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Biography

Jump to: Overview (5) | Mini Bio (1) | Spouse (2) | Trade Mark (3) | Trivia (22) | Personal Quotes (5)

Overview (5)

Date of Birth 18 January 1941Whynot, Mississippi, USA
Date of Death 1 June 1991Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA  (drug overdose)
Birth NameDavis Eli Ruffin
Nickname Ruff
Height 6' 3" (1.91 m)

Mini Bio (1)

The man most of us know by his unmistakable, calming yet disturbed raspy voice was born Davis Eli Ruffin on January 18, 1941, in Whynot, Mississippi. His father, Eli Ruffin, was a Baptist minister. Only months after his birth his mother Ophelia Ruffin died, and his father later remarried, to a schoolteacher.

David began singing and touring at a very young age with his father and siblings in a gospel group. Leaving home at 13 to pursue the ministry, it was David's select showmanship that caught the eyes of some in the secular music industry. He then moved to Detroit, Michigan, and was signed to Anna Records in 1960 and then Check-Mate Records in 1961. David didn't have hits with either label, but they were good showcases for his vocal ability and talent. In 1964 he joined The Temptations, who had yet to chart a hit, at Motown Records. The "Tempts"' hitless status changed in March of 1965 with the classic "My Girl", on which David sang lead. The song stayed at #1 for eight weeks, and the rest is history. The same showmanship that brought David into the R&B industry caught the attention of fans around the world. His stage performance was dynamic. His dramatic hand gestures and slipping out of chorus to fall to his knees wasn't all this tall, slender man wearing black-framed glasses could do. His voice proved to be powerful, as he went on to sing lead on Temptations hits that brought joy and happiness in the turbulent times of the 1960s. These times also proved to be turbulent for the group, however. Tensions arose when David asked for billing before the group, a practice common among vocal groups of the time. Not only did David not get his name above the group's, but he was dismissed from the group in 1968. He was Still under contract at Motown, though, and his solo career got off to a promising start with the ballad "My Whole World Ended (The Moment You Left Me"). Subsequent releases failed, however, as did duets with his brother Jimmy Ruffin. Few of the songs charted and he blamed Motown for not properly promoting his music. In 1979 he left the label and went to Warner Brothers, where his career unfortunately went into a complete decline.

He later rejoined The Temptations for a reunion tour, but after that he fell obscurity, and his personal life also took a downward spiral when it came to light that he was suffering from substance abuse and depression. He eventually reunited with former Temptations colleague Eddie Kendricks (who was now also a solo artist) in 1986, and they began touring and performing with 'Artists Against Apartheid', Live-Aid, and Hall & Oates. In 1989 Otis Williams was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and David and Eddie begin touring with ex-Temptation Dennis Edwards. Weeks after the tour ended, David was dropped off at a Philadelphia hospital and an hour later the man who sang the biographical tune "Statue Of a Fool" from every bit of his heart and soul was pronounced dead. While the official cause of death was ruled a cocaine overdose, his family has come to believe that foul play was involved. When the world lost David Ruffin, it lost a life too short-lived, a heavenly voice, and a whimsical, charismatic man. He had one of the most recognizable voices in music. The joy and sadness in his songs can be felt by all. David's voice will continue to bridge the generation gap just as it crossed the color lines in the sixties and seventies. Legends are never forgotten and David Ruffin IS a musical LEGEND.

- IMDb Mini Biography By: anonymous

Spouse (2)

Sandra Ruffin (2 March 1978 - 18 July 1984) (divorced)
Joy Hamilton (April 1976 - ?) (divorced)

Trade Mark (3)

Raspy tenor/baritone singing voice
His black rimmed glasses
His signature move during his performances was to spin around, tossing the microphone from one hand to the other, drop to the floor with a leg split, and then rise back up.

Trivia (22)

Created the four-headed microphone.
Favorite actress was Sophia Loren.
His father was a Baptist Minister.
Favorite actor was Richard Burton.
Had four children Cheryl, Nedra, David jr, and Mone.
Younger brother of Jimmy Ruffin.
Distant cousin of Melvin Franklin.
Joined The Temptations in mid-January 1964, when he replaced Elbridge "Al" Bryant (aka Albridge Bryant), one of the group's three starring leads. In July 1968, he was replaced by Dennis Edwards, while he started a solo career.
Member of The Temptations famous 'Classic 5' line-up.
The Temptations were voted the 67th Greatest Rock 'n' Roll Artists of all time by Rolling Stone.
According to Otis Williams, the founder and only surviving member of The Temptations original group, Ruffin was a very funny, colorful, good-natured and hard-working man when he first joined the group, but fame gave him serious ego and attitude problems and drug addiction made him a very erratic worker, which eventually led to him being fired from the group.
Is portrayed by Leon in The Temptations biographical miniseries The Temptations (1998).
Despite the ego and attitude problems he developed towards the end of his tenure with The Temptations -- which stayed with him for the remainder of his life despite his attempts to change -- he always remained good friends with fellow Temptations singer Eddie Kendricks, who toured with Ruffin in the 1980s.
His older brother, singer Jimmy Ruffin, was offered the chance to sing with The Temptations, but he politely declined in favor of David, who went on to sing many of the classic 1960s Temptations songs, including "Beauty Is Only Skin Deep," "Ain't Too Proud to Beg," and the immortal "My Girl".
Angry and embittered at being fired from The Temptations, who he felt owed their success to him, he tried to sabotage the career of his replacement, Dennis Edwards, by showing up at the group's concerts and, whenever they started to perform one of the songs Ruffin himself had once sang lead on, he would jump onto the stage, steal the microphone away from Edwards and start singing, much to the embarrassment of the group but to the delight of the fans. The group later hired more security guards to keep him from entering their concerts.
Before he was fired from The Temptations, one of his requests was that the band's name be changed to "David Ruffin & The Temptations," in light of how The Supremes had their name changed to Diana Ross & The Supremes and, similarly, how The Miracles were known as Smokey Robinson & The Miracles, placing more emphasis on the lead singers. This was reportedly one of the reasons he was eventually fired from the group.
Worked up such a sweat recording the song "Ain't Too Proud to Beg" that, according to Otis Williams, his glasses were falling off his face.
His first solo song, "My Whole World Ended (The Moment You Left Me)," was originally intended for The Temptations when he was still the group's front man.
One of the first Motown artists who demanded regular accounting of the group's financial status, so as to know how the money was being handled, which caused friction between him and Motown founder Berry Gordy.
The Temptations were awarded a Star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame for Recording at 7060 Hollywood Boulevard in Hollywood, California.
Was romantically linked to Tammi Terrell.
Ex-brother-in-law of Clara Jackson.

Personal Quotes (5)

[Talking about his three-year absence following the 1982 The Temptations reunion tour] Sometimes an artist is lost and needs to find a new direction for himself or his music.
But they're just cheating the public now. People still expect Eddie [Eddie Kendricks], Paul [Paul Williams] and me when they see The Temptations. They are the voices they know although, in all honesty, Dennis Edwards can be considered a true Temptation.
At the beginning of the first couple of shows by myself, I'd be singing and then make a move as if to go into the background, but there wasn't any background. In the first couple of shows, that was missed. Now when I walk on . . . I have more room to walk.
Most of my life, I've been on my own, trying to do my thing. Everybody has to go out and face the reality of life. That's what everybody's got to do, do you own thing. Strength is your own thing.
I don't know what kind of voice I have, I really don't. It's just about "the feeling I get for the song.

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