(February 27, 2013) We are sad to report that Richard Street, longtime member of the Temptations, has died in Las Vegas at age 70 after a short hospitalization. Street was a mainstay in the Temptations during the 1970s and 80s and was the lead vocalist on several major hits.
Richard Allen Street was born in Detroit on October 5, 1942. He was a child prodigy, talented both as a pianist and as a singer. His other love was sports, and he hoped as a young man to become a professional athlete. However, music called and Street broke into the music business as a member of the late 50s vocal group the Distants, several members of which later became the founders of the Temptations (including Street's cousin, bass singer Melvin Franklin). After a few years out of music, he returned with a new group called the Monitors, which was signed by Motown for a short period.
As the Monitors' recording career stalled, Street began working in the quality control group at the Motown label. By 1970, Temptations member Paul Williams grew ill and Street was called on by the group to tour with them and to sing Williams' parts off stage. Following Williams' departure from the group in 1971 (and, sadly, his subsequent suicide), Street replaced Williams as the baritone second lead for the group. His expressive, versatile voice was a great compliment for lead singers Dennis Edwards and Damon Harris.
Street went on to play a significant part in the group's continuing success, remaining a Temptation for 22 years and being featured in such hits as "Papa Was a Rolling Stone," "Heavenly," "Aiming At Your Heart" and "Hey Girl (I Like Your Style)." Street left the group in 1993 due to a disagreement with group founder Otis Williams. He went on to work as a solo singer and as part of his own Temptations tribute group. He also toured on occasion with former Tempts mate Harris and worked with Harris in bringing awareness to cancer diagnosis and treatment. Street's passing is particularly shocking to longtime fans as it comes less than two weeks after Harris's death from cancer.
Richard Street was an incredible talent and will be greatly missed.
By Chris Rizik