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Richard Street

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Richard Allen Street (October 5, 1942 - February 27, 2013) was an American soul and rhythm & blues singer, most notable as a member of Motown vocal group The Temptations from 1971 to 1993. Born and raised in Detroit, Michigan, Street was the first member of the Temptations to actually be a native of the city which served as Motown’s namesake and hometown; all of the previous members were born and at least partially raised in the southern United States.

Street was the lead singer of an early Temptations predecessor, Otis Williams & the Distants, and takes the spotlight on their local hit “Come On”. The Distants also included future Temptations Otis Williams, Melvin Franklin, and Elbridge “Al” Bryant, who left The Distants and their record deal with Johnnie Mae Matthews’ Northern Records to form The Elgins (later The Temptations) with Eddie Kendricks and Paul Williams. After their departure, Matthews had Street briefly lead a new Distants group in the early 1960s.

During the mid-1960s, Street performed with a Motown act called The Monitors, who had only one minor hit, 1966’s “Greetings (This is Uncle Sam)”, to its name.

Street knew the Temptations and Otis Williams, in particular, having worked for Motown in quality control and through his vocal work with the Distants and the Monitors. By the late-1960s, Street 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.

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