Today - May 7 - would have marked Jimmy Ruffin's 84th birthday.
Born in Collinsville, Mississippi in 1936, Ruffin, who was the older brother of Temptations' frontman David, signed with Motown and scored Berry Gordy's Soul label countless hits. We celebrate the life and legacy of the Motown star with a compilation of his definitive hits. What's your favorite Ruffin tune?
5. "He Ain't Heavy He's My Brother"
The Ruffin Brothers came together in this title-track of their collaborative album in 1970. Written by Bob Russell and Bobby Scott, "He Ain't Heavy He's My Brother" remains one of the most covered songs of all time, including Glen Campbell, Gladys Knight, Olivia Newton John and The Hollies. But given the blood relation of the Ruffin duo cemented their duet with an unbeatable realness.
4. "I'll Say Forever My Love"
Although the singer failed to find a sustainable audience within the states, Ruffin continued to build his rapport with his UK fans with this 1970 hit, which charted in UK's Top Ten alongside "Farewell Is A Lonely Sound" and "It's Wonderful (To Be Loved By You)."
3. "Don't You Miss Me A Little Bit Baby"
"I hear you're telling everybody/ That you're glad I'm gone./ Do you tell them how you cried/ Whenever you were all alone?
Ruffin poured his heart and his woes into this fourth single, but the real life story behind the song went on to become even more sorrowful than its original lyrics. Cowriter Rodger Penzabene was inspired channel his heartbreak into writing the song when he discovered that his wife was cheating on him. Penzabene would continue to similar songs that The Temptations would eventually record, until the songwriter could no longer bear the anguish of his overwhelming heartache and committed suicide on New Year's Eve.
2. "Hold On (To My Love)"
"Hold On (To My Love)" became the singer's comeback hit in1980 when the tune climbed to No. 10 on the Hot 100. The Bee Gees' Robin Gibb teamed up with songwriter and keyboardist Blue Weaver to write the song and more in his album Sunrise.
1. "What Becomes of the Brokenhearted"
The soul singer's signature 1966 hit is a soul classic, cemented by Motown Records' head Berry Gordy describing the song as "one of the greatest songs put out by Motown and also one of my personal favorites." The tune was originally written by William Weatherspoon, Paul Riser and James Dean for the Spinners, but Ruffin persuaded Dean that his brooding tenor vocals could bring new life to the anguish-filled song. The song climbed to No. 7 on Billboard's Hot 100 and the rest is history.