Rudolph "Rudy" Toombs (1914 – November 28, 1962), was an American songwriter who wrote "Teardrops from My Eyes", Ruth Brown's first number one R&B successful song. He wrote more successes for Brown, including "5-10-15 Hours", as well as "One Mint Julep" for the Clovers.
Toombs was born in Monroe, Louisiana, United States. Although he began as a vaudeville-style song-and-dance man, he became a productive lyricist and composer of doo-wop songs and rhythm and blues standards during the 1950s and 1960s. His best work was done at Atlantic Records, writing and arranging songs for Ahmet Ertegün. He died during 1962, murdered by robbers in the hallway of his apartment house in Harlem.
Ruth Brown credited Toombs as a major reason for her success. She describes him as joyful, exuberant man, so full of life that he passed that ebullience on to her. He taught her how to take a moody blues ballad and make it into a bouncy jump song.
Some of Toombs best known songs are listed below:
- "Teardrops from My Eyes" a hit for Ruth Brown
- "One Mint Julep", sung by the Clovers, went to number one on the R&B charts in 1951 and covered in an instrumental version by Ray Charles (R&B #1, Billboard Hot 100 #8 in 1961)
- "5-10-15 Hours" (sung by Ruth Brown, finished number one R&B in 1951)
- "One Bourbon, One Scotch, One Beer", written for Amos Milburn and covered by John Lee Hooker, Jimmy Witherspoon (1963), George Thorogood and the Destroyers, and in the television series Glee among others.
- "Thinking and Drinking"
- "Gum Drop", a hit for the Crew-Cuts in 1955
- "I'm Shakin'", a hit for Little Willie John, covered by the Blasters in 1981, Long John Baldry in 1996, Jack White in 2012, and Willy Moon in 2013
- "That's Your Mistake" (performed by Otis Williams in 1955, covered by the Crew Cuts)
- "Lonesome Whistle Blues" (covered by Freddie King in 1961; and by Chicken Shack in 1968)
- "I Cried and Cried"
- "I Get a Thrill"
- "It Hurts to Be in Love" (co-written with Julius Dixson) for Annie Laurie (1957)
His songs (apart from those recordings listed above) have been sung by the following artists:
- Amos Milburn
- Hank Ballard
- Freddy King
- Ella Mae Morse
- Otis Williams and the Charms
- The Orioles
- James Brown
- Big Joe Turner
- Louis Jordan
- Pat Boone
- Wynonie Harris
- Hank Snow
- Johnny "Guitar" Watson
- Betty Everett
- Frankie Laine
- The Five Keys
- Albert King
- Bill Haley & His Comets
- The Blasters
- Jack White
- Jim Dawson & Steve Propes (1992). What Was the First Rock'n'Roll Record. Boston & London: Faber & Faber. ISBN 978-0-571-12939-3.
- "Biography for Rudy Toombs". IMDb. Retrieved 2006-11-01.
- Shaw, Arnold (1978). Honkers and Shouter: The Golden Years of Rhythm & Blues. New York, N.Y.: Macmillan Publishing Company. ISBN 978-0-02-061740-2.
- "It Hurts to Be in Love - Annie Laurie : Listen, Appearances, Song Review". AllMusic. Retrieved 2013-03-12.
- "Rudy Toombs". allmusic.comj. Retrieved 2007-11-25.