Throwback: Eddie Kendricks-Intimate Friends

Eddie Kendricks came to fame as a falsetto and tenor voice of The Temptations. The Union Springs and Birmingham, Alabama native met his best friend and future Temptation Paul Williams in church. Williams and Kendricks formed a group named The Cavaliers that gigged in the local area. By 1957 The Cavaliers moved to Cleveland, Ohio to help their singing careers and they had the luck to meet manager Milton Jenkins. Another relocation to Detroit, Michigan prompted an additional name change to The Primes and a budding reputation as a stunning vocal group. The Primettes who were to become The Supremes became the female counterpart to The Primes. In 1961 Kendricks and Williams left The Primes to join The Distants and became The Elgins. When they signed a contract with Motown that year the final name change to The Temptations would be the moniker that took them to the top. Eddie Kendricks’ memorable vocals on “Dream Come True,” “The Way You Do The Things You Do,” “Get Ready,” “Just My Imagination” and “Please Return Your Love To Me” among others helped define the sound of The Temptations who were the most successful male group of the ’60’s. Kendricks was the lead vocalist on the classic “I’m Gonna Make You Love Me” which was a duet with Diana Ross. His voice is also showcased on The Temptations version of “Rudolph The Red Nosed Reindeer” in 1968. By 1971 Kendricks left the group and signed a solo contract with Tamla a subsidiary of Motown. He did not have commercial success immediately but “Girl You Need A Change Of Mind” from his 1972 second album People Hold On was hot on New York City’s underground dance scene. “Date With The Rain” from that album would have two lives as a contemporary party record and would later be redone as a house tune in the ’90’s. “Keep On Truckin'” in 1973 was a number one pop hit and “Boogie Down” the following year made it to number two. “Son Of Sagittarius,” “Shoeshine Boy” and “He’s A Friend” were minor hits but made him plenty of new fans who were going to the clubs and too young to have experienced his days with The Temptations. “Intimate Friends” comes from his 1977 album Slick and has been sampled by Common, Sparkle, Alicia Keys, Erykah Badu and numerous other rappers. Kendricks and David Ruffin re-joined The Temptations in 1982 for a reunion tour but quickly returned to solo status when the jaunt was over. Hall & Oates, the white popular soul duo of the ’70’s and ’80’s enlisted Kendricks and Ruffin for their 1985 live recording at The Apollo theater. During this time in the ’80’s the singer dropped the ‘s’ from his name and recorded a duo project with David Ruffin in 1985 called Kendrick and Ruffin. There would be another reunion with The Temptations in 1989 when the group was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall Of Fame. The night of the ceremony Dennis Edwards, David Ruffin and Eddie Kendrick made plans to make an album together. These plans were aborted when Kendrick was diagnosed with lung cancer in 1991. He managed one final tour in 1992 before passing on October 5th of that year.