Jimmy Ruffin: What Becomes of the Brokenhearted?

If only a casual fan of classic 1960s soul music, you might easily confuse Jimmy Ruffin with his younger brother David, who rose to much greater fame as lead singer of the Temptations. But it was Jimmy Ruffin, who passed away Nov. 17 at age 78 in Las Vegas, who scored one of the most iconic Motown hits, an anthem of lost love entitled “What Becomes of the Brokenhearted.” It climbed to No. 7 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart …

‘When Will I Be Loved?’: Linda Ronstadt Gets an Answer

Legendary singer Linda Ronstadt, 68, undoubtedly has had plenty of secret admirers over the years, though perhaps none quite as famous as the president of the United States. Ronstadt, who’s won numerous accolades over the years for her “one-of-a-kind voice,” was at a White House ceremony on July 28 to receive the National Medal of Arts. As President Barack Obama prepared to hang the medal around Ronstadt’s neck, he confessed, “I had a little crush on her back in the …

Elaine Stritch: Earthy Diva

Actress-singer Elaine Stritch, who died on July 17 at age 89 in Birmingham, Mich., wasn’t the sort who would go gentle into that good night – or any night, for that matter. The gravel-voiced Broadway diva, who made her career playing what the New York Times once called “brash and bawdy characters,” preferred staying out late, and having a cigarette and a drink or three. “I don’t regret a day of my life,” as she once told an interviewer. In a …

Bobby Womack: Soul Man

Even if you didn’t know Bobby Womack by name, you probably dug some of his songs that helped make other performers into stars. Womack, who died on June 27 at age 70, was one of the pioneers of the soul sound – a singer, guitarist and songwriter who helped create the fusion of gospel, R&B and jazz that moved a generation to get out and groove to the music. Womack’s own roots stretched back to the great Sam Cooke, who gave …

Donnalou Stevens Stands Up for ‘Older Ladies’ in Viral Video

Donnalou Stevens can’t believe her good fortune. What started out as a little ditty she wrote and sang with a bunch of girlfriends at a party is gathering steam as a joyful anthem for women who embrace their aging bodies. Her country-themed “Older Ladies” video has gone viral, garnering more than 2 million hits since posted in early June. Shot by film student Christine McHugh and backed up by other mature women, Stevens gleefully strums a guitar and sings lyrics …

Jerry Vale: A Voice Like Velvet

Even in his heyday in the 1950s and 1960s, Jerry Vale was never hip or trendy. Instead of jazz or rock, he stuck to ballads and love songs – the sort that would prompt a guy’s date to rest her head against his shoulder, whether they were out for a drive in the Rambler or having a slow dance in one of the smoky nightclubs where Vale got his start. But it worked, because Vale, who died on May 18 …