Damon Harris – 1978 – Damon
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In April 1971, a friend convinced Damon Harris to audition for The Temptations, who were doing a series of shows in nearby Washington, D.C.. The group had just replaced Eddie Kendricks with Ricky Owens from The Vibrations, who was giving uneven performances, and The Temptations were again looking for a replacement. Harris performed first for Temptations Melvin Franklin, Richard Street, and Dennis Edwards before auditioning for group leader Otis Williams. Williams was hesitant about taking on the young singer, who was nearly a decade younger than the rest of The Temptations. Franklin, Street, and Edwards voted to accept Harris, however, and he made his onstage debut a few weeks later as first tenor/falsetto. When Damon joined the Temptations, he changed his name to Damon because in his words, the group already had an Otis.
Harris continued to perform with the Temptations for four years, providing Kendricks-esque lead vocals on hits such as “Superstar (Remember How You Got Where You Are)” (1971), “Take a Look Around” (1972), the #1 pop hit “Papa Was a Rollin’ Stone” (1972, a three-time Grammy Award winner), the #1 R&B hit “Masterpiece” (1973), and “Plastic Man” (1973). He sang lead on “Love Woke Me Up This Morning” from the All Directions album (1972) and is featured prominently on The Temptations Live in Japan(1973).
After leaving the group, the dejected Harris decided to reform The Young Vandals with Simms, Timmons (Kareem Ali), and Tilghman, renaming the group Impact, and signing a deal with Atco Records in 1976. Working with a Philadelphia soul production team, Impact recorded a number of minor soul and disco hits, including “Happy Man” and the #5 disco hit “Give a Broken Heart a Break”. The group released only one album on Atco, 1976’s Impact, before being dropped from the label because of low sales. Impact signed with Fantasy Records in 1977 and issued the album The Pac is Back, which also suffered from slow sales. The group disbanded and Harris recorded some solo singles of his own including 1978’s “It’s Music”, and the album Silk.