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david ruffin

David Ruffin

b. David Eli Ruffin, 18th January 1941, Whynot, Near Meridian, Lauderdale County, Mississippi, U.S.A.

d. 1st June 1991, University of Pennsylvania Hospital, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, U.S.A.

David Ruffin was one of the most recognisable vocalists to have emerged from the Motown Records stable.

He was the younger brother of Jimmy Ruffin and the cousin of Melvin Franklin of The Temptations.

David was the son of a minister, and commenced his singing career with the gospel group the Dixie Nightingales.

He was also the drummer and singer in the doo-wop group the Voice Masters in 1958.

David then signed to the Anna label in Detroit as a solo artist in 1960.

His released singles at that label and on the Check-Mate imprint in 1961.

David Ruffin

the temptations

In January 1964, David replaced Eldridge Bryant as the tenor vocalist in the Temptations line-up.

The original arrangement was that he would support Eddie Kendricks as a background vocalist, however, he was soon elevated to featured vocalist on many subsequest releases.

From 1965 onwards David became the lead singer on several of the bands hits including 'My Girl'’, Wish It Would Rain', 'I'm Losing You' and 'Ain't Too Proud To Beg'.

David was becoming recognised as the lead vocalist within the group.

Motown, however, felt that some of his behaviour left a little to be desired and he lost the outright lead singer status by 1968.

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feelin' good - 1969 / my whole world ended - 1969 / david ruffin - 1973 / me and rock n'roll are here to stay - 1974

It was this occurrence that led to David embarking upon a solo career, with 'My Whole World Ended', becoming a Top 10 hit in 1969.

These recordings were undertaken under the wings of producers Harvey Fuqua and Johnny Bristol.

David also recorded with his brother, Jimmy, at the time.

David RuffinDavid RuffinDavid RuffinDavid Ruffin

who i am - 1975 / everythings coming up love - 1976 / in my stride - 1977 / so soon we change - 1979

Throughout the Seventies, his work with Van McCoy became highly popular, especially with his personal renaissance album ‘Who I Am’ that contained the pop smash ‘Walk Away From Love’, a huge hit both sides of the Atlantic.

In 1976, he released ‘Everything’s Coming Up Love’, an album that became highly regarded amongst soul fans in the U.K.

In 1979, he left Motown for Warner Brothers Records.

Here he recorded ‘So Soon We Change’ in 1979, that featured ‘Let Your Love Rain Down On Me’ and ‘Morning Sun Looks Blue’, an album that was to be held in high regard in the following decades.

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gentleman ruffin - 1980 / ruffin and kendrick - 1987

'Gentleman Ruffin' followed in 1980.

In the early 80's David was briefly jailed for tax evasion, however a Temptations reunion in 1982 brought him back into contact with Eddie Kendricks.

Following this liaison, Ruffin and Kendricks established a regular partnership.

They were showcased in a prestigious concert at New York's Apollo by long-time Temptations fans, Hall And Oates, which was captured on a 1985 live album, and Ruffin and Kendricks also joined the rock duo at the Live Aid concert in Philadelphia.

They subsequently recorded a well-received album of duets for RCA which revived memories of their vocal collaborations with the Temptations two decades earlier.

The pairing also released one album in 1987, simply, entitled ‘Ruffin And Kendricks’, which contained the modern soul tunes, ’I Couldn’t Believe It’ and ‘Don’t Know Why You’re Dreamin’, produced by Ronnie McNeir.

David recorded with Ian Levine's Motor City label in 1990, a stint including 'Hurt The One You Love' and toured with Eddie Kendricks and Dennis Edwards as 'Tribute To The Temptation's on a package tour in 1991.

A few weeks after the last performance David Ruffin died in tragic circumstances.

The local police stated david had passed out early on the morning of the 1st June, following smoking crack cocaine at a house in West Philadelphia.

Here is a website that is hosted by David's ex-partner, Genna Sapia-Ruffin:

• A Memoir - David Ruffin - My Temptation

A very personal tribute from a person very close to the great singer.

...also check...

• David Ruffin of Berry Gordys Motown Temptations

David RuffinDavid Ruffin

Real Player


My Whole World Ended (Motown Records 1969)

Feelin' Good (Motown Records 1969)

Doin' His Thing (Motown Records 1969)

with Jimmy Ruffin: I Am My Brother's Keeper (Motown Records 1970)

David Ruffin (Motown Records 1973)

Me & Rock & Roll Are Here To Stay (Motown Records 1974)

Who I Am (Motown Records 1975)

Everything's Coming Up Love (Motown Records 1976)

In My Stride (Motown Records 1977)

So Soon We Change (Warners Records 1979)

Gentleman Ruffin (Warners Records 1980)

with Eddie Kendricks: Ruffin And Kendrick (RCA Records 1987)

Motown Legends: I've Lost Everything I've... (Motown Records 1995)

The Ultimate Collection (Motown Records 1998)

20th Century Masters - The Millennium... (Motown Records 2000)

Motown Legends: Walk Away From Love (Universal Records 2001)

Essential Collection (Spectrum Records 2002)

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