According to Billy Wilson of the Motown Alumni Association, former Temptations member Damon Harris (born Otis Robert Harris, Jr.) died Monday evening at the age of 62. Wilson’s report didn’t reveal the cause of death, but Harris had been suffering from prostate cancer.
Harris was born on July 17, 1950 in Baltimore, Maryland. He took the place of Eddie Kendricks, one of the original lead singers of the Temptations group. He was only Twenty years old when he joined the group, and was the youngest member of The Temptations during his time with the group.
Wilson says Harris was so good as the replacement for Kendricks, that most people did not know it was Harris’ voice on the Grammy award-winning hits “Cloud Nine,” “Psychedelic Shack,” and other 70s Temptations hits. His tenure was from 1971 to 1975.
After leaving the legendary organization, Harris formed a Temptations tribute band named The Young Tempts (aka The Young Vandals).The group had a release that charted on the Isley Brothers label T-Neck. He also had a few minor regional hits in a group called Impact. Harris also put out an album titled “Damon Harris: Silk” in the 70s under Fantasy records; he re-released the album under his own accord in 1995.
The singer was diagnosed for cancer while making a comeback into the music industry. In 1997 the Motown Alumni Association started working with Harris on the creation of the Damon Harris Prostate Cancer Foundation in Canton, Michigan. Though the project did not fully materialize, Harris continued to nurture and built awareness on the devastating disease. Harris toured around the world with fellow future Temptations member Glenn Leonard.
In the video below, Damon Harris is shown speaking at the 2011 Cancer Survivor’s Day Celebration at the Johns Hopkins Sidney Kimmel Comprehensive Cancer Center.