Soul Sunday : David Ruffin
It’s Sunday so you know what’s up, another Soul Sunday with one of the powerful voices of Soul: The great late David Ruffin.
David Ruffin was probably most famous for his work as one of the lead singers of the Temptations from 1964 to 1968. Ruffin initially sang backgrounds, while the role of lead singer mostly alternated between Eddie Kendrick and Paul Williams.
Smokey Robinson, who produced and co-wrote most of the Temptations’ material at this point, saw the potential in Ruffin. Robinson thought that if he could write just the perfect song for Ruffin’s voice, then he could have a smash hit. And that he did, you might know the little hit called ‘My Girl”[sarcasm] or how about; It’s Growing”, “Since I Lost My Baby”, “My Baby”, “Ain’t Too Proud to Beg” and many more.
At some point all that success went to Ruffin’s head and started classing with the rest of the group. He became addicted to cocaine and began missing rehearsals and performances and he refuses to travel with the other Temptations. He started demanding that the group name be changed to David Ruffin & the Temptations, just like The Supremes changed their names to Dianna Ross & the Supremes. In June 1968, the Temptations agreed that Ruffin had finally crossed the line when he missed a concert that month to instead attend a performance by his new girlfriend, Barbara Martin. Dennis Edwards replaced Ruffin, who had been a friend of Ruffin and the group. Ruffin began turning up unannounced at Temptations’ concerts. When the group started to perform a Ruffin-era song such as “My Girl” or “Ain’t Too Proud to Beg”, Ruffin would suddenly walk on to the stage, take the microphone from Edwards’ hands, and steal the show, embarrassing the group but entertaining the fans.
Ruffin’s first solo single was a song originally intended for the Temptations, “My Whole World Ended (The Moment You Left Me)”. The single from the album entitled My Whole World Ended. Ruffin had problems with his label, Motown. That and his cocaine addiction started to affect his career, even though his solo career initially showed promise.
Coming from a broken home, having an abusive father and not only losing his mother shortly after he was born but also his older sister. Might have pushed him towards drugs, which ultimately killed him [accidental overdose of cocaine]. Family and friends of Ruffin suspected foul play, cause his money belt containing the proceeds from the tour was missing from his body.
Who know what happened but what I do know is, that we lost an exceptional singer with a voice that could reach your soul and embrace it.