I loved everything about David Ruffin as lead of The Temptations and thereafter when he recorded solo, especially on “My Whole World Ended (The Moment You Left Me)” and the Van McCoy production, “Walk Away From Love”. I didn’t even connect the vinyl dots to realize that he had an older brother who could sing just as well in his own right until, [ I can’t remember when it was ] one day I acquired and really looked at the label of the 45rpm record, “What becomes Of The Brokenhearted” by Jimmy Ruffin and wondered as I played it, was this guy related to David. Or maybe I had a previous inkling… There was no “Googling” back then to learn instantly the answer, and so I had to rely upon my “ear” for music which heard the similarities of voice that let me know these two singers were related for sure!
I have used Jimmy’s biggest hit to accentuate at least two blogs here at ‘Achilliad‘ since I began to do this in 2009. One was me crying the blues about some chick that deserted me in love back in, I think, 2008 or nine, the other more recently as a part of a collection of “tune wedgies” that I had get off my (mind) chest.
But this post, Jimmy, is for YOU. Posthumously, yes, but I was always by your side due to the anthem of unrequited love that you gave us. With tears wanting to well-up behind my eyes, I dedicate this post to you, Jimmy, who, unbeknownst to you because we never met, held my hand many a night whey I really cried over a lost love. If I were the Program Director of a radio station right now, I would play a whole hour of your music, both the familiar and obscure even if I had to play “What Becomes Of The Brokenhearted” back-to-back-to-back-to-back and then some. You were a non-spotlight seeker whose light of class and groundedness belied the showbiz stereotypes. London was a good place for you to be more appreciated – good move to go there, Sir!
Here is one by Jimmy that is really the first time I heard him! It was on Volume 9 of the famous vinyl “Motown Collections Of 16 Original Hits” albums!
Again, the unrequited love theme on, “Don’t You Miss Me A Little Bit Baby”…
I knew you must have been David’s older brother because of the similarities of stature and movement, like that little hand-to-hand move you did with the mic while singing the oft-sampled lyric, “Always moving and goin’ nowhere.” Knowing you are not in the physical world any longer moves me to seriousness with the knowledge that your spirit is singing with the angels as your body rests in musical peace having let me express my many failed love relationships via your wonderful one-hit wonder.
“What Becomes Of The Brokenhearted”? We just drag along until we have a chance to join the departed.
Jimmy Ruffin: 1937 – 2014