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Posts Tagged ‘The Temptations’

Died On This Date (November 17, 2014) Jimmy Ruffin / Motown Great

Posted by themusicsover on November 17, 2014

Jimmy Ruffin
May 7, 1936 – November 17, 2014

jimmy-ruffinJimmy Ruffin was an American soul singer who, through much of the late ’60s, ’70s, and early ’80s, released several hit records.  Born in Mississippi to a family that would later would include brother and future Temptation, David Ruffin, Ruffin began singing at a very young age.  His first group of note was Gospel music’s, the Dixie Nightingales.  By the early ’60s, Ruffin was singing background sessions for Motown subsidiary, Miracle Records.  After serving in the US Army, Ruffin launched his solo career in 1964.  What followed was a succession of hits that included his signature song, “What Becomes of the Brokenhearted,” which reached #7 on the Billboard charts.  The ’70s were less kind to Ruffin, but he still scored some lesser hits while discovering a new audience in the UK.  In the ’80s, he relocated to England where he did well along the Northern Soul circuit.  He also collaborated with Paul Weller, Heaven 17, Maxine Nightingale, and Brenda Holloway, to name a few.  Ruffin eventually moved back to the US, settling in Las Vegas, Nevada.  He continued to record and release albums as recently as 2010’s I Am My Brother’s Keeper.   Jimmy Ruffin was 78 when he passed away on November 17, 2014.

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Died On This Date (March 3, 2013) Bobby Rogers / Smokey Robinson & The Miracles

Posted by themusicsover on March 3, 2013

Bobby Rogers
February 19, 1940 – March 3, 2013

bobby-rogersAs an original member of Motown’s legendary R&B group, the Miracles, Bobby Rogers sang on some of popular music’s most lasting songs.  Born on the same day and in the very same hospital as Smokey Robinson, Rogers wouldn’t meet his future band mate until 15 years later.  In 1959, the Miracles became the first group signed to Berry Gordy’s Motown/Tamla Records, and within a year, they had the label’s first million seller with “Shop Around.”  The group went on to release countless hit singles with Rogers singing on “You Really Got A Hold Of Me,” “The Tracks Of My Tears,” “Ooo Baby Baby,” “I Second That Emotion,” and many many more.  He was also reportedly responsible for the group’s onstage choreography.  Rogers remained in the Miracles until 1978, but participated in reunions in 1980 and 1993.  He ultimately retired from the group in 2011.  As a Motown songwriter, Rogers wrote or co-wrote such hits as “The Way You Do The Things You Do” (the Temptations), “What Love Has Joined Together” (Mary Wells), and “One More Heartache” (Marvin Gaye), among others. He was elected into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as a member of the Miracles in 2012.  Bobby Rogers was 73 when he passed away on March 3, 2013.  Cause of death was not immediately released, but he had reportedly been suffering from an undisclosed illness for some time.

Thanks to Henk de Bruin for the assist.

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Died On This Date (February 18, 2013) Damon Harris / The Temptations

Posted by themusicsover on February 18, 2013

Damon Harris (Born Otis Harris, Jr.)
July 17, 1950 – February 18, 2013

damon-harrisDamon Harris was a 3-time Grammy Award winning member of the legendary Motown group, the Temptations.  At just 20 years old, Harris was the youngest member of the outfit when he took Eddie Kendrick’s place in 1971.  He had previously sang in a popular Temptations cover band called the Young Tempts who actually scored a minor hit with their version of “I’ve Been Good to You.” It was under the moniker, the Young Vandals however, after Motown filed an injunction over their name.  During his four years with the Temptations, Harris sang on such hits as “Papa Was A Rollin’ Stone,” “Masterpiece,” and “Superstar (Remember How You Got Where You Are),” among others.  He also sang lead on “Love Woke Me Up This Morning” from 1972’s All Directions.  After leaving the Temptations in 1975, Harris reformed the Young Tempts, but this time as Impact, who charted with a handful of R&B and disco records through the latter part of the ’70s.  In 1978, he released Silk, the only album under his own name.  Harris retired from music in order to go to college during the ’80s, but by the ’90s he was back fronting a Temptations revival group and briefly touring with a reunited incarnation of the actual group.  During the late ’90s, Harris learned he was suffering from prostate cancer so turned his life’s focus on the fight against the disease by forming The Damon Harris Cancer Foundation.  Damon Harris ultimately died from the cancer on February 19, 2013.  He was 62.  Fellow Temptations Paul Williams, David Ruffin, Ali-Ollie Woodson, and Melvin Franklin have passed away as well.

Thanks to Craig Rosen at Number 1 Albums for the assist.



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Died On This Date (July 16, 2012) Bob Babbitt / Legendary Motown Funk Brothers Bassist

Posted by themusicsover on July 16, 2012

Bob Babbitt
DOB Unknown – July 16, 2012

Bob Babbitt was a Pittsburgh-born journeyman bassist who can rightfully claim to have played on more than 25 gold and platinum albums along with over 200 top 10 hits.  As part of the legendary Motown house band known as the Funk Brothers from 1966 to 1972, Babbitt can be heard playing on such timeless classics as Stevie Wonder’s “Signed, Sealed, Delivered,” the Temptations‘ “Just My Imagination (Running Away With Me),” Edwin Starr’s “War,” and Smokey Robinson & the Miracles‘ “The Tears Of A Clown” to name just a few. Prior to his stint at Motown, Babbitt played on several Del Shannon records, including “Little Town Flirt” and “I Go To Pieces.”  Following his run at Motown, Babbitt continued his hit-record contributions as part of Philadelphia International Records’ answer to the Funk Brothers, MFSB. Within that capacity, for instance, he played on several hits by the Spinners.  Babbitt also recorded or performed live with such superstars as Jimi Hendrix, Phil Collins, Jim Croce, Elton John, Frank Sinatra, Barry Manilow, and Bonnie Raitt.  During the ’80s, he played on several prominent commercial jingles and even dabbled in jazz with Herbie Mann and Stanley Turrentine. In 2002, he was profiled in the award-winning Funk Brothers documentary, Standing In The Shadows Of Motown.  In March of 2011, Babbitt made his last television appearance with Jacob Lusk during American Idol’s Motown Week.  Bob Babbitt died of brain cancer on July 16, 2012.  He was 74.

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Died On This Date (July 13, 2013) Maurice D. Davis / Motown’s Funk Brothers

Posted by themusicsover on July 13, 2012

Maurice D. Davis
June 9, 1941 – July 13, 2012

Maurice D. Davis was a respected trumpet player who, over the course of his long career, graced over 1500 recordings.  After graduating from Tennessee State University and teaching for two years at Rust College, Davis found himself in Detroit, Michigan.  The year was 1965, and Davis soon found himself playing in the legendary Motown session band, the Funk Brothers.  During his term that lasted until 1980, Davis played on recordings by or toured with the likes of the Supremes, the Four Tops, Stevie Wonder, Lionel Richie, and the Temptations on whose “Papa Was A Rolling Stone,” he particularly shined.  Beyond Motown, Davis played with Tony Bennett, Whitney Houston, Sammy Davis Jr., Dizzy Gillespie, and many more.  Through all this, Davis still found time to continue his teaching.  In 1997, he retired from the Detroit Public Schools after 32 years.  He also taught at Wayne State University from 1980 to 1995.  An ordained minister as well, Davis founded the Trumpeting High Praises Community Resources Center in Detroit in 1998.  In 2002, he was featured in the critically acclaimed documentary about the Funk Brothers, Standing In The Shadows of Motown.  Maurice D. Davis was 71 when he passed away on July 13, 2012.  Cause of death was not immediately released.

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