Jimmy Ruffin in 1967
|Birth name||Jimmy Lee Ruffin|
May 7, 1939 |
Collinsville, Mississippi, United States
|Genres||Soul, R&B, pop|
Jimmy Lee Ruffin (born May 7, 1939) is an American soul singer, and elder brother of David Ruffin of The Temptations. He had several hit records between the 1960s and 1980s, the most successful being "What Becomes of the Brokenhearted."
Jimmy Ruffin was born in Collinsville, Mississippi, and was approaching his second birthday when his brother David was born. As children, the brothers began singing with a gospel group, the Dixie Nightingales. In 1961, Jimmy became a singer as part of the Motown stable, mostly on sessions but also recording singles for its subsidiary Miracle label, but was then drafted for national service. After leaving the Army in 1964, he returned to Motown, where he was offered the opportunity to join the Temptations to replace Elbridge Bryant. However, after hearing his brother David, they hired him for the job instead so Jimmy decided to resume his solo career. Jimmy Ruffin recorded for Motown's subsidiary Soul label, but with little success.
In 1966, he heard a song about unrequited love written for The Spinners, and persuaded the writers that he should record it himself. His recording of "What Becomes of the Brokenhearted" became a major success and he felt he was on his way to becoming a star. The song reached #7 on the Billboard Hot 100 and #6 on the R&B Chart. It also initially reached #10 in the UK singles chart, rising to #4 when it was reissued in the UK in 1974. "What Becomes of the Brokenhearted" remained Ruffin's best-known song. The intended follow-up, "East Side West Side," written by Ron Welser and Flamingos' member Terry "Buzzy" Johnson, was released only in Australia, due to an argument with Motown head Berry Gordy. Nevertheless, follow-ups in the US were successful, with "I've Passed This Way Before" and "Gonna Give Her All the Love I've Got" reaching the US charts in late 1966 and early 1967.
Jimmy Ruffin found success in the US hard to sustain, and began to concentrate instead on the British market. In 1970, "Farewell Is a Lonely Sound," "I'll Say Forever My Love" and "It's Wonderful (To Be Loved By You)" each made the UK top ten, and he was voted the world's top singer in one British poll. He also teamed up with brother David to record the album I Am My Brother's Keeper, a modestly successful album for Motown that included the songs "When The Love Hand Comes Down," "Your Love Was Worth Waiting For" and a cover of Ben E. King's Stand by Me." Following the success of his first two hits, he found it hard to maintain an identity, as most of his songs were later covered by other Motown artists, most prominently "Everybody Needs Love," a hit when covered by Gladys Knight & The Pips, "Maria (You Were The Only One)," a hit for Michael Jackson and "If You Let Me," a minor hit for Eddie Kendricks. In addition, he had recorded the first version of The Temptations hit "Beauty Is Only Skin Deep."
He then left Motown, and recorded for the Polydor and Chess labels, where he recorded "Tell Me What You Want." In 1980, Robin Gibb of the Bee Gees produced his album Sunrise and the hit single "Hold On To My Love," which reached #10 in the US and #7 in the UK, on the RSO label.
In the 1980s Ruffin moved to live in Britain, where he continued to perform successfully. In December 1984 he collaborated with Paul Weller of The Style Council for his benefit single "Soul Deep." This went under the name of The Council Collective and Jimmy appeared with Paul on Radio 1 to say he is involved because his father worked down the mines and "he understands the suffering." In 1986 he collaborated with the British pop group Heaven 17, singing "A Foolish Thing To Do" and "My Sensitivity" on a 12" EP record. He also recorded duets with both Maxine Nightingale and Brenda Holloway. Later, Ruffin hosted a radio show in the UK for a time, and became an anti-drug advocate following the 1991 drug overdose death of his brother David. Ruffin was portrayed by Lamman Rucker in the 1998 Temptations mini-series.
Jimmy Ruffin currently lives in the Las Vegas, Nevada area.
Following the 2010 release of his album My Brother's Keeper, Jimmy Ruffin had been writing and recording songs for a new album which - at last word - he had planned to release on his recent 74th birthday (May 7, 2013). However, no such release appeared.
His parents were Eli and Ophelia Ruffin. His siblings are Davis (David) Eli, Rita Mae (Marie),Rosa (all deceased) and Quincy B. His children: Arlet, Philicia, Jimmie Ray (deceased), Jimmie L., Ophelia, and Camilla Ruffin.
