David Ruffin was the lead voice in The Temptations, singing some of their most important hits including “My Girl”, “Ain’t to Proud to Beg” and “I Wish It Would Rain.” He was clearly one of the most important voices in the history of soul music.
His raspy, yet sweet, voice was an inspiration to many other singers including a number of rock artists that covered his material like Rod Stewart as a solo artist (“(I Know) I’m Losing You”) and with the Faces (“I Wish It Would Rain”) and Mick Jagger (“Ain’t to Proud to Beg”).
But Ruffin was also a flawed man, succumbing to substance abuse that affected his ability to keep his professional commitments to the group. This eventually led to him being fired… sort of. He famously showed up at a number of their gigs where he would jump up on stage, grab the mic from his replacement (Dennis Edwards) and sing some of his best known songs. This was all portrayed in a 1998 miniseries on NBC.
Once Ruffin left the Tempts, his career was virtually over even though he continued to record, release and perform material up until his death in 1991 at age 50. But not quite. His first release as a solo artist is a classic and today’s SotW – “My Whole World Ended (The Moment You Left Me).”
This is a very cool song. It opens with a flute piece that’s based on “Frühlingslied” by Felix Mendelssohn. Then the Funk Brothers kick in with another steady groove — a funky bassline, sharp horn charts, and Latin percussion.
Then comes “the voice.” Ruffin’s performance is intense and emotional – as if he has something to prove (to his former group, and he does). You can feel his pain as he describes how he can’t go on without the woman that ditched him. He wants so badly to understand why she left him (and hopes he can convince her to come back).
Oh tell me baby
Where did I go wrong, honey
Whatever changed your mind, baby
I’ve asked myself these questions over a million times
Baby, baby, oh baby
My whole world ended the moment you left me
I can listen to this song a thousand times and never tire of it. They just don’t make ‘em like this anymore.
Oops. Last Saturday I told you it was Record Store Day. I was a week ahead of myself. In fact, today is Record Store Day. So please support your favorite independent record store and treat yourself to a vinyl collectible today.
Enjoy… until next week.