David Ruffin

David Ruffin

Despite all the reports, the books, the movie – was David Ruffin really fired from Motown’s The Temptations?

Yes he was a very talented, arrogant, self-centered egotist just like his contemporaries at the time…Mick Jagger, Marvin Gaye, James Brown…you name ’em.

But is there another story that is yet to be told? Ruffin seemed to express it in his first solo album after his departure from the world-famous group. If one was to read between the lines, the titles seem to say it all: ‘Somebody Stole My Dream,’ ‘World Of Darkness,’ My Whole World Ended,‘ and others. But the most telling of all was a song that should have been made a single, ‘The Double Cross.’ That song is drenched with hurt, raw emotion, love, regret and passion like no other.

I’ve often wondered what a singer like Etta James or Aretha Franklin would have done with that song, but no one has dared to touch it. Ruffin – at the height of his vocal prowess (remember ‘Wish It Would Rain’?) –  showcases his full range. In an interview – shortly before he died – when asked about the circumstances surrounding his departure from The Temptations – he said, “How do you get fired from a group of that magnitude?”

This year marks the repeat calendar year of 1991…22 years ago when Ruffin died on Saturday June 1st. You may remember that Michael Jackson assisted with costs for Ruffin’s funeral at Detroit’s New Bethel Baptist Church where Aretha Franklin’s father was pastor and founding member. Minister Louis Farrakhan delivered the eulogy.

So for Black Music Month…my reflection is on this song that deserves more attention. Kudos to David Ruffin!!