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 …

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 …

Remember ‘O-o-h Child’ by the Five Stairsteps?

Clarence Burke Jr., who died on May 26 at age 64 in Marietta, Ga., was the lead singer, guitar player, sometime songwriter, and choreographer of the Five Stairsteps, four brothers and a sister from Chicago who got their name because their mother said that when the siblings stood together, they looked like stairs. While the Five Stairsteps achieved an impressive string of R&B hits in the 1960s and 1970s, their shining moment was “O-o-h Child,” a 1970 single that became their …