Eddie Kendricks

Known for both his years with the Temptations and his major solo hits of the 1970s, Eddie Kendricks was among the many soul legends who did his part to put Motown Records on the map. The expressive vocalist (who often sang in a falsetto) grew up in Birmingham, AL, but it was Motown's original home of Detroit that made him a star. Kendricks was still living in Alabama in the late '50s, when he formed the Primes with Kell Osborne and Temptation-to-be Paul Williams. After moving from Alabama to Detroit, the Primes caught the attention of a Motor City group known as the Distants (whose members included Tempations-to-be Otis Williams, Elbridge Bryant, and Melvin Franklin). The Primes broke up after being together only a few years, and the Temptations (originally known as the Elgins) were formed when, in 1961, members of the Primes and the Distants came together. With a lineup that included former Primes Kendricks and Paul Williams and former Distants Otis Williams (who was unrelated to Paul), Melvin Franklin, and Elbridge Bryant, the Temptations signed with the little-known Motown subsidiary Miracle. The Temptations (who went through many personnel changes over the years) didn't become successful right away, but by the mid-'60s, they had become huge thanks to such smashes as "The Way You Do the Things You Do" and "My Girl."