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Temptations Singer Otis 'Damon' Harris Dead at 62

Sang lead on 'Papa Was a Rollin' Stone'

February 23, 2013 10:36 AM ET
Richard Street, Melvin Franklin, Otis Williams, Dennis Edwards and Damon Harris of the Temptations.
Richard Street, Melvin Franklin, Otis Williams, Dennis Edwards and Damon Harris of the Temptations.
Gilles Petard/Redferns

Otis "Damon" Harris, a singer with the Temptations who joined the group in the 1970s, died on Monday at the age of 62, the Baltimore Sun reports. A family spokesman told the paper that Harris had been fighting prostate cancer for 14 years.

Harris grew up in Baltimore and was a fan of the Temptations as a teenager. Along with three high school friends, he formed a Temptations cover band called the Young Tempts, which changed its name to the Young Vandals after releasing their first singles on the Isley Brothers' T-Neck label. In 1971, he auditioned to join his idols when one of the original lead singers, Eddie Kendricks, left the band. Since the group already had one Otis in founding member Otis Williams, Harris changed his first name to Damon.

100 Greatest Artists: The Temptations

Harris sang lead vocals on several Temptations hits, including "Papa Was a Rollin' Stone," "Take a Look Around" and "Masterpiece." The group won three Grammy awards with Harris on board as first tenor. In 1975, Harris left the Temptations and rejoined his high school friends, now renamed Impact. The group recoorded two disco and funk albums, Impact and The Pac is Back and scored a hit with their 1976 track "Give a Broken Heart a Break." In 1978, Harris released a solo album titled Silk, before retiring from music to finish college.

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