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Jimmy Ruffin

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. 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. 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 United States difficult 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 1970 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, Ruffin 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 Great 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", produced to raise money for the families of striking miners affected by the UK miners' strike. 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 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 mini-series The Temptations.


Jimmy Ruffin was born in Collinsville, Mississippi to Eli, a sharecropper, and Ophelia Ruffin. He was approaching his fifth birthday when his younger 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. 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.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. 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 United States difficult 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 1970 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".[5] Following the success of his first two hits, Ruffin 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 Great 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", produced to raise money for the families of striking miners affected by the UK miners' strike. 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 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 mini-series The Temptations.

Jimmy Ruffin (born May 7, 1939, Collinsville, Mississippi]) is an American soul singer and elder brother of David Ruffin, one of the lead singers for The Temptations. Jimmy himself was offered a chance to sing with the Temptations, but he declined in favor of David.He had a handful of UK and U.S. hits (several charting twice). Ruffin relocated to the UK, and was in a one-off hit act, Council Collective, a Paul Weller project.

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What Becomes Of The Brokenhearted

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