- Eddie Kendricks
Infobox musical artist 2
Name = Eddie Kendricks
Background = khaki
Img_capt = Eddie Kendricks, on the cover of his 1981 album "Love Keys".
Born = birth date|1939|12|17|mf=y;
Union Springs, Alabama
Died = death date and age|1992|10|5|1939|12|17|mf=y
Birmingham, Alabama, U.S.
Birth_name = Edward James Kendrick
Alias = Eddie Kendrick
Birmingham, Alabama, U.S.
Occupation = Singer, dancer, songwriter
R&B, pop, soul, disco
Years_active = 1955 - 1992
Motown, Atlantic, RCA
The Temptations, The Supremes, David Ruffin
Eddie Kendricks (born Edward James Kendrick,
December 17, 1939– October 5, 1992) was an American singerand songwriter. Noted for his distinctive falsettosinging style, Kendricks co-founded the Motownsinging group The Temptations, and was one of their lead singers from 1960 until 1971. As a solo artist, Kendricks recorded several hits of his own during the 1970s, including the number-one single "Keep On Truckin'."
Edward James Kendrick was born in
Union Springs, Alabama. His family later moved to Birmingham, where he met and began singing with his best friend Paul Williams in their church choir in the late 1940s. In 1955, Kendricks, Williams, and friends Kel Osbourne and Willie Waller formed a doo-wopgroup called The Cavaliers, and began performing around Birmingham. The group decided to move for better opportunities in their musical careers, and in 1957 Kendricks, Williams, and Osbourne moved to Cleveland, Ohio, with Waller staying in Alabama. In Cleveland, they met manager Milton Jenkins, and soon moved with Jenkins to Detroit, Michigan, where the Cavaliers renamed themselves "The Primes". Under Jenkins' management, the Primes did well for themselves in the Detroit area, eventually creating a female spin-off group called The Primettes (later The Supremes). In 1961, Osbourne moved to California, and the Primes disbanded. Kendricks and Paul Williams joined forces with members of The Distants to become The Elgins, who signed to Motown that same year as The Temptations.
The Temptations began singing background for
Mary Wells. After an initial dry period, The Temptations quickly became Motown's most successful male vocal group of the 1960s. Among the Temptations songs Kendricks sang lead on (usually in a falsettovoice, but he was also capable of singing in a tenor voice) were " The Way You Do the Things You Do" (the group's first US Top 20 hit), "I'll Be in Trouble", "Girl (Why You Wanna Make Me Blue)", "Get Ready", " Just My Imagination", and "Please Return Your Love to Me". He shares lead vocal duty on other records, including "You're My Everything" (shared with David Ruffin), and a long string of Norman Whitfield-produced psychedelic soulrecords where all five Temptations sang lead, such as the Grammy winner Cloud Nineand I Can't Get Next to You.
In the Temptations, Kendricks was responsible for creating most of the group's vocal arrangements, and also served as wardrobe manager, including the now famous purple suits the group wore for one performance. His favorite food was
cornbread, and as a result he was nicknamed "Cornbread" (or "Corn" for short) by his bandmates. According to Otis Williams, Kendricks romantically pursued Diana Ross, lead singer of the Supremes, and he was said to have been close with Martha Reevesof the Vandellas.
Kendricks remained in the group through the rest of the decade, but a number of issues began to push him away from it in the late 1960s and early 1970s. He was uncomfortable with singing the
psychedelicstyle that Whitfield was now crafting for the group as opposed to the romantic ballads they'd sung under the direction of Smokey Robinson, his friend Paul Williams was often too ill to perform with the group, and Kendricks often found himself at odds with bandmates Otis Williamsand Melvin Franklin. As he grew away from the Temps, Kendricks began to rekindle his friendship with ex-Temptation David Ruffin, who convinced him to leave the group. Kendricks recorded one last hit single with the Temptations, 1971's " Just My Imagination (Running Away with Me)"; by the time the record reached #1 on the US pop charts in April 1971, Eddie Kendricks had quit The Temptations in May,1971 and signed a solo deal with Motown's Tamla imprint. He was successful with his solo career, but it was short lived. Fact|date=May 2007
Eddie Kendricks' solo career began slowly; he endured two years of singles that missed the Top 40, while The Temptations continued with their string of Norman Whitfield-helmed hits (one of which, "
Superstar (Remember How You Got Where You Are)", was written as a jab towards Kendricks and Ruffin). Despite enjoying only a modicum of commercial success and radio airplay, Kendricks's 1972 album "People... Hold On" was a cornerstone of DJ playlists in downtown New York's nascent discoscene. The expansive, eight minute take on "Girl, You Need A Change Of Mind" from the album was a particular favorite at David Mancuso's Loft. As the dance craze seeped through into other cities, Kendricks scored a #1 pop hit in 1973 with the Frank Wilson-produced "Keep on Truckin'". Future hits included "Boogie Down" (US #2), "Shoeshine Boy" (US #18), and "He's a Friend" (US #36).
