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  1. #1
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    Better Solo Career: Eddie Kendricks or David Ruffin?

    I'd have to check but I'm pretty sure if we are just talking sales or chart positions Eddie wins hands down

    And even though I love many of Eddie's solo work I giving the slight edge to David - that voice!

    Who's your pick?






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    From a commercial perspective, Eddie Kendricks fared better as a solo artist than David Ruffin. Mostly because David was shuffled around with different producers which made his early albums sound inconsistent. Eddie on the other hand, had a reliable relationship with Frank Wilson.

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    In my opinion, anything David Ruffin sang he immediately sang better than anybody else. When he does songs like ďRainy Night in GeorgiaĒ or ďPut a Little Love in Yiur HeartĒ I almost forgot the originals. But in terms of overall output, a lot of his material was mediocre compared to Eddie Kendricks. I love Eddieís voice but as to Ruffin, no one could sing better, thatís for sure.

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    Commercial success has to go to Eddie Kendricks.

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    Definitely agree with Eddie having the most commercial success. For my personal tastes, while I love David and Eddie's voices equally, I much prefer Eddie's solo output to David's, although David definitely has some fantastic solo moments.

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    I love em both!!! I canít decide.

    Although Eddie had more success, they both some really great solo recordings. And letís not forget their album together, 1987's Ruffin & Kendrick.


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    For the better solo career, I go with Eddie Kendricks. While David Ruffin had some great songs as a solo act, Eddie had a better run overall thanks to "Girl You Need A Change Of Mind", "Keep On Truckin", "Darling Come Back Home" and others.

  12. #12
    I don't know man haha, both of their solo years were pretty damn... Bad, but I'd say David Ruffin slightly because of his first solo album that was released in 1969.

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    Since I was still listening to the radio back then, it seemed to me as if David had by far the most airplay of the two and more hits. So I guess I would go with him.

  14. #14
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    Eddie Kendricks had by far the most successful solo career. Frank Wilson breathed new life into him giving him a string of hits starting in 1973 that lasted through the mid 70s. When Frank left Motown and stopped producing Kendricks his solo career faltered. Also hurting Kendricks was his stage act. As vivacious as he was in the Temptations, he was rather dull as a solo act. He basically just stood there and sang. He had other singers and dancers around him but critics took note of his rather boring stage presence. This carried over to television appearances as well. Also, going into the late 70s his voice began to give out.

    Ruffin on the other hand was electric on stage and his voice only got better. Hurting Ruffin was his temperament and dependence on chemicals. He was unpredictable and one never knew if he'd show for a recording session or a performance. His 1973 lp is outstanding as well as the three Van McCoy lps. Motown got behind him again with Walk Away From Love but it wasn't long before his obstinance took control. Going into the late 70s Motown washed their hands of him. Neither Kendricks nor Ruffin found success with other labels, none of whom would put up with as much as Motown did. Even on the Reunion tour Ruffin soon began not showing up and Kendricks defending him and becoming difficult as well even though Kendricks voice was pretty shot. Instead of reuniting these fine talents with Motown and the Temptations, the Reunion tour only served to be a final nail in the coffin for Ruffin and Kendricks. They had some moderate success with Hall and Oates but neither lived very long, succumbing to their addictions.

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    @Bayou,

    That’s such a thoughtful analysis of their careers. Very thought-provoking as well.

    I’m glad we have the two Hip-O sets of their solo Motown albums. Both of those are really outstanding collections. I have to listen to David Ruffins more. I’m not as familiar with his material and some of the music that came out, such as that previously unreleased album, were pretty great in my opinion.

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    I really miss Hip-O

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    Quote Originally Posted by kenneth View Post
    @Bayou,

    Thatís such a thoughtful analysis of their careers. Very thought-provoking as well.

    Iím glad we have the two Hip-O sets of their solo Motown albums. Both of those are really outstanding collections. I have to listen to David Ruffins more. Iím not as familiar with his material and some of the music that came out, such as that previously unreleased album, were pretty great in my opinion.
    I would highly recommend his 1973 set "David Ruffin" produced by Bobby Miller, it is quite good. I remember Ruffin being on Soul Train to do Blood Donors Needed with this huge hideous wig on. Motown gave him little promotion but the critics loved it.

