R.I.P., Damon Harris

Otis Robert Harris Jr., a.k.a. Otis ‘Damon’ Harris: 17 July 1950 – 18 February 2013

Another fantastic singer has passed away: Otis ‘Damon’ Harris, formerly of The Temptations, passed away at the age of 62 after succumbing to a 14-year battle with prostate cancer. He had been in remission up until 3 years ago. From Billboard:

“Otis “Damon” Harris, a former member of the Temptations, died at age 62 on Monday (February 18), according to the Baltimore Sun. The singer passed away at Baltimore’s Joseph Richey Hospice following a 14-year battle with prostate cancer which a family spokeman told the Sun had greatly worsened last summer.

Born in 1950, Harris joined Motown hitmakers The Temptations at age 21 in 1971 after a stint in a Temptations cover band called the Young Tempts with high school friends. The young musician, who sang lead on the Temptations’ Grammy-winning Hot 100 No. 1 hit “Papa Was A Rollin’ Stone” in 1972, was in the group until 1975.”

The article goes on to say that he was an activist for the group Stand Up to Cancer, and founded his own Damon Harris Cancer Foundation.

I absolutely loved the Temptations and their music! They had so many hits that I enjoy: Papa Was a Rolling Stone, My Girl, and Psychedelic Shack, among others. I love their vocals on Just My Imagination (Running Away With Me) – soothing, sexy and soulful! Ah, yes…more about the group from Wikipedia:

“The Temptations are an American vocal group, known for their success in the 1960s, ’70s, and ’80s at Motown Records. The group’s repertoire has included, during its five-decade career, R&B, doo-wop, funk, disco, soul, and adult contemporary music. Known for their recognizable choreography, distinct harmonies, and flashy onstage suits, the Temptations have been said to be as influential to soul as The Beatles are to pop and rock.[1]

Formed in Detroit, Michigan, in 1960 as The Elgins (not to be confused with another Motown group with the same name), the Temptations have always featured at least five male vocalists/dancers. Having sold tens of millions of albums,[2] the Temptations are one of the most successful groups in music history.[3][4] As of 2013[update], the Temptations continue to perform and record for Universal Music Group with its one living original member, Otis Williams, still in its lineup.

The original lineup included members of two local Detroit vocal groups: from The Distants, second tenor Otis Williams, first tenor Elbridge “Al” Bryant, and bass Melvin Franklin; and from The Primes, first tenor/falsetto Eddie Kendricks and second tenor/baritone Paul Williams (no relation to Otis). Among the most notable future Temptations were lead singers David Ruffin and Dennis Edwards (both later solo artists), Ali-Ollie Woodson, Ron Tyson, Glenn Leonard, Damon Harris, Richard Street, Theo Peoples, Louis Price, and G. C. Cameron. Like its “sister” female group, the Supremes, the Temptations’ lineup has changed frequently over the years.

Over the course of their career, the Temptations have released four Billboard Hot 100 number-one singles and 14 Billboard R&B number-one singles. Their material has earned them three Grammy Awards, while two more awards were conferred upon the songwriters and producers who crafted their 1972 hit “Papa Was a Rollin’ Stone“. The Temptations were the first Motown act to earn a Grammy Award. Six Temptations (Dennis Edwards, Melvin Franklin, Eddie Kendricks, David Ruffin, Otis Williams, and Paul Williams) were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1989. Three classic Temptations songs, “My Girl“, “Just My Imagination (Running Away with Me)“, and “Papa Was a Rollin’ Stone“, are among The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame’s 500 Songs that Shaped Rock and Roll.”

I personally love the strings and orchestra that back up the songs. So many beautiful sounds combined into a delicious feast for the senses! Rest in peace now that cancer can no longer ravage your body with pain. Sing with the greats in that grand music hall in the clouds.

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