The man most of us know by his unmistakable, calming yet disturbed raspy voice was born Davis Eli Ruffin on January 18, , 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. David didn't have hits with either label, but they were good showcases for his vocal ability and talent.
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David Ruffin was one of the greatest soul singers of all time, though his success was intermittent after he was forced out of The Temptations in — a humiliation he did not take lying down. These 20 gems remind us just how brilliant David Ruffin was. Listen to the best David Ruffin songs on Spotify , and scroll down for our 20 best David Ruffin songs. David launched his post-Temptations career with this thrilling shard of Motown. A Top 10 US hit, it suggested Ruffin would find a solo career smooth sailing. Alas, that was not to be; it would take David six years to match its success. After , things would never be quite the same for both the singer and this truly beloved Motown act. This was his final composition. David Ruffin had plenty of competition when it came to this song.
David Ruffin began writing songs when he was a teenager. He sang in Memphis talent shows before eventually signing with Motown Records and joining the Temptations. With Ruffin at the helm, the Temptations hit it big with such songs as "My Girl" and "Ain't Too Proud to Beg" before Ruffin's drug use caused the band to implode and fire him. As a solo artist, Ruffin found occasional success, but he experienced a hard road, dying of a cocaine overdose two years after he was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.