Legendary Temptations singer Dennis Edwards dies at 74

Kevin C. Johnson, St. Louis Post-Dispatch on

Published in Entertainment News

Erika Thomas says her father was loving, full of life and positivity, and was always complimentary of St. Louis, the city he adopted during the 1980s when he moved here to be closer to his mother. In his later years, he was often seen at the Fox Theatre and Peabody Opera House when classic soul artists passed through.

"St. Louis is the best thing that ever happened to me," Edwards told The St. Louis Post-Dispatch in 2013. "I needed that peace in my life. And I've always been a semi-country boy."

Edwards, born in Fairfield, Ala., in 1943, moved to Detroit as a young boy and eventually joined early Motown group the Contours in the 1960s. The Contours opened for the Temptations; Edwards joined in 1968 as a replacement for his friend Ruffin.

He recounted the switch to the Post-Dispatch: "I had been hearing rumors about David and drugs and alcohol. One morning at 4 a.m. he knocked on my door. I said, 'David it's 4 o'clock.' He said, 'I'm leaving the Temptations, and they're gonna ask you to replace me.'"

He said his time with the Temptations was amazing but also rocky. "I never imagined I'd be one of the last ones standing, me and Otis," he said. "We really got caught up in the times, and how the heck did I make it? We dibbled and dabbled with alcohol and drugs. But it's important for people to know if you change your lifestyle and wake up, there is hope. I had a mother who prayed for me, and prayer changes everything."

Williams fired Edwards in 1977, but he was in and out of the group for years to come.

Through it all, he focused on a solo career, scoring a huge hit with "Don't Look Any Further" featuring singer Siedah Garrett in 1984. The song received new life years later after rappers and singers heavily sampled its beat.

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His solo career also included "(You're My) Aphrodisiac" and "Try a Little Tenderness."

While touring as Dennis Edwards & the Temptations, Edwards ran into legal problems with his former group mate Williams and changed the group name to the Temptations Review, which performed at the Ambassador in June 2016.

Survivors include Edwards' wife; daughters Issa Pointer of Rhode Island, Maya Peacock of Ohio, Denise Edwards, Alison Turner and Erika Thomas, all of St. Louis; son Bernard Hubbard of Indiana; and a host of grandchilden and other relatives.

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