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by BayouMotownMan View Post
    Eddie Kendricks had by far the most successful solo career. Frank Wilson breathed new life into him giving him a string of hits starting in 1973 that lasted through the mid 70s. When Frank left Motown and stopped producing Kendricks his solo career faltered. Also hurting Kendricks was his stage act. As vivacious as he was in the Temptations, he was rather dull as a solo act. He basically just stood there and sang. He had other singers and dancers around him but critics took note of his rather boring stage presence. This carried over to television appearances as well. Also, going into the late 70s his voice began to give out.

    Ruffin on the other hand was electric on stage and his voice only got better. Hurting Ruffin was his temperament and dependence on chemicals. He was unpredictable and one never knew if he'd show for a recording session or a performance. His 1973 lp is outstanding as well as the three Van McCoy lps. Motown got behind him again with Walk Away From Love but it wasn't long before his obstinance took control. Going into the late 70s Motown washed their hands of him. Neither Kendricks nor Ruffin found success with other labels, none of whom would put up with as much as Motown did. Even on the Reunion tour Ruffin soon began not showing up and Kendricks defending him and becoming difficult as well even though Kendricks voice was pretty shot. Instead of reuniting these fine talents with Motown and the Temptations, the Reunion tour only served to be a final nail in the coffin for Ruffin and Kendricks. They had some moderate success with Hall and Oates but neither lived very long, succumbing to their addictions.
    Sidebar: I can make your just stand and sing Eddie to Smokey's solo variety show performances. He had a slight upper body bounce from side to side. He's legs seemed bolted to the floor. [[See "Being With You" performances.)

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    Quote Originally Posted by nativeNY63 View Post
    Sidebar: I can make your just stand and sing Eddie to Smokey's solo variety show performances. He had a slight upper body bounce from side to side. He's legs seemed bolted to the floor. [[See "Being With You" performances.)
    At least Smokey made up for it by having charisma and personality. Eddie didn't have that. I know people swoon over his falsetto, but he didn't have the "it" factor that David Ruffin had to be a solo artist. Like what Bayou said, David had energy, drive, and charisma. Eddie was just wooden. Plus I'm just not a big fan of falsetto male singers. It's why I prefer the Four Tops over the Temptations because Lawrence Payton could belt the high notes using his chest voice. Eddie couldn't.
    Last edited by bradsupremes; 05-11-2022 at 11:25 AM.

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by nativeNY63 View Post
    Sidebar: I can make your just stand and sing Eddie to Smokey's solo variety show performances. He had a slight upper body bounce from side to side. He's legs seemed bolted to the floor. [[See "Being With You" performances.)
    Well Smokey has said many times that he has two left feet, never had a sense of rhythm. If you watch early Miracles performances it shows, especially the 1967 Ed Sullivan performance.

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by BayouMotownMan View Post
    I would highly recommend his 1973 set "David Ruffin" produced by Bobby Miller, it is quite good. I remember Ruffin being on Soul Train to do Blood Donors Needed with this huge hideous wig on. Motown gave him little promotion but the critics loved it.
    You know, I never even knew that album existed until I found it in a used record store maybe 10 years ago. I had thought I had all his Motown LPs. I will definitely listen to that one first. So much great music I'm sure to still discover in his catalog.

  22. #22
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    Commercially:Eddie Kendricks 9 SOUL TOP 10, 3 which were #1...5 TOP 40 POP HITS, 1 of which was #1 & 1 which was #2.
    David Ruffin 5 SOUL TOP 10, 1 of which was #1. 3 Top 40 POP HITS, 2 which were TOP 10.

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by kenneth View Post
    You know, I never even knew that album existed until I found it in a used record store maybe 10 years ago. I had thought I had all his Motown LPs. I will definitely listen to that one first. So much great music I'm sure to still discover in his catalog.
    Hey kenneth, thatís a great album, but I tend to forget about it too, maybe because of its plain cover and name. My favourites are probably "The Rovin' Kind" and "Common Man".

