Jimmy Ruffin (May 7, 1936 - November 17, 2014) was a highly acclaimed R&B/soul singer and songwriter with a smooth, mellow tenor who first became famous during the mid 1960s. He was one of Motown's top acts and the elder brother of David Ruffin (January 18, 1941 - June 1, 1991) of The Temptations.
Born James Lee Ruffin in Collinsville, Mississippi into a musical family, he got an early start singing gospel music as a child. He joined Motown in 1961 and recorded his first single, "Don't Feel Sorry For Me," on the subsidiary label, Miracle, but his career was interrupted when he was called up for military service in the Army. He returned to Motown in 1964 and began pursuing a solo career while also working for the Ford Motor Company.
Ruffin had his first charting song in early 1966 with "As Long As There Is L-O-V-E," which became a minor Pop/Rock chart hit. His career took off later that year when the anguished soul ballad, "What Becomes Of The Brokenhearted," became a Top 10 hit on both the Pop/Rock and R&B charts. This smash was followed by a long string of hits that also included "I've Passed This Way Before" (1966), "Gonna Give Her All The Love I've Got" (1967), "Don't You Miss Me A Little Bit Baby" (1967), "I'll Say Forever My Love" (1968), "Maria (You Were The Only One)" (1971), and "Hold On To My Love" (1980), the latter song of which was co-written and produced by Robin Gibb of The Bee Gees. Ruffin recorded an album with his brother David titled "I Am My Brother's Keeper" which included their 1970 hit, a cover of the Ben E. King classic, "Stand By Me." He also had a Top 20 R&B hit in 1982 with "Turn To Me," performed as a duet with Maxine Nightingale.
Over the years, Ruffin developed a huge following in Britain, eventually moving to that country where he continued to perform and record. He later relocated back to the U.S. where he spent his final years in the Las Vegas, Nevada area. His last album, a compilation titled "There Will Never Be Another You," was released in 2012, and he had reportedly been writing and recording songs for a new album that never got completed.
RELATED BANDS AND ARTISTS
- Jimmy Ruffin discusses his early life, his career, how he came to record "What Becomes Of The Brokenhearted," and other topics in an interview with the BBC (June 8, 1999).
- The Telegraph remembers Jimmy Ruffin.
To listen to a song clip, click any song title that has a speaker icon. This will take you to a list of links to CD and/or MP3 product pages from one or more online merchants that have sound samples.
- What Becomes Of The Brokenhearted 1966
(This song later also became a hit for Paul Young (1992).)
Previous Artist | Next Artist