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  1. #1

    David Ruffin's Firing From The Temptations - Why Does No One Care?

    I attended Broadway's 'Ain't To Proud - The Life and Times of The Temptations' last night and was reminded of something I have frequently wondered... Why do some utterly obsess over the firing of, royalties due to, etc of Florence Ballard and there is nary a whisper about Ruffin, whose career with Motown was so similar to that of Ballard? (note: The Usual Suspects just may want to save their abundantly available free time and not argue about the situations being ... 'different'. That's as credible as 'No collusion, no quid pro quo')
    Last edited by PeaceNHarmony; 11-23-2019 at 08:46 AM.

  2. #2
    Quote Originally Posted by PeaceNHarmony View Post
    I attended Broadway's 'Ain't To Proud - The Life and Times of The Temptations' last night and was reminded of something I have frequently wondered... Why do some utterly obsess over the firing of, royalties due to, etc of Florence Ballard and there is nary a whisper about Ruffin, whose career with Motown was so similar to that of Ballard? (note: The Usual Suspects just may want to save their abundantly available free time and not argue about the situations being ... 'different'. That's as credible as 'No collusion, no quid pro quo')
    Basically because some people on here are obsessed with Diana Ross and will do anything to sully her name. Unlike Florence Ballard David Ruffin had no real connection to Diana Ross so there is nothing to be gained from dwelling upon David Ruffin's departure from the Temptations.
    Glad you enjoyed the show. Wish i could have seen it with you.

  3. #3
    One reason for this is because unlike Florence Ballard, David Ruffin did enjoy two major hits, "My Whole World Ended (The Moment You Left Me)" & "Walk Away From Love", after leaving The Temptations. And as Bluebrock mentioned, many people blame the misfortunes of Flo on Diana Ross (or Berry Gordy) while the firing of David was (mostly) a group decision due to him missing performances.

  4. #4
    And regarding David Ruffin, the stories of his showing up late for concerts (or cancelling show at the last minute), his drug use, and the stories of him abusing Tammi Terrell had their influence. And don't forget that David did get another chance with The Temptations when they had their Reunion LP & tour, a live LP with Hall & Oates (with Eddie Kendricks) as well as a successful run touring with Eddie & Dennis Edwards in the late '80s.

  5. #5
    Quote Originally Posted by PeaceNHarmony View Post
    I attended Broadway's 'Ain't To Proud - The Life and Times of The Temptations' last night and was reminded of something I have frequently wondered... Why do some utterly obsess over the firing of, royalties due to, etc of Florence Ballard and there is nary a whisper about Ruffin, whose career with Motown was so similar to that of Ballard? (note: The Usual Suspects just may want to save their abundantly available free time and not argue about the situations being ... 'different'. That's as credible as 'No collusion, no quid pro quo')
    They are old fat lazy and challenged in addition to obsessed

  6. #6
    Both Flo and David showed up late to gigs and dealt with internal issues with their groups. They both also had vices that were slowly destroying them. Think the main differences is since Flo wasn't a lead singer in most of the Supremes' songs, people easily blamed it on Diana whereas David had this belief that if it wasn't for him, the Temptations wouldn't have become as successful as they did.

    David also managed to have something of a successful solo career while Flo was too paranoid about the music business (her hiring Tommy Chapman was a big clue to this).

    Also Ruff was a certified a$$hole for his treatment of his spouses and loves (Tammi).

  7. #7
    Quote Originally Posted by midnightman View Post
    Both Flo and David showed up late to gigs and dealt with internal issues with their groups. They both also had vices that were slowly destroying them. Think the main differences is since Flo wasn't a lead singer in most of the Supremes' songs, people easily blamed it on Diana whereas David had this belief that if it wasn't for him, the Temptations wouldn't have become as successful as they did.

    David also managed to have something of a successful solo career while Flo was too paranoid about the music business (her hiring Tommy Chapman was a big clue to this).

    Also Ruff was a certified a$$hole for his treatment of his spouses and loves (Tammi).
    And just one more thing; David was able to use the name, Temptations, to help promote his solo career (while Flo was forbidden to use the Supremes' name to get her unsuccessful solo career off the ground).

  8. #8
    Quote Originally Posted by midnightman View Post
    David also managed to have something of a successful solo career while Flo was too paranoid about the music business (her hiring Tommy Chapman was a big clue to this).
    It's likely the lack of knowledge about the music business rather than paranoia that led Flo to use her husband to manage her solo career (sadly when she was dropped from ABC Records, she did become disillusioned with music altogether).

  9. #9
    I really believe that Motown (Berry Grody in particular) looked at Flo as being fortunate to be a part of the most famous female group in history, and ungrateful and easily replaceable based on her behavior... Ruffin was more an icon with the Temptations with hits based on his leads who decided to go off the rails.. or when discussing David with Paul William's just prior to Paul's death as to why Ruffin was let go, Paul's only response to me was..."David was on Cloud Nine"...It was a difficult decision to replace David due to his stature in the group...much more difficult than replacing Florence, but in the end, David's massive ego and inappropriate behavior clashed with the ego's of the other members of the group and he had to go, despite the risk it posed...Fortunately, Whitfield at that time had a new sound that allowed Dennis to lend his own style to the Whitfield sound... Had the Tempts continued recording the same type stuff they were doing prior to the new psychedelic sound, it would not have worked with Dennis on lead vocals...

