Eddie Kendricks

As a founding member of iconic R&B group the Temptations and later as a solo star, Eddie Kendricks was a pillar of soul music and Motown. Born on December 17, 1939, Kendricks grew up with fellow future Temptation Paul Williams in Alabama before the two moved north to Detroit. The Temptations formed in 1961, and Kendricks’ falsetto was a key component of the group’s sound, as featured on the hits “Get Ready”, “The Way You Do the Things You Do”, and “Just My Imagination (Running Away with Me)”. As the latter song hit Number 1 in 1971, Kendricks left the Temptations and embarked on a solo career. He enjoyed success on his own, landing three Number 1 R&B hits: “Boogie Down”, “Sunshine Boy”, and “Keep On Truckin’”, which also hit Number 1 on the Hot 100 chart. His momentum stalled later in the decade as the public’s tastes changed, and he reunited with the Temptations for a tour and an album in 1982. He would later team up with David Ruffin, also from the Temptations’ classic lineup, and the two toured and recorded together in the late 1980s. The pair also worked with Daryl Hall and John Oates, and appeared on their 1985 album Live at the Apollo. Their Temptations medley from the live album earned a Grammy nomination, and was reprised at the massive Live Aid charity concert, when Kendricks, Ruffin, Hall, and Oates found themselves near the top of the bill, taking the stage after the likes of Neil Young, Duran Duran, and the disastrous Led Zeppelin reunion. Kendricks and the rest of the Temptations were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1989. Kendricks died of lung cancer on October 5, 1992, in his home state of Alabama, and was posthumously honored with a lifetime achievement award at the 2013 Grammys .

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