He grew up in Detroit, then brought the city fame as he became a Motown legend. As lead singer for the Temptations Dennis Edwards won Grammy Awards for his performances of songs like “Daddy Was a Rolling Stone” and “Cloud Nine.”
Edwards, who sang for two decades with the Temptations, died last Thursday at his home in Chicago. Now police are looking into whether his death was suspicious.
Police in Chicago tell Seven Action News they have two investigations underway that they are working to get answers in. One investigation is looking into his death. The other is looking into allegations he was ill and his caregiver, his wife, abused him even tried to suffocate him at some point in the weeks before he died.
“Detectives have been working to establish the investigative timeline and corroborate allegations. At this time, we are awaiting further examination by the Cook County medical examiner on the cause and manner of death,” said a statement from the Chicago Police Department.
In the meantime the Motown Museum in Detroit has put up a tribute display and people who loved Edwards’ music are working to make sure his life is celebrated.
Former Temptations Music Director Al McKenzie played “Papa Was a Rolling Stone” on piano for WXYZ as we met him at the McKenzie Academy of Music in Southfield. He says right now is about remembering the man who never stopped loving music and Detroit.
“He was very good to Detroit. He employed Detroit musicians for a long time. As a matter of fact I got introduced to him through Detroit musicians,” said McKenzie.
McKenzie says he last saw Edwards a few years ago at a birthday party for Martha Reeves. He watched Edwards become the life of the party as he gave an unplanned performance.
“His zest for life, the enjoyment he got out of singing and entertaining was amazing,” said McKenzie.
“He was very passionate. That voice delivering songs the way he did was who he was as a person,” said Gary Graff, a renowned metro-Detroit music writer whose work you’ve read in local papers and in publications like Billboard. “This was one of the powerful voices of Motown.”
“We do have so many of these Motown deaths that have strange circumstances around them. Whether it is Florence Ballard, Paul Williams from the Temptations, Marvin Gaye of course. You feel like because of the great music they made, they should go in peace,” said Graff.
“The investigation, that is going to take care of itself. I think we should spend some time cherishing him for what he is and what he did and the mark he left on the world and Detroit,” said McKenzie.