David Ruffin

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David Ruffin (Davis Eli Ruffin, January 18, 1941June 1, 1991) was an American soul singer. He is famous for his work as the lead singer of The Temptations from 1964 to 1968.

Life[change | change source]

As a child, David, along with his other siblings (older brothers Quincy and Jimmy and sister Rita Mae), toured with their father and stepmother as a family gospel group. Not much is known about Ruffin's childhood, except that his father was abusive and his mother died when he was two years old. What is known is that David Ruffin left home at the age of fourteen.

Ruffin spent time in Louisiana on a horse farm, in Memphis (where it was alleged that he was in a talent show with Elvis Presley), and in Arkansas.

In the mid-1950s, Ruffin sang with The Dixie Nightingales. He eventually made his way to Detroit, Michigan, where his older brother Jimmy Ruffin was pursuing a career in music while working at Ford Motor Company. Jimmy landed a contract with Miracle Records, one of several labels owned by Berry Gordy's Tamla (later Motown) Records. David performed in Detroit shows and even lived with Berry Gordy's parents for a brief period.