Dennis EdwardsView In iTunes
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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.