Otis “Damon” Harris, a member of the Temptations from 1971-1975 who sang one of their biggest hits, the Grammy Award-winning “Papa Was a Rollin’ Stone,” as well as “Masterpiece” and “Take a Look Around,” passed away earlier this week in Baltimore, after a 14-year battle with prostate cancer, according to the Baltimore Sun.
Harris, a resident of Owings Mills, died at the Joseph Richey Hospice in Seton Hill. Woodson said he was in remission until three years ago. The cancer had “gotten pretty bad” by the end of last summer, Woodson said, leaving Harris in the hospital from November until last week, when he was transferred to the hospice.
In 1971, Harris auditioned for The Temptations at the age of 21, more than a decade younger than the other members. He was brought into the group under one condition: He had to change his first name because the group already had an Otis — founding member Otis Williams.
Harris went on to win three Grammy Awards with The Temptations. As a member, the group also recorded nine gold records. Harris left The Temptations in 1975. (Via)
“Papa Was a Rollin’ Stone” is one of those impossibly perfect songs — equal parts funky and smooth — and an impressive reinvention for a group best known for morning drive songs like “My Girl” and “Ain’t Too Proud to Beg.” Harris may have passed away, but in 200 years, people will still be trying (and failing) to mimic the pitch-perfect way his voices goes up on, “Spent most of his time chasing women and drinking.” R.I.P.