Temptations singer Otis ‘Damon’ Harris passed away Monday following a 14-year battle with prostate cancer. He was 62.
Born on on July 17, 1950 in Baltimore, Maryland, Harris began his career in music in the Temptations knockoff act named The Young Tempts. They were forced to change their name to The Young Vandals after an injunction from Motown. Ironically, Harris left the group at 20 to replace his idol Eddie Kendricks as first tenor in the frequently revolving Motown group, and became it’s youngest member. He was with the Temptations between 1971 to 1975 and performed on the Grammy award-winning track and staple “Papa Was a Rollin’ Stone.”
After his stint with the Temptations, Harris reformed the Young Vandals under the new name Impact. The band had the disco hit “Give a Broken Heart a Break” before disbanding. Before retiring from music, Harris would release the solo effort, Damon Harris: Silk, with backup from vocal group Breeze, with Fantasy Records in 1978. The soul album was re-released it 1995.
Before his death, Harris, who was diagnosed with prostate cancer at age 47, established the The Damon Harris Cancer Foundation in 2001. The foundation raises awareness of the disease among African-American men, and also helps with funding treatment.