A familiar name in the history of R&B music is that of the Temptations, a singing group with many years of success and countless adoring fans. But what you might not know is the story of Jimmy Ruffin, who turned down a chance to sing in the group and instead recommended his little brother, but ended up forging a pretty good solo career of his own.
The Ruffin brothers grew up in Mississippi as the sons of a minister, and even as children they sang in a gospel music group. By the early 1960s both Jimmy and David had become part of the Motown music scene. David eventually became part of the Temptations as a replacement for the departing Elbridge Bryant, but Jimmy — who had turned down the chance — hit it big with his best-selling solo record, “What Becomes of the Brokenhearted.”
It would be the beginning of a long, mostly successful career in pop music for the singer. Follow-ups like “I’ve Passed This Way Before” and “Gonna Give Her All the Love I’ve Got” sold a lot of records, and later he even teamed up with his brother for a while. As the years passed he continued to hit the charts with songs like “Tell Me What You Want” and “Hold On To Your Love,” and during the 1980s he opened a new chapter in life by moving to England.
He’d always been popular in Great Britain anyway, but the move invigorated his career when he was able to collaborate with British acts like pop group Heaven 17 and also hosted his own radio show for a while. Even now he continues to appear from time to time, entertaining his fans.