WOL Listen Live
24th Annual Heroes And Legends Awards

Source: Paul Redmond / Getty

Dennis Edwards – maybe the most recognizable voice to ever lead the World Famous Temptations has passed away at the age of 74.

 He became the lead singer of the Temptations in 1968 as they embraced psychedelic funk and won Grammy Awards for the songs “Papa Was a Rollin’ Stone” and “Cloud Nine,.”   

His death, in a hospital, was confirmed on Friday by Rosiland Triche Roberts, one of his booking agents. She did not specify the cause.

Dennis Edwards’s  powerful voice, worn down from years singing gospel, was perfect for the driving soul music of the 1970s.

“Marvin Gaye was a friend of mine, and he used to say, ‘Man, I wish I could sing like you, if I could have that growl in my voice,”   Dennis Edwards told The Tallahassee Democrat in 2013. “And I said, ‘Man, are you kidding me? I want to sing like you. Everybody wants to sing like you.’ ”


Before joining the Temptations, Mr. Edwards sang with another Motown group, the Contours, best known for their 1962 hit “Do You Love Me” (recorded before he joined them). The Contours opened for the Temptations in the late 1960s, and when the Temptations’ lead singer David Ruffin left the group in 1968, he was asked to take over.

Mr. Ruffin told him personally that he was going to get the job, showing up at his house very early in the morning, Mr. Edwards said. “I thought he was kidding,” he said.

Photo of TEMPTATIONS and Damon HARRIS and Dennis EDWARDS and Melvin FRANKLIN and Otis WILLIAMS and Richard STREET

Source: Ron Howard / Getty


Also On Spirit 1340: