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  1. #1

    BG vs. David Ruffin

    In Mr. Gordy's book, he stated that "David Ruffin was going to be a big star"!!!! Maybe, that is where, Mr. Ruffin got the notion that "nobody is coming to see you Otis". Did Mr. Gordy planted the "seed of discontent" with the Temptations????

  2. #2
    No,i think that david's ego was pretty big before berry wrote anything..some may not know that david and melvin were cousins,and when he wanted to join the temps blue told him that it wouldn't work because he was a solo artist and the temps were serious about singing together.

  3. #3
    Melvin was related to everybody....Including Rick James!!!LOL!!!

  4. #4
    I wish David had become a big star. He definitely had the voice to.

  5. #5
    Quote Originally Posted by arr&bee View Post
    No,i think that david's ego was pretty big before berry wrote anything..some may not know that david and melvin were cousins,and when he wanted to join the temps blue told him that it wouldn't work because he was a solo artist and the temps were serious about singing together.
    LOL, looks like Melvin saw the events of 1968 a mile off!!!

  6. #6
    Quote Originally Posted by TomatoTom123 View Post
    I wish David had become a big star. He definitely had the voice to.
    You are not lying. One of the greatest singers ever. And hands down the greatest singer on Motown. And that’s saying a lot. From smooth to rough. From a powerful baritone to female register high notes. We will never see a talent like Ruffin again.

  7. #7
    Quote Originally Posted by Encyclopedia Mack View Post
    You are not lying. One of the greatest singers ever. And hands down the greatest singer on Motown. And that’s saying a lot. From smooth to rough. From a powerful baritone to female register high notes. We will never see a talent like Ruffin again.
    I completely agree E Mack. Those high notes still get me sometimes.

  8. #8
    Quote Originally Posted by Encyclopedia Mack View Post
    You are not lying. One of the greatest singers ever. And hands down the greatest singer on Motown. And that’s saying a lot. From smooth to rough. From a powerful baritone to female register high notes. We will never see a talent like Ruffin again.
    Yes he was. One of the greatest male singers ever!

  9. #9
    Quote Originally Posted by arr&bee View Post
    No,i think that david's ego was pretty big before berry wrote anything..some may not know that david and melvin were cousins,and when he wanted to join the temps blue told him that it wouldn't work because he was a solo artist and the temps were serious about singing together.
    I will agree. David did not need any ego boosting from Mr. Gordy. He already believed he was the greatest even before he had a big hit record! The way he performed with the Temptations (throwing up the mic, catching it and then falling down into a split), is the way he was already performing as a solo artist before joining the Temptations.

  10. #10
    Quote Originally Posted by dvus7 View Post
    Melvin was related to everybody....Including Rick James!!!LOL!!!
    As far as I know, Melvin Franklin was only related to Richard Street and Rick James. David Ruffin and he were not related. They were "play" or "pretend" cousins. We use to do that in my neighborhood with our close friends.

  11. #11
    Quote Originally Posted by Encyclopedia Mack View Post
    You are not lying. One of the greatest singers ever. And hands down the greatest singer on Motown. And that’s saying a lot. From smooth to rough. From a powerful baritone to female register high notes. We will never see a talent like Ruffin again.
    I would have to fight you about that. I say Levi Stubbs was the greatest male singer at Motown. David was the best male singer/performer.

  12. #12
    I have never understood why the magnificent David Ruffin was blasted for his ego when Diana Ross was treated the way she was. (Well ok she was with Berry but Ruffin was sooooo talented and yet not given half the breaks).

  13. #13
    Quote Originally Posted by luke View Post
    I have never understood why the magnificent David Ruffin was blasted for his ego when Diana Ross was treated the way she was. (Well ok she was with Berry but Ruffin was sooooo talented and yet not given half the breaks).
    A most excellent point Luke! Even in some of those early Motortown Revue group pictures, you see Diana Ross showing off in the front of the entire group of artists. Yeah she had a huge ego and was nasty to people,but she had Mr. Gordy, David did not.

  14. #14
    Ruff had the swagger of a solo star. He started off solo before he decided he wanted to join the Temptations. I'm guessing a good half thought the Tempts would be a great springboard on him but the other half really wanted to stay with them because of the family environment they brought to the table, an "us against them" mentality.

    I think from the way Berry said that David "could've been a star", he was bringing up Ruff's personal problems (his cocaine habit was already wrecking opportunities for him) and refusing to show up to concerts because he wanted to get intoxicated played a lot into why his career never became really hot after he left the Temptations.

  15. #15
    Yeah I think that's it midnight. David was probably seen as unreliable, a liability. Such a shame, because he had the voice and the (ahem) confidence to be a solo star IMO.

  16. #16
    Quote Originally Posted by midnightman View Post
    Ruff had the swagger of a solo star. He started off solo before he decided he wanted to join the Temptations. I'm guessing a good half thought the Tempts would be a great springboard on him but the other half really wanted to stay with them because of the family environment they brought to the table, an "us against them" mentality.

    I think from the way Berry said that David "could've been a star", he was bringing up Ruff's personal problems (his cocaine habit was already wrecking opportunities for him) and refusing to show up to concerts because he wanted to get intoxicated played a lot into why his career never became really hot after he left the Temptations.
    David Ruffin was a star. I don't know what Mr. Gordy meant, but David and the Temptations sure made a lot of money for Motown.

  17. #17
    Quote Originally Posted by marv2 View Post
    as far as i know, melvin franklin was only related to richard street and rick james. David ruffin and he were not related. They were "play" or "pretend" cousins. We use to do that in my neighborhood with our close friends.
    marv,you may be right,but blue said in an article years ago that he and david were related.

  18. #18
    Quote Originally Posted by luke View Post
    I have never understood why the magnificent David Ruffin was blasted for his ego when Diana Ross was treated the way she was. (Well ok she was with Berry but Ruffin was sooooo talented and yet not given half the breaks).
    Diana was unique is that she really was one of (if not the) most versatile performer at motown. her ability to handle an astonishing array of musical styles is what set her apart. plus she was and still is an fantastic stage performer.

    these qualities perfectly matched her with Berry's goal of crossover, mainstream success. he wanted to take a star into the worlds of tv, movies, las vegas, etc. He was looking for a dynamic star that could be mistress of ceremonies for Hollywood. And he's been quoted in multiple books of saying that he'd rather work with a female star or group because they'll have an easier time of crossing over to white audiences as they're seen as less threatening.

    now none of this is saying the David's talents were lacking or that his stage performance wasn't good. on the contrary - he's an amazing talent. but his expertise really fell outside of Berry's extra focused viewpoint that i listed above. David would have been a mega star had motown been willing to simultaneously develop talent in another genre, such as the r&b world that Atlantic and other labels really hit upon in the late 60s and early 70s.

  19. #19
    Quote Originally Posted by marv2 View Post
    I would have to fight you about that. I say Levi Stubbs was the greatest male singer at Motown. David was the best male singer/performer.
    Levi is real close. Levi is also one of my favorite vocalist. And I will say Levi’s voice is stronger than Ruffin. But overall vocal range Ruffin has got him. Ruffin has a powerful voice. But he can sing in a smoth tenor like“My Girl” or “Since I Lost My Baby.” He sang a song completely in falsetto range “Youll Lose A Precious Love.” A lot of people haven’t heard Ruffins solo material. That’s where you really see what he can do. Ruffin can hit those gospel scream notes. He can hit those screams and talk at the same time. And his falsetto is magnificent. He hits the bird note. The female register note. Not too many male singers can hit the bird not. Especially with a naturally raspy voice. Ruffin just had so many vocal weapons. No other singer on Motown is on his level. Very few are on his level period.

  20. #20
    Quote Originally Posted by Encyclopedia Mack View Post
    Levi is real close. Levi is also one of my favorite vocalist. And I will say Levi’s voice is stronger than Ruffin. But overall vocal range Ruffin has got him. Ruffin has a powerful voice. But he can sing in a smoth tenor like“My Girl” or “Since I Lost My Baby.” He sang a song completely in falsetto range “Youll Lose A Precious Love.” A lot of people haven’t heard Ruffins solo material. That’s where you really see what he can do. Ruffin can hit those gospel scream notes. He can hit those screams and talk at the same time. And his falsetto is magnificent. He hits the bird note. The female register note. Not too many male singers can hit the bird not. Especially with a naturally raspy voice. Ruffin just had so many vocal weapons. No other singer on Motown is on his level. Very few are on his level period.
    How about that scream on "That's Life", near the end. That's some serious stuff right there!

  21. #21
    Quote Originally Posted by lockhartgary View Post
    How about that scream on "That's Life", near the end. That's some serious stuff right there!
    Exactly. Ruffin has that trademark scream. Have you heard his version of the song “Blackmail?” Towards the end he screamed the words Blackmail. Just God given talent. Ruffin just had it all in one singer.

  22. #22
    Quote Originally Posted by Encyclopedia Mack View Post
    Exactly. Ruffin has that trademark scream. Have you heard his version of the song “Blackmail?” Towards the end he screamed the words Blackmail. Just God given talent. Ruffin just had it all in one singer.
    And I just remembered his scream on Sullivan with the Temps and DRATS. At the 4:05 mark. By the way, I've never before seen this clip at it's full length until now.


  23. #23
    Quote Originally Posted by lockhartgary View Post
    And I just remembered his scream on Sullivan with the Temps and DRATS. At the 4:05 mark. By the way, I've never before seen this clip at it's full length until now.

    https://youtu.be/LvtkabCstTc
    Blackmail. Listen to the whole song. Scroll to 3:19 and 3:28. He actually screams and sings the words “Blackmail” at the same time. Ultimate technique. Ruffin is just the greatest.

  24. #24
    it's amazing how many amazing vocalists there were in Detroit at the time. I do love levi and the tops. i just happen to listen to them more than the temps. need to do more exploration of the Temps catalog. it might be that i tire just a little of the falsetto singing of Eddie, although i absolutely admit he was immensely talented and a great falsetto voice.

  25. #25
    I'm sorry but Levi WISHES he could sing like David. Levi is indeed one of the greatest singers of all time, but David hits notes that you wouldn't expect. One of the few male vocalists who could actually sing high notes and HOLD IT (case in point the "My Girl" performance with Eddie at D.C. in '72).

    Just imagine if his solo career had taken off, he'd be seen as one of the GREATEST. In terms of greatest male Motown vocalists, he and Marvin would go toe to toe for me. Such a shame David never became a superstar. A doggone shame.

  26. #26
    Quote Originally Posted by marv2 View Post
    As far as I know, Melvin Franklin was only related to Richard Street and Rick James. David Ruffin and he were not related. They were "play" or "pretend" cousins. We use to do that in my neighborhood with our close friends.
    If you would read, Richard streets book...he stated that he and Melvin were not related. That Melvin stayed with him, because of problems at Melvin's house. Rick James never mentioned Melvin franklin being related to him in either book!!!! Motown publicity!!!

  27. #27
    Quote Originally Posted by dvus7 View Post
    If you would read, Richard streets book...he stated that he and Melvin were not related. That Melvin stayed with him, because of problems at Melvin's house. Rick James never mentioned Melvin franklin being related to him in either book!!!! Motown publicity!!!
    Well, Melvin said he and Richard Street were cousins. In high school Melvin wanted to date Mary Wilson and Richard did date Diane Ross. I went to high school with Richard Street's cousins. Melvin and Rick James said that they were related and that Melvin was Rick's uncle. That's what they said.........!

  28. #28
    Levi Stubbs was the best male singer Motown ever had!

  29. #29
    Not that this is my source for Melvin Franklin and Richard Street being cousins because I had heard that from both of them before the internet was invented:


    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Richard_Street

  30. #30
    Quote Originally Posted by marv2 View Post
    Levi Stubbs was the best male singer Motown ever had!
    In YOUR opinion. In my opinion Marvin Gaye was the greatest followed by David Ruffin and then followed by Levi.

  31. #31
    Quote Originally Posted by marv2 View Post
    ..... because I had heard that from both of them before the internet was invented:


    t
    heeheehee.

  32. #32
    Quote Originally Posted by marv2 View Post
    Well, Melvin said he and Richard Street were cousins. In high school Melvin wanted to date Mary Wilson and Richard did date Diane Ross. I went to high school with Richard Street's cousins. Melvin and Rick James said that they were related and that Melvin was Rick's uncle. That's what they said.........!
    Where did Rick James state that Melvin was his uncle...Please provide the source!!!! Besides Wikipedia!!!LOL!!!

  33. #33
    Quote Originally Posted by dvus7 View Post
    Where did Rick James state that Melvin was his uncle...Please provide the source!!!! Besides Wikipedia!!!LOL!!!
    It's out there somewhere......go find it!

  34. #34
    I'm just curious...You going to school with Richard Street"s cousins...what does that mean??? from what I have gathered, you were a "schooler" around 1968-70? Richard street did not get into the temps until 72!!!!LOL!!

  35. #35
    Quote Originally Posted by midnightman View Post
    I'm sorry but Levi WISHES he could sing like David.
    I have a feeling that there was never a day that Levi Stubbs woke up wishing he could sing like anybody but himself. He was a force of nature. You don't envy other voices when you sound like that.

  36. #36
    Quote Originally Posted by RanRan79 View Post
    I have a feeling that there was never a day that Levi Stubbs woke up wishing he could sing like anybody but himself. He was a force of nature. You don't envy other voices when you sound like that.
    That may be true. They were both great. But I honesty can't compare them or compare both to Marvin per se or Dennis Edwards... WOW, Motown had some of the greatest singers alive with those four! I can't even imagine a group with them. Too many ego clashes lmao

  37. #37
    Quote Originally Posted by Roberta75 View Post
    In YOUR opinion. In my opinion Marvin Gaye was the greatest followed by David Ruffin and then followed by Levi.
    I really cannot choose between these three magnificent vocalists. I probably change my opinion on a daily business, but today i do believe i would have to agree with you dear Roberta. Whichever way you look it these three guys were simply the best.

  38. #38
    they had totally different approaches to music and singing and so to directly compare them is not only challenging but frankly overlooks key attributes that make each great.

  39. #39
    Quote Originally Posted by midnightman View Post
    That may be true. They were both great. But I honesty can't compare them or compare both to Marvin per se or Dennis Edwards... WOW, Motown had some of the greatest singers alive with those four! I can't even imagine a group with them. Too many ego clashes lmao
    There's no need to compare them. A discussion of David Ruffin's talent shouldn't involve discussion of anyone else's talent. All of those men, Marvin and Dennis being included, were great in their own right, using what God gave them and using it the way they artistically thought best. For me no male voice comes close to Marvin in the way that it affects me, but Marvin is Marvin just like David is David. Personally I wouldn't begin to know how to compare them except in the most simplest of ways and that's by stating that vocally David doesn't do for me what Marvin does for me. But I wouldn't be able to quantify what makes one "better" than the other. They were all effective, legendary voices.

    And yeah, that super group would've been too much to handle. Levi probably would've been the least likely to have an ego issue, but Marvin, David and Dennis in the same group? I give it a year, tops. And I'm being generous with that. LOL

  40. #40
    Haha yeah that's true. And I'll refrain from it from now on in this post.

    But yeah Levi was mellow. Marvin, David & Dennis would probably have to fight it out.

  41. #41
    Quote Originally Posted by midnightman View Post
    Haha yeah that's true. And I'll refrain from it from now on in this post.

    But yeah Levi was mellow. Marvin, David & Dennis would probably have to fight it out.
    Ali-Ollie Woodson was as tough as all of them. He could hang with David without breaking a sweat.
    Last edited by marv2; 10-31-2018 at 09:15 PM.

  42. #42
    That was on thing about Motown, Detroit, etc and whatever and that was no matter how good you thought you were, they could always go right out and find another singer just as good or better. You saw what happened with the Supremes in 1969-70. In terms of just pure singing talent, just about anyone you can mention had someone out there that sang just as good. Hello JJ Barnes, where are you tonight bro? LOL!

  43. #43
    I have to do this. Big fan of Levi and Marvin. But Ruffin’s vocal range just leaps above theirs. I’ll give one song.
    https://youtu.be/FNhOUTmO0Yo
    Listen to this honestly and tell me another Motown artist that can touch Ruffins vocal range. Honestly. Listen to the entire song.

  44. #44
    Quote Originally Posted by Encyclopedia Mack View Post
    I have to do this. Big fan of Levi and Marvin. But Ruffin’s vocal range just leaps above theirs. I’ll give one song.
    https://youtu.be/FNhOUTmO0Yo
    Listen to this honestly and tell me another Motown artist that can touch Ruffins vocal range. Honestly. Listen to the entire song.
    You prefer Ruffin, nothing wrong with that. He's great and he kills "World of Darkness", but I think both Marvin and Levi could've sang the same song and been just as effective. For my taste I'd rather hear Marvin and Levi sing it than David, but it's a personal preference. David definitely possessed a gift from God, but so did the other men. None of them are any better than the other, they're just each somebody else's favorite.

  45. #45
    Quote Originally Posted by RanRan79 View Post
    You prefer Ruffin, nothing wrong with that. He's great and he kills "World of Darkness", but I think both Marvin and Levi could've sang the same song and been just as effective. For my taste I'd rather hear Marvin and Levi sing it than David, but it's a personal preference. David definitely possessed a gift from God, but so did the other men. None of them are any better than the other, they're just each somebody else's favorite.
    I hear you. But honestly Ruffin is my favorite singer but Levi is my second. But it is everyone’s opinion. Davids vocal range is just off the meter. Strong voice that can sing completely in falsetto, scream, and hit the bird notes on command.

  46. #46
    Quote Originally Posted by Encyclopedia Mack View Post
    I hear you. But honestly Ruffin is my favorite singer but Levi is my second. But it is everyone’s opinion. Davids vocal range is just off the meter. Strong voice that can sing completely in falsetto, scream, and hit the bird notes on command.
    He really did have an incredible range. So many great vocal performances to choose from, both as a Tempt and a solo. Some of his Warner Bros material is so underrated. I am partial to his work as a Tempt though. "Since I Lost My Baby", "I Know I'm Losing You", "Say You", "That'll Be the Day", some of my favorite David moments as a Tempt. "Common Man", "Statue of a Fool", "Just Let Me Hold You", "A Day In the Life of a Working Man", some of my fav David solo moments. The man was a force.

  47. #47
    Having seen both the Temptations and the Tops live when in their prime (no pun intended), I'd give the edge to Levi Stubbs over David Ruffin when it came to concert performances.

  48. #48
    I have been looking, but unable to find one photo of David ruffin & Mr. Gordy, together..please post if found!!

  49. #49
    It is almost certain Berry was at the Ed Sullivan taping of Diana and Temps performance. I would think there are pix of Berry with everyone.

  50. #50
    I have tried but can't find any either. I would like to think there must be one, somewhere, but its just not on the internet.

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