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Died On This Date (June 1, 1991) David Ruffin / The Temptations

Posted by themusicsover on June 1, 2010

David Ruffin
January 18, 1941 – June 1, 1991

As one-time lead singer of the Temptations, David Ruffin is arguable the greatest lead voice to come out of Motown. From 1965’s “My Girl,” to “All I Need” and “I Wish It Was Rain,” Ruffin’s voice defined the group and perhaps the era. But mounting friction caused mostly by Ruffin’s swelling ego along with his addiction to cocaine began to tear the group apart, so he was replaced in 1968. Ongoing legal problems with Motown along with his growing dependency on drugs kept his post-Temptations career from reaching the level his true talent deserved. But in 1989, things appeared to be turning around when the Temptations were inducted into the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame, and Ruffin subsequently made peace with the other members of the group. He began working with Eddie Kendricks and Dennis Edwards, but within little over a year, Ruffin died of a drug overdose. There is some mystery about the circumstances leading to his death, like how he ended up at the hospital in Philadelphia, or what happened to $45,000 he was allegedly carrying before his death. There was even talk that his overdose might have been planned. But the official ruling nonetheless, was “accidental overdose.”   Ruffin’s mysterious death wasn’t the only one to haunt the Temptations. Founding member Paul Williams also died under suspicious circumstances.

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4 Responses to “Died On This Date (June 1, 1991) David Ruffin / The Temptations”

  1. Michelle said

    David Ruffin had a magical voice and it is sad he had so much pain in his life, but doing that time the world was full hatred and drugs ran rapid thanks to the good white man.

    • People make choices and there is nothing new under the sun. Drugs and hatred have always been around. We all have a story to tell some a litle more challenging than others. It’s to bad he didn’t make better choices and tha’t not the white man’s fault. He is the only responsible for his choices. My hope is that his life can serve as a learning experience for others. I see two really important lessons (1) don’t use drugs and (2) get some help from God and a good therapist or counselor.

  2. kayla wilson said

    I grew up on listening to Motown albeit I was not actually born when the Tempts started. My sister listened to the music all the time. She had so much passion when she sang along with the records. I thought she was so dramatic. However as I got older and listened, I realized how this music meant so much to African american who experienced the sound of Motown. Gosh I sometimes wish I was born during that time.

  3. Yes, the Motown period was full of talented people with a passion for music.

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