Happy Birthday Eddie “Cornbread” Kendricks

By Gentle Jones

Eddie Kendricks (Edward James Kendrick) was born on December 17, 1939 in Union Springs, Alabama to Johnny and Lee Bell Kendrick.

Kendricks moved to Detroit at 18 and started a singing group the Primes which performed Doo Wop and also capably covered Mills Brothers tunes. Eventually Eddie rose to fame singing first tenor for the Temptations, also often singing with a distinctive falsetto. An original member of the Temptations when they signed to Motown subsidiary Miracle, the group became a Motown staple and the most successful male vocal group of the 1960's. “Get Ready”, “Just My Imagination”, and “The Way You Do The Things You Do” are a few of the smash hits which feature Kendricks as the lead vocalist. In addition to vocal duties Kendricks was the group's primary vocal arranger and defacto wardrobe manager.

From 1960 until 1971 Kendricks sang as one of the Temptations lead singers. An icey relationship with Barry Gordy is cited as a reason Kendricks was originally unable to record solo material while signed to Motown with the Temptations, something Michael Jackson was allow to do while with the Jackson 5. Eventually, Kendricks was permitted to release solo material on Motown's Tamla imprint.

By the 1970's Eddie Kendricks was topping charts as a solo artists with hit singles “Keep On Truckin” and “Boogie Down” and in 1978 he signed away his rights to his Motown royalties to leave the label, moving to Arista and later Atlantic Records.

Eddie Kendricks was inducted into the Rock and Rock Hall of Fame with the Temptations in 1989.


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