- Jimmy Ruffin Sings Top Ten (1967) - U.S. #133
- The Jimmy Ruffin Way (1967) - UK #32
- Ruff 'n' Ready (1969) - US #196, US R&B #50
- The Groove Governor (1970)
- I Am My Brother's Keeper (1970, with David Ruffin) - US #178, US R&B #15
- Jimmy Ruffin ... Forever (1973)
- Greatest Hits (1974) - UK #41
- I've Passed This Way Before (1974)
- Sunrise (1980) - US #152
- The Ultimate Motown Collection (2003) (2 CDs) 981 200-6
- TBA (2013)
|Label & Catalogue #||Title||Year||Chart positions|
|Miracle 1 (US)||"Don't Feel Sorry For Me" / "Heart"||1961||-||-||-|
|Soul 35022 (US) / Tamla Motown TMG577 (UK)||"What Becomes of the Brokenhearted" / "Baby I've Got It"||1966||7||6||10|
|Soul 35027 (US) / Tamla Motown TMG593 (UK)||"I've Passed This Way Before" / "Tomorrow's Tears"||1967||17||10||29|
|Soul 35032 (US) / Tamla Motown TMG603 (UK)||"Gonna Give Her All the Love I've Got" / "World So Wide Nowhere to Hide"||1967||29||14||26|
|Soul 35035 (US) / Tamla Motown TMG617 (UK)||"Don't You Miss Me a Little Bit Baby" / "I Want Her Love"||1967||68||27||-|
|Soul 35043 (US) / Tamla Motown TMG649/740 (UK)||"I'll Say Forever My Love" / "Everyone Needs Love"||1968||77||-||7|
|Tamla Motown TMG664 (UK)||"Don't Let Him Take Your Love From Me" / "Lonely Lonely Man Am I"||1968||-||-||-|
|Tamla Motown TMG703 (UK)||"I've Passed This Way Before" (re-issue) / "Tomorrow's Tears"||1969||-||-||33|
|Tamla Motown TMG726 (UK)||"Farewell is a Lonely Sound" / "If You Will Let Me I Know I Can"||1970||-||-||8|
|Tamla Motown TMG753 (UK)||"It's Wonderful (To Be Loved By You)" / "Maria (You Were the Only One)"||1970||-||-||6|
|Tamla Motown TMG767 (UK)||"Let's Say Goodbye Tomorrow" / "Living in a World I Created for Myself"||1970||-||-||-|
|Soul 35077 (US)||"Maria (You Were The Only One)" / "Living In A World I Created for Myself"||1970||97||-||-|
|Tamla Motown TMG784 (UK)||"On the Way Out (On the Way In)" / "Honey Come Back"||1971||-||-||-|
|Tamla Motown TMG911 (UK)||"What Becomes of the Brokenhearted" (re-issue) / "Don't You Miss Me a Little Bit Baby"||1974||-||-||4|
|Tamla Motown TMG922 (UK)||"Farewell is a Lonely Sound" (re-issue) / "I Will Never Let You Get Away"||1974||-||-||30|
|Tamla Motown TMG934 (UK)||"I've Passed This Way Before" (re-issue) / "Sad and Lonesome Feeling"||1974||-||-||-|
|Tamla Motown TMG961 (UK)||"I'll Say Forever My Love" (re-issue) / "It's Wonderful (To Be Loved By You)"||1974||-||-||-|
|Tamla Motown TMG996 (UK)||"Gonna Give Her All the Love I've Got" (re-issue) / "I've Passed This Way Before"||1974||-||-||-|
|Tamla Motown TMG1052 (UK)||"What Becomes of the Brokenhearted" (re-issue) / "I'll Pick a Rose For My Rose"||1974||-||-||-|
|Chess 2160 (US) / Polydor 2058 433 (UK)||"Tell Me What You Want"||1974||-||42||39|
|RSO 1021 (US) / RSO 57 (UK)||"Hold On To My Love" / instrumental version||1980||10||29||7|
|EMI 5524 (UK)||"That's When My Loving Begins"||1985||-||-||-|
|EMI 5541 (UK)||"There Will Never Be Another You"||1985||-||-||68|
|"-" denotes release did not chart.|
- Ribowsky, Mark (2010). Ain't Too Proud to Beg: The Troubled Lives and Enduring Soul of the Temptations. Hoboken, New Jersey: John Wiley & Sons. ISBN 978-0-470-26117-0. Pg. 89
- Biography at Oldies.com
- Biography by Kefauver Inge at Mississippi Writers and Musicians
- Biography by Chris Rizik at SoulTracks.com
- "Searching For Light" - biographical article at SoullyOldies.com
- Biography by Bill Dahl at Allmusic.com
- "Allmusic ((( Jimmy Ruffin > Charts & Awards > Billboard Albums )))".
- Whitburn, Joel (2003). Top Pop Singles 1955-2002 (1st ed.). Menomonee Falls, Wisconsin: Record Research Inc. p. 611. ISBN 0-89820-155-1.
- Rice, Tim (1985). Guinness British Hit Singles (5th ed.). London: Guinness World Records Limited. p. 188. ISBN 0-85112-429-1.
- "Allmusic ((( Jimmy Ruffin > Charts & Awards > Billboard Singles )))".
- "The Official Charts Company". Retrieved 2013-07-26.