b. Jimmy Lee Ruffin, 7th May 1939, Collinsville, Mississippi, U.S.A.
d. 17th November 2014, Las Vegas, Nevada, U.S.A.
Jimmy was, perhaps, best known for his Soul ballad 'What Becomes Of The Broken Hearted', a hugely popular slow dancer.
He was born in Collinsville, Mississippi, the son of a minister, born two years before his younger brother.
His cousin was Melvin Franklin, also of the Temptations.
the dixie nightingales
As siblings, the brothers began singing with the gospel group, the Dixie Nightingales (later to become Ollie and the Nightingales).
Jimmy turned to a more secular career in the early 60's, joining the Motown stable in 1961, for one single before he was drafted for national service.
don't feel sorry for me - 1961 / i want her love - 1964
Whilst at Motown, he sang on various sessions, including sides for the Miracle imprint ('Don't Feel Sorry For Me' b/w 'Heart' in 1961).
During his period in the service, he became part of a group called the Four Hollidays, (who released 3 sides for the Master and Markie labels).
After three years in the military, he returned to Motown, and was asked to join the Temptations, replacing Elbridge Bryant.
Jimmy suggested that his brother might want to audition for the replacement role.
Preferring to start a solo career, Jimmy Ruffin recorded for the Motown subsidiary, Soul.
At Soul, Jimmy recorded 'What Becomes' along with several other sides between 1964 and 1972.
The Soul sides were to see the light of day at the Motown main imprint via a couple of later compilations.
In 1966, 'What Becomes Of The Broken Hearted' became a tune destined for the group the Detroit Spinners.
Jimmy persuaded the writers (Weatherspoon, Riser & Dean) to allow him to record the record.
Jimmy's version of the song reached number 7 on the Billboard Hot 100 and number 6 on the R&B Chart.
The song also reached number 10 on the U.K. singles chart, rising to number 4 when it was reissued in the UK in 1974.
A follow up song was readied, entitled, 'East Side West Side', which was written by Ron Welser and Flamingos' member Terry 'Buzzy' Johnson, and was released only in Australia.
top ten - 1967 / the jimmy ruffin way - 1967
Other Stateside releases did well, including 'I've Passed This Way Before' and 'Gonna Give Her All the Love I've Got' which reached the U.S. charts in late 1966 and early 1967, songs were later recorded by his brother and the Temptations.
ruff 'n' ready - 1969 / i am my brothers keeper - 1970
the groove governor - 1970 / jimmy ruffin....forever - 1973
Jimmy's own sound proved popular in the U.K., and in 1970, 'Farewell Is A Lonely Sound', 'I'll Say Forever My Love' and 'It's Wonderful' all made the U.K. top ten.
He also teamed up with brother David to record the album 'I Am My Brother's Keeper', for Motown that included a hit cover of Ben E. King's 'Stand By Me'.
sunrise - 1980 / the foolish thing to do - 1986/12"
He then left Motown, and recorded for the Polydor ('Tell Me What You Want'), Atco ('Tears Of Joy'), Epic ('Fallin' In Love With You') and Chess ('What You See (Ain't Always What You Get)' imprints, before success returned in 1980 when Robin Gibb of the Bee Gees produced his album 'Sunrise', which featured the hit single 'Hold On To My Love', which reached number 10 in the U.S. and number 7 in the U.K., for the RSO label.
During the 1980's Jimmy relocated to Britain, where he continued to perform successfully.
In 1986 he collaborated with the British pop group Heaven 17, singing 'A Foolish Thing To Do' and 'My Sensitivity' on a 12" single.
Jimmy joined lan Levine's Motor City label in 1988, and recorded two singles with Brenda Holloway (including 'On The Rebound'), along with some additional work with Maxine Nightingale ('Turn To Me' b/w Give A Little Love (To Me)' for the Highrise label in 1982).
In 1984, he recorded a duet with Jackson Moore entitled 'I'm Gonna Love You Forever' for the ERC label.
Later, Jimmy hosted a radio show in the U.K. for a time, and became an anti-drug campaigner, following the death of his brother David in 1991.
He recently resided in the U.K., where he toured and performed, before recently returning to the States to reside in Las Vegas, Nevada.
Jimmy Ruffin passed away in Las Vegas, during November 2014.
Top Ten (Soul Records 1967)
The Jimmy Ruffin Way (Soul Records 1967)
Ruff 'n' Ready (Soul Records 1969)
The Groove Governor (Soul Records 1970)
with David Ruffin:
I Am My Brother's Keeper (Motown Records 1970)
Forever (Motown Records1973)
Greatest Hits (Motown Records 1974)
Love Is All We Need (Polydor Records 1975)
Sunrise (RSO Records 1980)