Archive for Motown

Rick James

Posted in Forest Lawn Cemetery (NY) with tags , , , on September 2, 2019 by Cade

February 1, 1948 – August 6, 2004

James Ambrose Johnson Jr. was born in Buffalo, NY. His mother worked as a dancer and numbers runner to make ends meet. Young James would often accompany her on her rounds and he was exposed to bars that featured musicians like Miles Davis and Etta James. Needless to say, he liked what he saw and it was music from there out. Well, music and drugs, but I digress. He got in trouble quite a bit as a young man, so he joined the Navy, as one does. Not finding military life to be for him, and finding himself under orders to go to Vietnam, he fled to Toronto and started performing music under the name Ricky James Matthews. Long story short, he met Neil Young, moved to Detroit, met Stevie Wonder (who encouraged him to shorten his stage name to “Ricky James”) and signed with Motown. Continue reading

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Dennis Edwards

Posted in Jefferson Barracks National Cemetery with tags , , , on August 22, 2019 by Cade

February 3, 1943 – February 1, 2018

Dennis Edwards, Jr. was an R&B vocalist who rose to fame in the Motown Records machine of the 1960’s Detroit scene. After a brief stint in the military, Edwards signed on retainer with Motown Records. He became the lead vocalist for The Contours, who traveled with, and opened for, the Temptations, with whom he became friends. In 1968, the Temptations fired “Classic 5” lead singer, David Ruffin, and asked Edwards to take his place. Continue reading

Melvin Franklin

Posted in Forest Lawn Hollywood Hills with tags , , , on March 12, 2013 by Cade

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October 12, 1942 – February 23, 1995

The Temptations were a lot of things. Groundbreaking. Unpredictable. Entertaining. And a total mess. David Melvin English, AKA Melvin Franklin, was the foundation of the group, both vocally and temperamentally.   His mellow bass vocals became one of the Temptations most recognizable features.  Franklin and long-time friend, Otis Williams, were the only two original members to never leave the group. Continue reading