Kendricks left Motown, forced to sign away the rights to his royalties to do so, in 1978, moving first to
Arista Records, and later to Atlantic Records. By this time, his popularity had waned, and he was also gradually losing his voice as a result of chain smoking. He and David Ruffinbriefly re-joined the Temptations for a 1982 reunion tour. Ruffin and Kendrick (Kendricks dropped the "s" from his stage name during the 1980s) reportedly met up one night when Ruffin went to watch Kendrick perform in a nightclub; Kendrick spotted Ruffin in the crowd, pointed him out, and invited him to come up on stage and perform with him. Afterward they talked about touring on their own and recorded an album as a duo for RCAin 1988.
Earlier, in 1985, they participated in the
Hall & Oateslive album "Live at The Apollo" recorded at a benefit at New York City's Apollo Theater; and sang with the duo at Live Aidin Philadelphiaand the MTV Video Music Awardsin New York. Hall and Oates have cited Kendrick, Ruffin and the rest of the Tempts as a major influence.
In 1989, Kendrick, Ruffin, and their old Temptations bandmates were inducted into the
Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. There, Kendrick and Ruffin made plans with former Temptation Dennis Edwardsto tour and record as "Ruffin/Kendrick/Edwards, Former Leads of The Temptations." The Ruffin/Kendrick/Edwards project was cut short in 1991, when Kendrick was diagnosed with lung cancerand David Ruffin died of a drug overdose.
In late 1991, Kendrick, by now living in his native Birmingham, underwent surgery to have one of his lungs removed in hopes of preventing the spread of the cancer. He continued to tour through the summer of 1992, when he fell ill again and was hospitalized. Eddie Kendrick died on
October 5, 1992of lung cancer in Birmingham at the age of 52.
He is survived by his children Aika Kendrick, Parris Kendrick and Paul Kendrick.
Kendricks was portrayed by
Terron Brooksin the 1998 biographical television miniseries "The Temptations".
"as Eddie Kendricks";Tamla (
*1971: "All By Myself"
*1972: "People ... Hold On"
*1973: "Eddie Kendricks"
*1974: "Boogie Down!"
*1974: "For You"
*1975: "The Hit Man"
*1975: "He's A Friend"
*1976: "Goin' Up In Smoke"
*1979: "Something More"
*1981: "Love Keys"
* 1971: "It's So Hard For Me To Say Good-Bye" (US #88)
* 1971: "Can I"
* 1972: "Eddie's Love" (US #77)
* 1972: "If You Let Me" (US #66)
* 1973: "Darling Come Back Home" (US #67)
* 1973: "Girl You Need A Change Of Mind (Part 1)" (US #87)
* 1973: "Keep On Truckin' (Part 1)" (US #1, UK #18)
* 1974: "Boogie Down" (US #2, UK #39)
* 1974: "One Tear" (US #71)
* 1974: "Son of Sagittarius" (US #28)
* 1974: "Tell Her Love Has Felt the Need" (US #50)
* 1975: "Get the Cream off the Top" (US #50)
* 1975: "Happy" (US #66)
* 1975: "Shoeshine Boy" (US #18)
* 1976: "Chains"
* 1976: "Get It While It's Hot"
* 1976: "He's a Friend" (US #36)
* 1976: "It's Not What You Got"
* 1977: "Goin' Up In Smoke"
* 1977: "Born Again / Date With The Rain"
* 1977: "Intimate Friends"
* 1978: "Ain't No Smoke Without Fire"
* 1978: "The Best of Strangers Now"
* 1980: "I Just Want To Be the One In Your Life"
* 1981: "Oh I Need Your Loving"
* 1985: "A Night At The Apollo Live!" (UK #58) (Daryll Hall and John Oates featuring David Ruffin and Eddie Kendrick)
* [http://www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi?page=gr&GRid=5832 Eddie Kendricks' Gravesite]
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