  10. #10
    Quote Originally Posted by Motown Eddie View Post
    It's likely the lack of knowledge about the music business rather than paranoia that led Flo to use her husband to manage her solo career (sadly when she was dropped from ABC Records, she did become disillusioned with music altogether).
    True. But still I think she should've waited a little bit after leaving Motown before starting over but we can't change fate, I guess.

  11. #11
    Florence had a very good natural voice and fit in nicely as a supporting player to Diana in the Supremes...Period...She did NOT have the stage persona, personality, stage presence, or penache to sustain a successful solo career as did Diana Ross, or even to the level of Mary Wilson...She had a perfect situation to use the talents she did have with The Supremes, and personal issues entered into the equation, led her to believe she had abilities she did not and failed to recognize her limitations, and destroyed what should have been an opportunity to continue to be a part of the most successful female vocal group in history...Sorry if this sounds cold, and the way her final years played out so unfortunate and sad, but that's the way it was IMHO... Ruffin had most of those gifts but just allowed his behavior to cost him his career...
    Last edited by StuBass1; 11-23-2019 at 04:11 PM.

  12. #12
    Quote Originally Posted by StuBass1 View Post
    Florence had a very nice voice...period...She did NOT have the stage persona, personality, stage presence, or penache to sustain a successful solo career as did Diana Ross, or even to the level of Mary Wilson...She had a perfect situation to use the talents she did have with The Supremes, and personal issues entered into the equation, led her to believe she had abilities she did not and failed to recognize her limitations, and destroyed what should have been an opportunity to continue to be a part of the most successful female vocal group in history...Sorry if this sounds cold, and the way her final years played out so unfortunate and sad, but that's the way it was IMHO... Ruffin had most of those gifts but just allowed his behavior to cost him his career...
    Just a logical synopsis that is devoid of the irrational emotional posts that always come from Marv on these topics - that the successful took something from the unsuccessful and that the unsuccessful must surely have been the more talented

  13. #13
    Quote Originally Posted by StuBass1 View Post
    Florence had a very good natural voice (etc etc)
    That's it in a nutshell.

  14. #14
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    David’s replacement was just as good, and outside of hardcore fans, most hardly noticed or cared. Me included.
    Last edited by Circa 1824; 11-23-2019 at 09:05 PM.

  15. #15
    Quote Originally Posted by Circa 1824 View Post
    David’s replacement was just as good, and outside of hardcore fans, most hardly noticed or cared. Me included.
    His replacement was remarkable

  16. #16
    All interesting viewpoints. I have my own theories, of course, but it's certainly interesting to hear from others. And very revealing (unfortunately ...) that the tired (ney, EXHAUSTED) old trope of Florence Ballard being handled entirely differently than any other Motown singer will still generate so many replies.

    There is one extremely vital comment made a few times in this thread - that Florence, though beloved by some, was not the greatest performer or singer in the world and hence more replaceable. Perhaps it's that hard-to-face fact that brings out the hisses any time Ballard is mentioned, much like djt's supporters doubling down daily with each and every atrocity. (No, I am NOT comparing FB to jbt. I am, however, drawing a comparison between their most fervent supporters)

  17. #17
    Quote Originally Posted by StuBass1 View Post
    Florence had a very good natural voice and fit in nicely as a supporting player to Diana in the Supremes...Period...She did NOT have the stage persona, personality, stage presence, or penache to sustain a successful solo career as did Diana Ross, or even to the level of Mary Wilson...She had a perfect situation to use the talents she did have with The Supremes, and personal issues entered into the equation, led her to believe she had abilities she did not and failed to recognize her limitations, and destroyed what should have been an opportunity to continue to be a part of the most successful female vocal group in history...Sorry if this sounds cold, and the way her final years played out so unfortunate and sad, but that's the way it was IMHO... Ruffin had most of those gifts but just allowed his behavior to cost him his career...
    David Ruffin was a music legend already when he died but his solo career was destroyed by his own demons, which included cocaine addiction. He just couldn't shake that demon. And he was getting rail thin and sounding like an old man. Not someone you expect to die at just 50 but performed like he was 70. Pretty sad.

  18. #18
    Quote Originally Posted by midnightman View Post
    David Ruffin was a music legend already when he died but his solo career was destroyed by his own demons, which included cocaine addiction. He just couldn't shake that demon. And he was getting rail thin and sounding like an old man. Not someone you expect to die at just 50 but performed like he was 70. Pretty sad.
    Yes, David had plenty of demons he couldn't shake and it made him paranoid and somewhat anti-social... I was at a vocal session of his one evening at United Sound back in the late 70's for one of his Don Davis produced albums...Just Don, David, a backup singer, and three of us... David was distant and introverted...not like the Ruffin I would see during his Temptation heyday as a pretty outgoing guy who wanted to be the center of attention...That's the last time I saw him, but as I understand, he continued to decline...

  19. #19
    Aside from the singing talent of Florence vs. David, there was a media report at the time of his death that stated:

    Fournier also said a large sum of money in U.S. traveler's checks was missing from Ruffin, though it wasn't clear if the checks were stolen or if he had taken them to the crack house. KYW-TV in Philadelphia quoted a police source as saying Ruffin had $30,000 with him; Fournier wouldn't confirm the amount.

    Compare that to Florence who died virtually broke. $30,000 would have helped her out tremendously.

  20. clink, clink. the sound of me tossing in my two cents.

    For me, pure and simple, the reason why people get more emotionally involved in the story of Florence and not so much the story of David has to do with the fact that Florence was a woman and David was a man.

    I once read in a book on television shows of the 60's an old TV Guide article on why television shows featuring women as the lead character were gaining such traction (Bewitched, I Dream Of Jeannie, That Girl, The Flying Nun). In short, the article mused on the idea that women were infinitely more interesting to watch. "Idiosyncrasy" was the word. In women, the quality is much more fascinating to watch than in men. I never forgot that article. Right now, I think it helps in part to explain why people want to know more about Florence than David. It's the reason why we continue to be fascinated by the story of Tammi Terrell.

    Some men will think they could have maybe saved Florence or Tammi, so there is that element to the story as well. I do believe we tend to pay more attention when these stories of tragedy relate to women more then we do men. We think, well a man can take care of himself, we don't need to worry about them. If something went wrong, that's on them. On the other hand, with women, it's the old damsel in distress thing.

    From the age of 12, I thought Florence was a stone fox. I always saw her first. So when I learned of all the tragedy that surrounded her, of course my heart broke. When I learned what happened to David, I thought it was a tragedy too, but I didn't get as emotionally wrapped up with his story as I did with Florence.

    I don't know. That's just the way I see it.
    Last edited by WaitingWatchingLookingForAChance; 11-24-2019 at 10:13 PM.

  21. #21
    Quote Originally Posted by WaitingWatchingLookingForAChance View Post
    clink, clink. the sound of me tossing in my two cents.

    For me, pure and simple, the reason why people get more emotionally involved in the story of Florence and not so much the story of David has to do with the fact that Florence was a woman and David was a man.

    I once read in a book on television shows of the 60's an old TV Guide article on why television shows featuring women were gaining such traction. In short, the article gave out that women were infinitely more interesting to watch. "Idiosyncrasy" was the word. In women, it's fascinating to watch. I never forgot that article and I think it does explain why people want to know more about Florence than David. It's the reason why we continue to be fascinated by the story of Tammi Terrell.

    Some men will think they could have maybe saved Florence or Tammi, so there is that element to the story as well. I do believe we tend to pay more attention when these stories of tragedy relate to women more then we do men. We think, well a man can take care of himself, we don't need to worry about them. If something went wrong, that's on them. On the other hand, with women, it's the old damsel in distress thing.

    From the age of 12, I thought Florence was a stone fox. I always saw her first. So when I learned of all the tragedy that surrounded her, of course my heart broke. When I learned what happened to David, I thought it was a tragedy too, but I didn't get as emotionally wrapped up with his story as I did with Florence.

    I don't know. That's just the way I see it.
    That actually reminds me of the way I initially handled the deaths of Michael Jackson and Whitney Houston. With Michael, I wasn't too emotionally attached. Same couldn't be said when Whitney died. Seven years later, I'm still not over it so I feel ya!

  22. Quote Originally Posted by midnightman View Post
    That actually reminds me of the way I initially handled the deaths of Michael Jackson and Whitney Houston. With Michael, I wasn't too emotionally attached. Same couldn't be said when Whitney died. Seven years later, I'm still not over it so I feel ya!

    Thanks! Now I feel like I wasn't too "way out" with that line of thought.

    And yep, same for me when it came to how I reacted with Whitney and Michael. Whitney's death just hurt me to the heart.

    I remember the day Whitney died, on one of our talk radio stations in Chicago, they were talking about Whitney and when too many callers started getting ugly about Whitney's personal life, there is this weatherman, Tom Skilling,
    and he came on. Mr. Skilling has the personality of Mr. Rogers, just one of the sweetest, nicest guys in the universe. Tom d
    idn't fire back, he didn't yell or downgrade the negative callers. He just simply spoke from his heart, said that he felt Whitney was a beautiful person and it was a great tragedy to lose her. All of his comments showed such compassion and pure class that it completely stopped the negative callers- COLD. After he made his comments, NOBODY said anything but kind things about the woman. Tom Skilling isn't the kind of guy I would have figured for a Whitney Houston fan, but I guess he was and he defended her BEAUTIFULLY with kindness. That day, my respect and esteem shot up to one million for this man.
    Last edited by WaitingWatchingLookingForAChance; 11-24-2019 at 10:44 PM.

  23. #23
    Quote Originally Posted by StuBass1 View Post
    Florence had a very good natural voice and fit in nicely as a supporting player to Diana in the Supremes...Period...She did NOT have the stage persona, personality, stage presence, or penache to sustain a successful solo career as did Diana Ross, or even to the level of Mary Wilson...She had a perfect situation to use the talents she did have with The Supremes, and personal issues entered into the equation, led her to believe she had abilities she did not and failed to recognize her limitations, and destroyed what should have been an opportunity to continue to be a part of the most successful female vocal group in history...Sorry if this sounds cold, and the way her final years played out so unfortunate and sad, but that's the way it was IMHO... Ruffin had most of those gifts but just allowed his behavior to cost him his career...
    Eh to each their own. When Flo was in the group, my eyes always went back forth between her and Diana. She definitely had stage presence. I will admit in the last year she was in the group it definitely wasn't as strong but I think it was cause she stopped trying. After she left, I only paid attention to Diana.

  24. #24
    Quote Originally Posted by StuBass1 View Post
    Yes, David had plenty of demons he couldn't shake and it made him paranoid and somewhat anti-social... I was at a vocal session of his one evening at United Sound back in the late 70's for one of his Don Davis produced albums...Just Don, David, a backup singer, and three of us... David was distant and introverted...not like the Ruffin I would see during his Temptation heyday as a pretty outgoing guy who wanted to be the center of attention...That's the last time I saw him, but as I understand, he continued to decline...
    I saw him just a few months before his passing and he looked quite dreadful. The voice was still in decent shape, but i was not in the least bit surprised to hear of the sad news of his demise. Such a waste of an outstanding talent.

  25. #25
    Quote Originally Posted by Bluebrock View Post
    Basically because some people on here are obsessed with Diana Ross and will do anything to sully her name. Unlike Florence Ballard David Ruffin had no real connection to Diana Ross so there is nothing to be gained from dwelling upon David Ruffin's departure from the Temptations.
    Glad you enjoyed the show. Wish i could have seen it with you.
    And I as well, Mr. B!

  26. #26
    very interesting topic

    For reasons for Flo's "sympathy" might include that some feel she was robbed of having the opportunity display her talents. that she was forced into the background and then forced out. I myself do not think that's an accurate depiction of the situation. but other fans feel more strongly about it

    Also Flo's death was due to cardiac arrest. Sure she probably didn't eat very well and was overweight. But so are 99.999% of the public. so they don't really "blame" her for her death even though there were probably things she could have done to prevent it

    David was one of the 2 primary lead singers so he wasn't in the background or being pushed aside. he could have very well continued with the Temps if his ego hadn't gotten in the way. Sure he and Eddie had some solo aspirations. i've heard that there was some talk of Eddie doing a little solo work and yet still continuing with the Temps. not sure if that was ever a realistic option but as time went on, who knows. So david was basically sitting pretty and shot himself in the foot

    it was reported David collapsed at a crack house and basically died from cocaine abuse. that often carries much less sympathy with the general population.

  27. #27
    It's quite normal for these lead singers (especially when huge ego's enter in) who have convinced themselves that the rest of the group could not survive without them, yet they are splitting the money equally with 4 other guys and see an opportunity to go off on their own, without the support of the group, and make ALL the money and get ALL the adulation for themselves. For a while it seems that David would have been satisfied with JUST the adulation (ie "David Ruffin And The Temptations), but that part of the issue led to the other part as he ultimately put the group in a position where they could not tolerate the situation any more, and with Whitfield's "new" updated sound on the scene, gave them the opportunity to cut the chord with David... On one hand, David thrived on the relative "security" of having 4 other guys around to support him, yet on the other hand, he alienated himself from the very support he thrived on... More a case of David's mental and emotional conflicts than anything else... In the end, he perhaps unknowingly, created the situation that led to his own undoing, and despite a few relatively popular solo hit recordings, never appeared satisfied or happy with the direction his solo career was headed... David hardly had the loyalty to those who rose to stardom WITH him, unlike those who decided to forgo the additional potential wealth a solo career could bring if they abandoned their bandmates as in the case of Levi Stubbs, Curtis Mayfield, or even Gladys Knight who only left the Pips over legal issues with her recording company...If you're a Teddy Pendergrass, Patti LaBelle Jeffrey Osborne, Diana Ross, or many others, the lure of showcase stardom is quite alluring, however, it hasn't worked out for many others who tried...
    Last edited by StuBass1; 11-25-2019 at 03:18 PM.

  28. #28
    Quote Originally Posted by stubass1 View Post
    i really believe that motown (berry grody in particular) looked at flo as being fortunate to be a part of the most famous female group in history, and ungrateful and easily replaceable based on her behavior... Ruffin was more an icon with the temptations with hits based on his leads who decided to go off the rails.. Or when discussing david with paul william's just prior to paul's death as to why ruffin was let go, paul's only response to me was..."david was on cloud nine"...it was a difficult decision to replace david due to his stature in the group...much more difficult than replacing florence, but in the end, david's massive ego and inappropriate behavior clashed with the ego's of the other members of the group and he had to go, despite the risk it posed...fortunately, whitfield at that time had a new sound that allowed dennis to lend his own style to the whitfield sound... Had the tempts continued recording the same type stuff they were doing prior to the new psychedelic sound, it would not have worked with dennis on lead vocals...
    stu,you've just explained it in a nutshell.

  29. #29
    Quote Originally Posted by WaitingWatchingLookingForAChance View Post
    Thanks! Now I feel like I wasn't too "way out" with that line of thought.

    And yep, same for me when it came to how I reacted with Whitney and Michael. Whitney's death just hurt me to the heart.

    I remember the day Whitney died, on one of our talk radio stations in Chicago, they were talking about Whitney and when too many callers started getting ugly about Whitney's personal life, there is this weatherman, Tom Skilling,
    and he came on. Mr. Skilling has the personality of Mr. Rogers, just one of the sweetest, nicest guys in the universe. Tom d
    idn't fire back, he didn't yell or downgrade the negative callers. He just simply spoke from his heart, said that he felt Whitney was a beautiful person and it was a great tragedy to lose her. All of his comments showed such compassion and pure class that it completely stopped the negative callers- COLD. After he made his comments, NOBODY said anything but kind things about the woman. Tom Skilling isn't the kind of guy I would have figured for a Whitney Houston fan, but I guess he was and he defended her BEAUTIFULLY with kindness. That day, my respect and esteem shot up to one million for this man.
    That's great to hear.

  30. #30
    Quote Originally Posted by arr&bee View Post
    stu,you've just explained it in a nutshell.
    Sounds right! You mentioned Paul Williams. He was my favorite Temptation. Thanks for sharing.

  31. #31
    Quote Originally Posted by WaitingWatchingLookingForAChance View Post
    Thanks! Now I feel like I wasn't too "way out" with that line of thought.

    And yep, same for me when it came to how I reacted with Whitney and Michael. Whitney's death just hurt me to the heart.

    I remember the day Whitney died, on one of our talk radio stations in Chicago, they were talking about Whitney and when too many callers started getting ugly about Whitney's personal life, there is this weatherman, Tom Skilling,
    and he came on. Mr. Skilling has the personality of Mr. Rogers, just one of the sweetest, nicest guys in the universe. Tom d
    idn't fire back, he didn't yell or downgrade the negative callers. He just simply spoke from his heart, said that he felt Whitney was a beautiful person and it was a great tragedy to lose her. All of his comments showed such compassion and pure class that it completely stopped the negative callers- COLD. After he made his comments, NOBODY said anything but kind things about the woman. Tom Skilling isn't the kind of guy I would have figured for a Whitney Houston fan, but I guess he was and he defended her BEAUTIFULLY with kindness. That day, my respect and esteem shot up to one million for this man.
    This is what people dislike about Marv - constant negativity

  32. #32
    Quote Originally Posted by Motown Eddie View Post
    And just one more thing; David was able to use the name, Temptations, to help promote his solo career (while Flo was forbidden to use the Supremes' name to get her unsuccessful solo career off the ground).
    Remember that Flo AGREED to not use the name Supremes in exchange for monetary considerations, like signing away her royalties, it was a poor decision, so ill-informed that I can’t even think of words equal to the thought. The Supremes never recovered from losing Flo and Vice versa. If she had a lick of sense and hired an honest atty, the first thing would have been a painstakingly persnickety accounting of Supremes Inc before any agreements were signed. Flo would have left the group a wealthy woman and Bern a hero to the all the other acts on the label. Instead, Berry, Ross, and Mary get blamed. My only personal criticism of Berry is not having the maturity and finesse to nip the Flo issue in the bud before it got out of hand. Avoricious Gordy worked that group into emotional and physical poor health and then robbed them blind.

    David’s ego did himself in and once free of the structure of the group, spiriled to his death. I don’t believe there’s anything that anyone could’ve done to make his membership in the group tenable, And as great as he was, I was shocked that he did not seem to be missed by me or the general public. I think this gave berry Gordy hope that the same might happen when Ross left the Supremes.

  33. #33
    Quote Originally Posted by Circa 1824 View Post
    David’s replacement was just as good, and outside of hardcore fans, most hardly noticed or cared. Me included.
    oddly, I think that The story of the Temptations would have been basically the same if David Ruffin had never been in the group, because I think Paul could’ve handled his vocals for the most part and, as great of a showman as David was, they still would have been great - maybe not AS big, but still huge. The what if‘s with this group always get me thinking because had things not worked out the way they did, the world may never have known the greatness of Dennis Edwards… And who knows what would’ve happened with all those Multi lead classic singles if David had stayed with the group…… I don’t think he would’ve cared for it…… That was one super group!

  34. #34
    Quote Originally Posted by TheMotownManiac View Post
    Remember that Flo AGREED to not use the name Supremes in exchange for monetary considerations, like signing away her royalties, it was a poor decision, so ill-informed that I can’t even think of words equal to the thought. The Supremes never recovered from losing Flo and Vice versa. If she had a lick of sense and hired an honest atty, the first thing would have been a painstakingly persnickety accounting of Supremes Inc before any agreements were signed. Flo would have left the group a wealthy woman and Bern a hero to the all the other acts on the label. Instead, Berry, Ross, and Mary get blamed. My only personal criticism of Berry is not having the maturity and finesse to nip the Flo issue in the bud before it got out of hand. Avoricious Gordy worked that group into emotional and physical poor health and then robbed them blind.

    David’s ego did himself in and once free of the structure of the group, spiriled to his death. I don’t believe there’s anything that anyone could’ve done to make his membership in the group tenable, And as great as he was, I was shocked that he did not seem to be missed by me or the general public. I think this gave berry Gordy hope that the same might happen when Ross left the Supremes.
    Florence's attorney didn't push hard for her to be allowed to use it. That just bodes the conspiracy theory started when Mary Wells left that artists who left couldn't use their previous status to boost their post Motown careers. And Flo was at more of a disadvantage since she was only known for backing vocals.

  35. #35
    Quote Originally Posted by TheMotownManiac View Post
    Remember that Flo AGREED to not use the name Supremes in exchange for monetary considerations, like signing away her royalties, it was a poor decision, so ill-informed that I can’t even think of words equal to the thought.
    I had forgotten that Flo signed away her rights to use The Supremes name in exchange for money. Like hiring her husband to be her manager, it was a big mistake that stopped her planned solo career in it's tracks.

  36. #36
    Quote Originally Posted by TheMotownManiac View Post
    David’s ego did himself in and once free of the structure of the group, spiriled to his death. I don’t believe there’s anything that anyone could’ve done to make his membership in the group tenable, And as great as he was, I was shocked that he did not seem to be missed by me or the general public. I think this gave berry Gordy hope that the same might happen when Ross left the Supremes.
    And reasons that David Ruffin wasn't missed by Temptations fans include Dennis Edwards. He was a powerhouse singer who capably filled David's shoes (and then some). Also David's solo career launched with a classic song, "My Whole World Ended (The Moment You Left Me)" (and another big hit with "Walk Away From Love"). And he was able to briefly enjoy a reunion with The Temptations in 1981 (and concert appearances with Eddie Kendricks after that). So from 1969 through his death in 1991, Ruffin was always somewhere in the public eye. Yes, his reputation preceded him and he did enter the downward spiral that led to his passing but his was rightly celebrated for his talent during his lifetime (and still remembered today).

  37. #37
    When David left, unthinkable at the time, I didn’t know what to think. Cloud 9 and TCB nearly erased David from my mind. I don’t think his greatness is appreciated commensurate his talent.

    when the next unthinkable thing happened: diana ross leaving the Supremes, I assumed the transition would be very similar to that experienced by the Temptations a year earlier. I just assumed the group would just continue As they were and when I first saw the new group on ad Sullivan, they were wonderful and the record was phenomenal, but I still missed diana ross - It wasn’t Like with the Temptations, the supreme’s became just another group to me - it took a year, but by the time they were on Tom Jones, I was cringing. That night I knew they were toast even though I loved their first two albums, they had three fine singers in the group, but they didn’t have a star And I knew I was clinging to something that no longer existed. And, corny as it may sound, i mourned that loss.

  38. #38
    Quote Originally Posted by Motown Eddie View Post
    I had forgotten that Flo signed away her rights to use The Supremes name in exchange for money. Like hiring her husband to be her manager, it was a big mistake that stopped her planned solo career in it's tracks.
    For me, Flo was irreplaceable. Period. She knew she was well loved - and the tragedy to me is that her depression led to making the worst possible career and business decisions. Maybe she would’ve made those same decisions even if she wasn’t depressed, there’s no way to know. But I cannot blame Motown or Berry Gordy for Flos separation agreement because that was negotiated on her behalf by her own chosen legal representative. The man was a crook who would soon be disbarred and, I believe, did some jail time. He traded away all of Flos rights for money that he knew he was going to steal. He wasn’t going to make any money on her royalties, so he traded them for a lump sum he could Rob. An Honest lawyer, working on Flos’s behalf, would have demanded an accounting. The fact that diana and Mary had some idea of Flos shockingly low settlement, should’ve been an eye-opener to them.

    Many vilify Gordy for Flo’s plight, But I don’t think very many people give credence to the fact that Gordy was running Motown by the seat of his pants for years as he had no real business experience prior to that except for his record store that didn’t do well. And for a small record company they were doing well and he was growing and adapting - they’re having one big hit record every year or so - maybe two... Then all the sudden, he had almost the hottest act in the world…… There was no way he could’ve been prepared for not only the Supremes mammoth success, but also the four tops Temptations becoming huge a year later. I do blame him for his insensitivity to The Supremes workload - He knew Flo was not handling things well and diana was passing out on stage…… None of that had an impact on how he dealt with the group.
    Last edited by TheMotownManiac; 11-30-2019 at 04:09 AM.

  39. #39
    Quote Originally Posted by TheMotownManiac View Post
    For me, Flo was irreplaceable. Period. She knew she was well loved - and the tragedy to me is that her depression led to making the worst possible career and business decisions. Maybe she would’ve made those same decisions even if she wasn’t depressed, there’s no way to know. But I cannot blame Motown or Berry Gordy for Flos separation agreement because that was negotiated on her behalf by her own chosen legal representative. The man was a crook who would soon be disbarred and, I believe, did some jail time. He traded away all of Flos rights for money that he knew he was going to steal. He wasn’t going to make any money on her royalties, so he traded them for a lump sum he could Rob. An Honest lawyer, working on Flos’s behalf, would have demanded and accounting. The fact that diana and Mary had some idea of Flos shockingly low settlement, should’ve been an eye-opener to them.

    Many vilify Gordy for Flo’s plight, But I don’t think very many people give credence to the fact that Gordy was running Motown by the seat of his pants years as he had no real business experience prior to that except for his record store that didn’t do well. And for a small record company they were doing well and he was growing and adapting they’re having one big hit record every year or so - maybe two... Then all the sudden, he had almost the hottest act in the world…… There was no way he could’ve been prepared for not only the Supremes mammoth success, but also the four tops Temptations becoming huge a year later. I do blame him for his insensitivity to The Supremes workload - He knew Flo was not handling things well and diana was passing out on stage…… None of that had an impact on how he dealt with the group.
    Thank you. This is a very thoughtful and balanced view. I share it, except that I can't help give a little more emphasis on the fact that Flo (and her family) was from a desperately under-priviledged background, which the privileged take advantage of.

  40. Quote Originally Posted by TheMotownManiac View Post
    When David left, unthinkable at the time, I didn’t know what to think. Cloud 9 and TCB nearly erased David from my mind. I don’t think his greatness is appreciated commensurate his talent.

    when the next unthinkable thing happened: diana ross leaving the Supremes, I assumed the transition would be very similar to that experienced by the Temptations a year earlier. I just assumed the group would just continue As they were and when I first saw the new group on ad Sullivan, they were wonderful and the record was phenomenal, but I still missed diana ross - It wasn’t Like with the Temptations, the supreme’s became just another group to me - it took a year, but by the time they were on Tom Jones, I was cringing. That night I knew they were toast even though I loved their first two albums, they had three fine singers in the group, but they didn’t have a star And I knew I was clinging to something that no longer existed. And, corny as it may sound, i mourned that loss.
    Makes a lot of sense and something I hadn't thought about. The Tempts had the mulit-lead thing going, so their popularity didn't necessarily depend on one stand out star. The Supremes were fueled by the star quality of Diana, whereas Jean wasn't the household name that Diana had become. Much like The Commodores when Lionel Ritchie left; I think all the attention pretty much went right along with Lionel, "Rising Star" and not much was left for the group.

  41. Quote Originally Posted by midnightman View Post
    That's great to hear.
    That man, on that day, really made a huge impression on me. It still (corny as it sounds to say) warms my heart to remember all the beautiful things he said about Whitney.

  42. #42
    Quote Originally Posted by WaitingWatchingLookingForAChance View Post
    Makes a lot of sense and something I hadn't thought about. The Tempts had the mulit-lead thing going, so their popularity didn't necessarily depend on one stand out star. The Supremes were fueled by the star quality of Diana, whereas Jean wasn't the household name that Diana had become. Much like The Commodores when Lionel Ritchie left; I think all the attention pretty much went right along with Lionel, "Rising Star" and not much was left for the group.
    one of the negs In Mary’s book is her creating an “us VS. Her” thought process after Jan 14th 1970 - who did better, who was better, who got what etc which put many fans on sides they had never considered before. Jean, like David, was very talented, but she didn’t have star quality nor years of high end stage experience. That did not lessen her ability as a great singer with great talent - it’s just that too much was expected from this girl who had no similar experience and no dream to do this type of work. Dennis had been working for Motown and in a busy, though not popular, somewhat similar situation to the Tempts so he was used to singing in the required style, while Jean was not and really didn’t care to be. Jean was asked to step into shoes that had been custom fit for Diana Ross, who, 50 years later, is still knocking them dead - very very very big shoes to fill. I don’t think even the great Berry Gordy realized that big talent wasn’t enough until it was too late. I’ve never believed one drop of the BS about wanting the new group to fail, and we now have a lot more insight to prove that was BS. (Supremes failed singles weren’t promoted while Ross’ failed singles just weren’t good etc...)
    Again, I can see why, after replacing a unique, gifted iconic performer like David Ruffin so smoothly, Berry thought or at least hoped for a similar result with his flagship group.

    Bless them all for being so wonderful and meaningful to us that we still care for five-plus decades.
    Last edited by TheMotownManiac; 12-02-2019 at 08:19 PM.

  43. #43
    Quote Originally Posted by TheMotownManiac View Post
    one of the negs In Mary’s book is her creating an “us VS. Her” thought process after Jan 14th 1970 - who did better, who was better, who got what etc which put many fans on sides they had never considered before. Jean, like David, was very talented, but she didn’t have star quality nor years of high end stage experience. That did not lessen her ability as a great singer with great talent - it’s just that too much was expected from this girl who had no similar experience and no dream to do this type of work. Dennis had been working for Motown and in a busy, though not popular, somewhat similar situation to the Tempts so he was used to singing in the required style, while Jean was not and really didn’t care to be. Jean was asked to step into shoes that had been custom fit for Diana Ross, who, 50 years later, is still knocking them dead - very very very big shoes to fill. I don’t think even the great Berry Gordy realized that big talent wasn’t enough until it was too late. I’ve never believed one drop of the BS about wanting the new group to fail, and we now gave a lot more insight to prove that was BS. (Supremes failed singles weren’t promoted while Ross’ failed singles just weren’t good etc...)
    Again, I can see why, after replacing a unique, gifted iconic performer like David Ruffin so smoothly, Berry thought or at least hoped for a similar result with his flagship group.

    Bless them all for being so wonderful and meaningful to us that we still care for five-plus decades.
    Wow! What an excellent summary of events MotownManiac. Without doubt the best post i have read on this subject. Thank you so much.

  44. #44
    Quote Originally Posted by TheMotownManiac View Post
    one of the negs In Mary’s book is her creating an “us VS. Her” thought process after Jan 14th 1970 - who did better, who was better, who got what etc which put many fans on sides they had never considered before. Jean, like David, was very talented, but she didn’t have star quality nor years of high end stage experience. That did not lessen her ability as a great singer with great talent - it’s just that too much was expected from this girl who had no similar experience and no dream to do this type of work. Dennis had been working for Motown and in a busy, though not popular, somewhat similar situation to the Tempts so he was used to singing in the required style, while Jean was not and really didn’t care to be. Jean was asked to step into shoes that had been custom fit for Diana Ross, who, 50 years later, is still knocking them dead - very very very big shoes to fill. I don’t think even the great Berry Gordy realized that big talent wasn’t enough until it was too late. I’ve never believed one drop of the BS about wanting the new group to fail, and we now gave a lot more insight to prove that was BS. (Supremes failed singles weren’t promoted while Ross’ failed singles just weren’t good etc...)
    Again, I can see why, after replacing a unique, gifted iconic performer like David Ruffin so smoothly, Berry thought or at least hoped for a similar result with his flagship group.

    Bless them all for being so wonderful and meaningful to us that we still care for five-plus decades.
    Yes, Yes, and Yes! And particularly the last sentence -

  45. #45
    Quote Originally Posted by TheMotownManiac View Post
    Remember that Flo AGREED to not use the name Supremes in exchange for monetary considerations, like signing away her royalties, it was a poor decision, so ill-informed that I can’t even think of words equal to the thought. The Supremes never recovered from losing Flo and Vice versa. If she had a lick of sense and hired an honest atty, the first thing would have been a painstakingly persnickety accounting of Supremes Inc before any agreements were signed. Flo would have left the group a wealthy woman and Bern a hero to the all the other acts on the label. Instead, Berry, Ross, and Mary get blamed. My only personal criticism of Berry is not having the maturity and finesse to nip the Flo issue in the bud before it got out of hand. Avoricious Gordy worked that group into emotional and physical poor health and then robbed them blind.

    David’s ego did himself in and once free of the structure of the group, spiriled to his death. I don’t believe there’s anything that anyone could’ve done to make his membership in the group tenable, And as great as he was, I was shocked that he did not seem to be missed by me or the general public. I think this gave berry Gordy hope that the same might happen when Ross left the Supremes.
    Florence Ballard was fired from the Supremes in 1967. David Ruffin was not fired from the Temptations until 1968. So Berry Gordy didn't use Ruffin's firing to try it with the Supremes!

  46. #46
    I was referring to replacing Diana Ross

  47. #47
    Quote Originally Posted by thanxal View Post
    Thank you. This is a very thoughtful and balanced view. I share it, except that I can't help give a little more emphasis on the fact that Flo (and her family) was from a desperately under-priviledged background, which the privileged take advantage of.
    You are, unhappily, spot on. I’m certain that once Leonard Braun met Flo and Tommy, he knew he could rob them blind, and then did do. I don’t know much about Tommy, but Flo was under-educated and very down to earth. I’m guessing her experience with lawyers was minimal at best and thought they were inherently trustworthy - it’s heartbreaking that after Gordy robbed her while in the group, her legal representative robbed her after leaving the group.

    i understand that their record deal was standard industry BS favoring the company by a huge margin, but, in the case of The Supremes and the mega bucks they generated for live shows, they should have been set for life I know I’m repeating myself, but I’ll bet you they never saw 10% of the live performance fees they generated.

  48. #48
    Quote Originally Posted by Circa 1824 View Post
    David’s replacement was just as good, and outside of hardcore fans, most hardly noticed or cared. Me included.
    I don't know about just as good although Dennis had a big impact. Dennis's impact was mostly with multi leads. Whereas David had the hits singing lead by himself.

  49. #49
    while i'm not up on every detail of the Temps history, my thinking is that the timing of David's departure coincided (though i don't believe it was planned) with the adept and sudden reinvention of the Temps sound and look. Cloud 9 was the first single with Dennis and it was a radical departure from what proceeded it. it was a new sound, the guys traded off lead lines, etc. This reinvention of the group dramatically increased their relevance with the record buying public and this immediately helped smooth over the issue of David's departure.

  50. #50
    Quote Originally Posted by sup_fan View Post
    while i'm not up on every detail of the Temps history, my thinking is that the timing of David's departure coincided (though i don't believe it was planned) with the adept and sudden reinvention of the Temps sound and look. Cloud 9 was the first single with Dennis and it was a radical departure from what proceeded it. it was a new sound, the guys traded off lead lines, etc. This reinvention of the group dramatically increased their relevance with the record buying public and this immediately helped smooth over the issue of David's departure.
    Exactly. Every song they dropped with David singing lead by himself it was a hit. To the point to where they had to re release “My Baby” as the A side single although “Don’t Look Back” was originally the A side single.

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