in 1983. A year later, he made one of the great duets of the decade, "Don't Look Any Further," with Siedah Garrett. It didn't make it to the top of the R&B charts, but there weren't many numbers that better combined sensuality, vocal assertiveness, excellent production, and a superb arrangement. The follow-up, "(You're My) Aphrodisiac," was a Top 20 R&B single, but things then cooled considerably. "Coolin' Out" was Edwards' final hit, peaking at number 23, but he returned to the Temptations in 1987. Edwards briefly teamed with ex-Temptations David Ruffin and Eddie Kendricks in the trio Ruffin/Kendricks/Edwards, but nothing was ever released. ~ Ron Wynn, All Music Guide


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