1976 David Ruffin – Walk Away From Love
Jimmy Ruffin was born in Mississippi in 1936. His younger brother Davis was born five years later, and became known as David. The two often sang in church groups.
To escape an abusive situation, David moved to Memphis with Eddie Bush, his guardian. Initially, he planned on a future in the ministry, but a year later he moved to Arkansas with Phineas Newborn, Sr., a jazz musician. He sang using the name David Bush.
By the late fifties, he had moved to Detroit. He found work assisting on construction of the building that became the future home of Motown. He and Marvin Gaye worked as apprentices at Anna Records and later began recording music as well.
In 1963, his brother told him that a new group called The Temptations need a tenor, and suggested that David try out with the group. He began recording backup vocals as a member of the group in January 1964, but signed an individual contract with Motown Records rather than a signing with the group itself.
Much of the early music of the Temptations came from Smokey Robinson, and he set out to write a song that captured David’s strengths. The song he came up with? My Girl, the first number one record for the Temptations. David went on to sing lead vocals on a large number of the group’s hit records.
David began to have problems with the group after he started using cocaine. The group fired him after he missed a performance in June 1968. He managed to get a second chance and rejoined the group, but the group fired him permanently when he showed up late for another show.
Since David’s contract was with Motown, he continued to record solo records for the label. The song My Whole World Ended (The Moment You Left Me) had been set up for the Temptations, but Motown had David record it as a solo record. The single came out in 1969 and reached #9 on the Hot 100 and #2 on the R&B chart.
Two singles that reached #11 and #18 on the R&B chart followed, but neither one reached the top forty on Hot 100.
He recorded an album with his brother and several more solo albums, but failed to place any singles on the top forty of any chart for over five years.
In 1975, Van McCoy produced an album for David. The single Walk Away From Love came from that album and returned David to the charts.
The single reached #9 on the Hot 100, gave David his only chart-topping single on the R&B chart, and even reached the top ten in the UK.
A few more minor R&B singles followed, but by 1979 the hits had dried up. David rejoined the Temptations briefly in 1982, but his cocaine use again left him on his own.
In 1985, David and Eddie Kendricks (another former lead singer for the Temptations) joined with Daryl Hall and John Oates and recorded a live album at the Apollo. A medley of songs from the album turned into a single that reached #20 on the Hot 100.
David and Eddie toured together and recorded one last single that reached the top ten on the R&B chart in 1987. In 1991, after a successful tour of England, an accidental overdose of crack cocaine resulted in David’s death.
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