How Did Richard Street Die? The Tragic Story of the Temptations Singer

Richard Street was a talented singer who was best known for being a member of the legendary Motown group The Temptations for 25 years. He sang lead vocals on some of their biggest hits, such as “Papa Was a Rollin’ Stone”, “Masterpiece”, and “Hey Girl (I Like Your Style)”. But how did he die and what was his life like before his untimely death?

Early Life and Career

Richard Street was born on October 5, 1942, in Detroit, Michigan. He was the first member of The Temptations to be a native of the city that served as Motown’s hometown. He started singing at an early age and joined a vocal group called Otis Williams and the Distants in the 1950s. This group also included future Temptations Otis Williams, Melvin Franklin, and Elbridge “Al” Bryant.

The Distants had a local hit with “Come On”, which featured Street’s lead vocals. However, in 1961, Williams, Franklin, and Bryant left the group and their record deal with Northern Records to form The Elgins, later renamed The Temptations, with Eddie Kendricks and Paul Williams. Street stayed with The Distants for a while, but then joined another Motown act called The Monitors in the mid-1960s.

The Monitors had only one minor hit, “Greetings (This Is Uncle Sam)”, which reached #21 on the Billboard R&B Chart and #100 on the Billboard Pop Singles Chart. They also recorded a song called “Say You”, which The Temptations also covered for their Gettin’ Ready album.

Joining The Temptations

Street knew The Temptations and Otis Williams very well, having worked for Motown in quality control and through his vocal work with The Distants and The Monitors. By the late 1960s, he was being called upon to travel with The Temptations and sing Paul Williams’ parts from off-stage, while Paul Williams, who suffered from both alcoholism and sickle-cell disease, danced and lip-synched onstage.

Street officially replaced Paul Williams in mid-1971, after both he and Eddie Kendricks left the group. He became part of the new lineup that also included Dennis Edwards, Damon Harris, and later Glenn Leonard. This lineup was responsible for some of the most successful and acclaimed albums and songs in The Temptations’ history, such as All Directions, Masterpiece, A Song for You, Cloud Nine, Psychedelic Shack, Ball of Confusion, Just My Imagination, and many more.

Street had a distinctive voice that blended well with the other members and added a soulful touch to the group’s sound. He also had a charismatic stage presence and a smooth dance style. He was well-liked by his fans and his fellow singers.

Leaving The Temptations

Street stayed with The Temptations until 1993, when he decided to leave due to alleged personal tensions with Otis Williams. He was replaced by Theo Peoples, who had previously replaced Melvin Franklin after his death in 1995. Street later said that he felt that he was not treated fairly by Williams and that he wanted more creative input in the group’s music.

Street pursued a solo career after leaving The Temptations. He released two albums, Love on a Two Way Street in 1996 and This Is My Time in 2002. He also performed with other former members of The Temptations, such as Dennis Edwards, Damon Harris, Glenn Leonard, Ali-Ollie Woodson, and David Sea. He toured extensively around the world and appeared on various TV shows and documentaries.

Death and Legacy

Street died on February 27, 2013, at the age of 70. He had been hospitalized five days earlier for back pain and breathing difficulties. Doctors found that he had a clot in his lung, which caused a pulmonary embolism. His wife Cindy said that he died peacefully in his sleep.

Street’s death came only 10 days after his former bandmate Damon Harris died of prostate cancer at the age of 62. Cindy Street said that they were “dancing up there in heaven” together.

Street is survived by his wife Cindy, two sons Richard Jr. and Branden, two daughters Januari and Nicole, several grandchildren, and many other relatives and friends.

Street is remembered as one of the most talented and beloved singers of The Temptations. He contributed to some of their most iconic songs and albums and helped them maintain their popularity and relevance for over two decades. He also had a successful solo career and continued to perform until his death.

Street’s voice will live on through his music and his fans will always cherish his memory. He was a true legend of Motown and a master of soul.

Doms Desk

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