Former Temptations singer Dennis Edwards, the gruff and powerful voice behind such classics as “Cloud Nine,” “I Can’t Get Next to You” and “Papa Was a Rollin’ Stone,” died Thursday.
He was 74.
Edwards steered the “Temptations” through a new, socially conscious era after replacing the talented, but troubled David Ruffin in 1968.
Among the hits during the Edwards era were “Runaway Child, Running Wild,” “Psychedelic Shack” and “Ball of Confusion (That’s What the World is Today).”
“The only person talkin’ ’bout love thy brother is the preacher,” Edwards sang on “Ball of Confusion.”
“And it seems nobody’s interested in learning but the teacher.”
Edwards, who was in and out of the group several time over the course of his career, scored a hit of his own during his solo years.
“Don’t Look Any Further,” a duet with Siedah Garrett, peaked at No. 2 on the Billboard Black Singles chart and peaked at No. 72 on the Billboard Hot 100.
“RIP Dennis Edwards, beautiful soul who gave me my first shot by recording and performing our classic duet “Don’t Look Any Further,” Garrett tweeted. “We’ve lost another great one.”
In more recent years, Edwards toured with a “Temptations” splinter group called The Temptations Review featuring Dennis Edwards.
The singer’s career even featured a brief stint on tour with Ruffin and former Temptations singer Eddie Kendricks.
Edwards was briefly married to Ruth Pointer of the Pointer Sisters. The couple has one daughter, Issa Pointer.
He is survived by his wife of 18 years, Brenda, five daughters and a son.