    I'd say the album is quite laid-back and mellow, moreso than his first Motown albumsÖ even with occasional influences of countryÖ but still of course very soulful

    Last edited by TomatoTom123; 05-11-2022 at 08:51 PM.

  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by motony View Post
    Commercially:Eddie Kendricks 9 SOUL TOP 10, 3 which were #1...5 TOP 40 POP HITS, 1 of which was #1 & 1 which was #2.
    David Ruffin 5 SOUL TOP 10, 1 of which was #1. 3 Top 40 POP HITS, 2 which were TOP 10.
    Ruffin only had two Billboard Top 40 hits, both were top ten. My Whole World Ended, Walk Away From Love. He had several lower charting singles including the glorious Everything's Coming Up Love.

  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by BayouMotownMan View Post
    Ruffin only had two Billboard Top 40 hits, both were top ten. My Whole World Ended, Walk Away From Love. He had several lower charting singles including the glorious Everything's Coming Up Love.
    Right, "Heavy Love" made it to #47 on the HOT 100 & "Everything s Coming Up Love" #49 on the HOT 100.

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    For my buck, folks, they're both had great solo careers for very different reasons.

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    Another question …. Which one is best remembered and still played today, and did their chart success impact this?

    [[David’s been gone 31 years and Eddie 30 years.)
    Last edited by Circa 1824; 05-14-2022 at 10:26 PM.

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    What a tough question, both were superb, and in their personal carers as well, I have no doubt about that, but which was the best? for me and it is my personal tastes. it has to be Eddie, their was something so warm and emotional about his vocal.

    It was great to see their last tour together here in the UK, I talked with them backstage and especially wth Eddie, what a true Gentleman.

  29. #29
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    Of course eddie had the better solo career, in spite of some opinions eddie kendrick was cool on stage and i saw him many times as a solo artist... Of course david was more dynamic just as he was in the temps, one more thing and it's my opinion that in his prime eddie kendricks was the best first tenor in soul music history!!

  30. #30
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    Quote Originally Posted by Circa 1824 View Post
    Another question Ö. Which one is best remembered and still played today, and did their chart success impact this?

    [[Davidís been gone 31 years and Eddie 30 years.)
    David Ruffin. The fact "My Whole World Ended" was a hit from the classic Motown era and has been reissued and included on a lot of 60s collections has helped to keep David Ruffin out there. Plus I've heard it and "Walk Away From Love" on the radio way more than I hear Eddie's material. Other than "Keep On Truckin'," I don't hear much of anything else of his.

    I think this is a case of Eddie having a more successful solo career, but David being the one whose hits are better remembered.

  31. #31
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    Quote Originally Posted by BayouMotownMan View Post
    I would highly recommend his 1973 set "David Ruffin" produced by Bobby Miller, it is quite good. I remember Ruffin being on Soul Train to do Blood Donors Needed with this huge hideous wig on. Motown gave him little promotion but the critics loved it.
    I got a chance to listen to this album early on during the pandemic. The album "sounds" like it was recorded in Detroit and has a Funk Brother feel to it, plus does anyone else hear the Andantes singing background on this album? I don't think I ever ran across this album while album hunting in the 80's and 90's. Glad to see folks talking this album up.

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    Quote Originally Posted by bradsupremes View Post
    David Ruffin. The fact "My Whole World Ended" was a hit from the classic Motown era and has been reissued and included on a lot of 60s collections has helped to keep David Ruffin out there. Plus I've heard it and "Walk Away From Love" on the radio way more than I hear Eddie's material. Other than "Keep On Truckin'," I don't hear much of anything else of his.

    I think this is a case of Eddie having a more successful solo career, but David being the one whose hits are better remembered.
    Well said, sir.

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    In the UK, Iíve only ever heard "Walk Away From Love" and "Keep On Truckin" played on the radio.

    In fact, having just looked it up, they were the only real hits either one had on the UK Charts. "Walk Away From Love" made #10 and "Keep On Truckin" made #19. Eddie's "Boogie Down" hit #39, although Iíve never heard that played anywhere!

    A shame because they both had solo careers worthy of more chart success!!

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