About David Ruffin
David Ruffin, born Davis Eli Ruffin on January 18, 1941, in Whynot, Mississippi, was an American soul singer and one of the iconic lead vocalists of the legendary Motown group, The Temptations. Raised in a family of sharecroppers, Ruffin’s early years were marked by hardship and poverty. However, his natural talent for singing became apparent early on, and he found solace in music.
In the late 1950s, Ruffin and his family moved to Detroit, where he quickly became immersed in the vibrant local music scene. His powerful and distinctive voice caught the attention of Berry Gordy, the founder of Motown Records. In 1964, Ruffin joined The Temptations, replacing Elbridge “Al” Bryant as the lead vocalist.
Ruffin’s tenure with The Temptations was marked by numerous hits, including “My Girl,” “Ain’t Too Proud to Beg,” and “I Wish It Would Rain.” His charismatic stage presence and emotional delivery added a new dimension to the group’s performances. “My Girl,” in particular, became an enduring classic and showcased Ruffin’s ability to infuse soulful emotion into his singing.
Despite his success with The Temptations, Ruffin’s personal life was tumultuous, characterized by struggles with substance abuse and clashes with the group’s management. In 1968, he was fired from The Temptations, but his solo career took off with the release of the hit single “My Whole World Ended (The Moment You Left Me)” in 1969.
David Ruffin’s solo career had its highs and lows, marked by hits like “Walk Away from Love” and “Everything’s Coming Up Love.” However, his battles with addiction continued to plague him. Tragically, David Ruffin passed away on June 1, 1991, at the age of 50, succumbing to a drug overdose in Philadelphia.
Despite the challenges in his personal life, David Ruffin’s contributions to soul music and his indelible impact on The Temptations’ sound ensure that his legacy endures. His voice remains a symbol of the Motown era’s golden age, and his influence on subsequent generations of artists is unmistakable.
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