Eddie James Kendrick, best known by the stage name Eddie Kendricks, was an American 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. He was the lead voice on such famous songs as "The Way You Do the Things You Do", "Get Ready", and "Just My Imagination (Running Away with Me)". As a solo artist, Kendricks recorded several hits of his own during the 1970s, including the number-one single "Keep On Truckin'".
In 1955, Kendricks, Williams, and friends Kell Osborne and Jerome Averette formed a doo-wop group called The Cavaliers. The group decided to move for better opportunities in their musical careers, and in 1957 the group moved to Cleveland, Ohio. 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 were successful 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 Elbridge “Al” Bryant, Otis Williams and Melvin "Blue" Franklin of Otis Williams and the Distants after two members quit and became The Elgins, who on the same day changed their name to "The Temptations" and signed to Motown.
He stayed with The Temptations from 1960-1971.
Kendricks' solo career began slowly but as the dance craze seeped through into other cities, Kendricks scored a #1 pop hit in 1973 with the Frank Wilson-produced "Keep on Truckin'", becoming the only member of the Temptations to register a #1 hit in the U.S. as a solo artist.
Kendricks died of lung cancer at Baptist Medical Center-Princeton in Birmingham on October 5, 1992 at age 52.
He has been sampled by Alicia Keys, Common, Erykah Badu and many more.
Rapper Kendrick Lamar was named by his mother after Kendricks.
In 2019, Kendricks was inducted as a solo artist into National Rhythm & Blues Hall of Fame.