Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
Eddie Kendricks (Edward James Kendricks) (December 17, 1942, - October 5, 1992) was an African-American tenor singer and songwriter. He is noted for being one of the lead singers of the Motown singing group The Temptations, and also for recording hit records as a solo artist. In the mid-1980s, Kendricks changed his name to Eddie Kendrick.
Kendricks 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 1955. Kendricks, Williams, and singing partner Kel Osbourne decided to move for better opportunities in their musical careers, first to Cleveland, Ohio, where they formed The Cavaliers. In Cleveland, they met manager Milton Jenkins, and the four soon moved to Detroit, Michigan, where the Cavaliers renamed themselves The Primes. In 1961, Osbourne moved to California, and the Primes disbanded. Kendricks and Williams joined forces with members of The Distants to become The Elgins, who signed to Motown that same year as The Temptations.
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 (often in a falsetto voice) were "The Way You Do the Things You Do" (the group's first US Top 20 hit), "Get Ready," and "You're My Everything."
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 psychedelic-styled records producer Norman Whitfield was now crafting for the group, his friend Paul Williams was often too ill to perform with the group, and he began an 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 left the group for a solo career.
Kendricks successfully transitioned into his solo career, which launched hit records such as "Keep On Truckin'," "Boogie Down," "Shoeshine Boy," and "He's a Friend." He left Motown 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 Ruffin briefly re-joined the Temptations for a 1982 reunion tour. Ruffin and Kendrick (Kendricks dropped the "s" from his last name during the 1980s) recorded an album as a duo for RCA in 1988. 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 Edwards to 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 cancer and David Ruffin died of a drug overdose.
as Eddie Kendricks
- Tamla (Motown) releases
- 1971: All By Myself
- 1972: People ... Hold On
- 1973: Eddie Kendricks
- 1974: Boogie Down!
- 1974: For You
- 1975: The Hit Man
- 1976: He's A Friend
- 1976: Goin' Up In Smoke
- 1977: Slick
- Arista releases
- 1978: Vintage'78
- 1979: Something More
- Atlantic release
- 1981: Love Keys
as Ruffin and Kendrick
- RCA release
- 1988: Ruffin And Kendrick
- Tamla (Motown} releases
- 1971: "Can I"
- 1971: "It's So Hard For Me To Say Good-Bye" (US #88)
- 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)
- 1974: "Boogie Down" (US #2)
- 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 Whie It's Hot"
- 1976: "He's a Friend" (US #36)
- 1976: "It's Not What You Got"
- 1977: "Goin' Up In Smoke"
- 1978: "Ain't No Smoke Without Fire"
- Arista releases
- 1978: "Intimate Friends"
- 1978: "The Best of Strangers Now"
- 1980: "I Just Want To Be the One In Your Life"
- Atlantic release
- 1981: "Oh I Need Your Loving"
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