Singer Dennis Edwards replaced The Temptations lead singer David Ruffin today (July 9, 1968).
Dennis Edwards was formally announced as the new lead of Motown’s biggest male group on the stage, during a performance at the Valley Forge Music Fair, in Valley Forge, Pennsylvania.
Dennis Edwards began singing in the church at the age of two and by high school he had joined gospel group, The Mighty Clouds of Joy.
In the early 1960’s, Edwards fronted various bands before joining The Contours in 1967.
Edwards’ stint with The Contours was short however, as just one year later, Dennis Edwards was named lead of The Temptations.
Edwards received a warm reception when he was announced as the lead singer and the crowd gave the group an extended, standing ovation.
As for David Ruffin, he left The Temptations amidst a climate of turmoil.
Ewart Abner was the head of International Management Company, the firm that Motown owned to manage the acts on the label.
According to Abner, the group members had developed “different philosophies” by this point, after recording together since 1960.
“It really boils down to a question of philosophy,” Ewart Abner said. “As a member of a group such as The Temptations, each of the men has to subordinate his own individual desires and actions so that the group, as a collective entity, can be developed to its maximum potential. Dave, whom we consider a great artist was nonetheless able to subscribe to this team effort.”
David Ruffin’s wife Genna Sapia-Ruffin said that leaving the group devastated the singer, who had become addicted to cocaine at this point.
“They’d been secretly training poor Dennis Edwards and had stashed him in the wings that night,” Sapia-Ruffin wrote in her 1993 memoir “Delivered From Temptation: From Temptation to Salvation.”
“I say ‘poor’ because no one could have had more mixed emotions,” Sapia-Ruffin said. “Who could’ve said ‘no’ to joining The Temptations? If he did that though, where was his loyalty to his old friend David? So the group had hired guards to keep Crazy David out of the theatre-in-the round.”