The former lead singer of the Temptations, Dennis Edwards has passed on. The singer died in a Chicago hospital Friday after a prolong illness, just one day before he would have turned 75.
Edwards joined the legendary Motown quintet in 1968 and sang lead on some of their biggest hits, including “I Can’t Get Next To You,” “Cloud Nine” and “Ball Of Confusion.”
Edwards was born in Birmingham, Alabama, and started singing at the age of two in his father’s church. His family moved to Detroit when Edwards was 10, and he became the choir director at his new church while still in high school. Edwards switched from gospel to pop in his twenties, but his mom didn’t approve and refused to take any of his earnings.
Before joining the Temptations, Edwards sang in the Countours, years after their big hit, “Do You Love Me,” but that allowed him to get the attention of Motown founder Berry Gordy.
Edwards went on to have a successful solo career that spawned the 1984 hit “Don’t Look Any Further,” a duet with Siedah Garrett.
He was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as a Temptation in 1989. In the ’90s, he toured with a group billed as the Temptations Review Featuring Dennis Edwards.
Fans and friends of the singer—including former BET VJ Donnie Simpson and the Rev. Jesse Jackson— paid tribute to the singer on Twitter as news of his death spread.