Dennis Edwards, Temptations singer for 2 decades, dead at 74

Dennis Edwards, a former member of the famed Motown group The Temptations, has died. He was 74.

His soulful, passionate voice defined the group for years

Dennis Edwards, former member of the famed Motown group The Temptations, is seen here at Aretha Franklin's 69th birthday party in New York. Edwards died Thursday after a long illness. (Charles Sykes/The Associated Press)

Dennis Edwards, a former member of the famed Motown group The Temptations, has died. He was 74.

Rosiland Triche Roberts, his longtime booking agent, says Edwards died Thursday in Chicago, Ill. after a long illness. The Birmingham, Alabama-born Edwards replaced founding member David Ruffin in 1968.

His soulful, passionate voice defined the group for years. He was a member on and off for about two decades and part of the lineup that released Papa Was A Rollin' StoneBall of Confusion (That's What The World Is Today) and Cloud Nine.

 Paul Riser, a Motown arranger and musician, worked with Edwards during the label's Detroit heyday and subsequent projects. He says Edwards possessed a "voice for the ages," with a great range, energy and artistry. Edwards would have turned 75 on Saturday.

The Temptations singing group from left: Otis Williams, Melvin Franklin and Glenn Beonard. Back row from left, Richard Street and Dennis Edwards. (Lennox McLendon/The Associated Press)