Jimmy Ruffin  

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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.
Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.
"Tell Me What You Want"

Jimmy Lee Ruffin (May 7, 1936 – November 17, 2014) was an American soul singer, and elder brother of David Ruffin of The Temptations.

He had several hit records between the 1960s and 1980s, the most successful being the Top 10 classics "What Becomes of the Brokenhearted", and "Hold On (To My Love)".



Jimmy and older 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 politely declined in favor of David.

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.


Ruffin abandoned his gospel background to become a session singer in the early 1960s. He first signed with a Motown Records subsidiary, the short-lived Miracle, in 1961. He recorded a one-off single, before he was drafted for national service. After leaving the U.S. Army, he returned to Motown, turning down the opportunity to join the Temptations and instead recommending his brother for the job.

His 1966 hit "What Becomes of the Brokenhearted" was a major success and his best known song. The intended follow-up, "East Side West Side", was released only in Australia, however, due to an argument with Motown head Berry Gordy. The song was written by Ron Welser and The Flamingos' member Terry "Buzzy" Johnson. In 1970, with his brother David, Ruffin also released a popular cover version of "Stand By Me" (by Ben E. King), taken from the Ruffin Brothers' album, I Am My Brother's Keeper.

Ruffin's other hits include "I've Passed This Way Before", "Gonna Give Her All the Love I've Got", "Don't You Miss Me A Little Bit Baby", "I'll Say Forever My Love", "It's Wonderful To Be Loved By You" and "Tell Me What You Want". Ruffin left Motown in the early 1970s, and achieved minor success with singles on Polydor and Chess. Despite his popularity as a live performer in the UK, he enjoyed no significant hits for several years.

In 1980 he collaborated with the Bee Gees' musician Robin Gibb, who produced his album Sunrise. From it came the single which would be his last Top 10 UK and U.S. hit: "Hold On to My Love" A duet with Maxine Nightingale, "Turn To Me", was a modest seller in 1982, while Ruffin's only other success of note in the 1980s was the UK chart contender "There Will Never Be Another You" in 1985.

In 1986 Ruffin collaborated with the British pop group Heaven 17, singing "A Foolish Thing To Do" and "My Sensitivity" on a 12" EP record. He joined Ian Levine's Motorcity Records label in 1988, and recorded two singles with Brenda Holloway.

In the 1980s, Ruffin moved to England, where he has his own talk show.

He continues to tour and perform to this day. In addition to his now deceased brother David, Ruffin had three other siblings: Quincy, Rita Mae (deceased) and Rosa (deceased).



  • Top Ten (1967) - U.S. #133
  • The Jimmy Ruffin Way (1967) - UK #32
  • Ruff 'n' Ready (1969) - U.S. #196, U.S. R&B #50
  • I Am My Brother's Keeper (1970) - U.S. #178, U.S. R&B #15
  • Jimmy Ruffin ... Forever (1973)
  • Greatest Hits (1974) - UK #41
  • Sunrise (1980) - U.S. #152


  • TMG577 "What Becomes of the Brokenhearted" / "Baby I've Got It" (1966) - U.S. #7, U.S. R&B #6, UK #8
  • TMG593 "I've Passed This Way Before" / "Tomorrow's Tears" (1967) - U.S. #17, U.S. R&B #10, UK #29
  • TMG603 "Gonna Give Her All the Love I've Got" / "World So Wide Nowhere to Hide" (1967) - U.S. #29, U.S. R&B #14, UK #26
  • TMG617 "Don't You Miss Me a Little Bit Baby" / "I Want Her Love" (1967) - U.S. #68, U.S. R&B #27
  • TMG649 "I'll Say Forever My Love" / "Everyone Needs Love" (1968) - U.S. #77, UK #7
  • TMG664 "Don't Let Him Take Your Love From Me" / "Lonely Lonely Man Am I" (1968)
  • TMG703 "I've Passed This Way Before" (re-issue) / "Tomorrow's Tears" (1969) - UK #33
  • TMG726 "Farewell is a Lonely Sound" / "If You Will Let Me I Know I Can" (1970) - UK #8
  • TMG740 "I'll Say Forever My Love" / "Everybody Needs Love" (1970) - U.S. #77
  • TMG753 "It's Wonderful (To Be Loved By You)" / "Maria (You Were the Only One)" (1970) - UK #6
  • TMG767 "Let's Say Goodbye Tomorrow" / "Living in a World I Created for Myself" (1970)
  • TMG784 "On the Way Out (On the Way In)" / "Honey Come Back" (1971)
  • TMG911 "What Becomes of the Brokenhearted" (re-issue) / "Don't You Miss Me a Little Bit Baby" (1974) - UK #4
  • TMG922 "Farewell is a Lonely Sound" (re-issue) / "I Will Never Let You Get Away" (1974) - UK #30
  • TMG934 "I've Passed This Way Before" (re-issue) / "Sad and Lonesome Feeling" (1974)
  • TMG961 "I'll Say Forever My Love" (re-issue) / "It's Wonderful (To Be Loved By You)" (1974)
  • TMG996 "Gonna Give Her All the Love I've Got" (re-issue) / "I've Passed This Way Before" (1974)
  • TMG1052 "What Becomes of the Brokenhearted" (re-issue) / "I'll Pick a Rose For My Rose" (1974)
  • Polydor 2058 433 "Tell Me What You Want" (1974) - U.S. R&B #42, UK #39
  • RSO 57 "Hold On to My Love" (1980) - U.S. #10, U.S. R&B #29, UK #7
  • EMI 5541 "There Will Never be Another You" (1985) - UK #68

See also

Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Jimmy Ruffin" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on original research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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