Eddie Kendricks (born Edward James Kendrick; December 17, 1939 – October 5, 1992) was an American tenor singer and songwriter. Noted for his distinctive falsetto singing style, Kendricks co-founded the Motown singing group The Temptations, and was one of their lead singers from 1960 until 1971. His was the lead voice on such famous songs as "The Way You Do The Things You Do", "Get Ready", and "Just My Imagination". As a solo artist, Kendricks recorded several hits of his own during the 1970s, including the number-one single "Keep On Truckin'".
Edward James Kendrick was born in Union Springs, Alabama on December 17, 1939, the son of Johnny and Lee Bell Kendrick. He had one sister, Patricia, and three brothers, Charles, Robert, and Clarence. His family moved to Birmingham, where he met and began singing with his best friend Paul Williams in their church choir in the late 1940s. In 1955, Kendricks, Williams, and friends Kel Osbourne and Willie Waller formed a doo-wop group called The Cavaliers, and began performing around Birmingham. The group decided to move for better opportunities in their musical careers, and in 1957 Kendricks, Williams, and Osbourne moved to Cleveland, Ohio, with Waller staying in Alabama. In Cleveland, they met manager Milton Jenkins, and soon moved with Jenkins to Detroit, Michigan, where the Cavaliers renamed themselves The Primes. Under Jenkins' management, the Primes did well for themselves in the Detroit area, eventually creating a female spin-off group called The Primettes (later The Supremes). In 1961, Osbourne moved to California, and the Primes disbanded. Kendricks and Paul Williams joined forces with members of The Distants to become The Elgins, who signed to Motown that same year as The Temptations.
The Temptations began singing background for Mary Wells. After an initial dry period, The Temptations quickly became the most successful male vocal group of the 1960s. Although technically Kendricks was first tenor in the group's harmony, he predominately sang in a falsetto voice. Among the Temptations songs Kendricks sang lead on were "Dream Come True" (1962) the group's first charting single, "The Way You Do the Things You Do" (1964) the group's first US Top 20 hit, "I'll Be in Trouble" (1964), "The Girl's Alright With Me" (1964) a popular b-side that Kendricks co-wrote, "Girl (Why You Wanna Make Me Blue)" (1964), "Get Ready" (1966), "Please Return Your Love to Me" (1968), and "Just My Imagination" (1971). He was also allowed to sign a few leads in his natural voice such as "May I Have This Dance" (1962). He shares lead vocal duty on other records, including "You're My Everything" (1967) (shared with David Ruffin), and a long string of Norman Whitfield-produced psychedelic soul records where all five Temptations sang lead, such as the Grammy winner "Cloud Nine" (1968), "I Can't Get Next to You" (1969), and "Ball of Confusion" (1970). He also leads on "I'm Gonna Make You Love Me" (1968), a popular duet with Diana Ross and the Supremes, and on the Temptations' famous version of the Christmas classic "Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer" (1968).