Jimmy Ruffin: Not Just David’s Brother

Jimmy RuffinThe great soul singer Jimmy Ruffin died on Monday at the age of 78. He is best known for the song “What Becomes of the Brokenhearted,” which we will listen to shortly. I just wanted to mention that the obituaries for him have bugged me. He was the older brother of David Ruffin, lead singer for The Temptations in the mid-1960s when they had hits like “My Girl.” But Jimmy Ruffin was a major talent in his own right. What does a man have to do to get a little respect?

Part of the problem, I suppose, is that his career was focused on the United Kingdom. And you know Americans: if it doesn’t happen here, it never happened at all. Still Ruffin had two top-10 hits here. And “Brokenhearted” is one of those songs that was a lot bigger than its chart placement would indicate. I always thought it was a number one hit, but it only made it to number seven.

Ruffin had been very sick for at least the last month, but he had been performing until quite recently. He left us with a career that spanned seven decades, a dozen albums, and countless singles.

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