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 …

Pete Seeger: Folk Music Legend, Political Activist

Pete Seeger, who passed away on Jan. 27 at age 94 in New York, accomplished the nearly unimaginable. He showed that one man, armed only with a banjo, a tenor singing voice and the courage of his convictions, not only could leave an indelible stamp upon popular music, but also challenge injustice and fight for a better world. Seeger helped popularize folk music, a genre derived from the traditional chants, hymns and laments of hardscrabble rural America, and wrote or …

Slim Whitman: The Haunting High Tenor of Country

Were you a late-night television-watching insomniac in the early 1980s? If so, you undoubtedly remember all those commercials that peddled “Not Sold in Any Store!” record albums and cassette tapes by a singer you’d never heard of whose most distinguishing features were a pencil-thin mustache, outlandishly flared sideburns and a towering lacquered widow’s peak. He  warbled country ballads in a mellifluous high voice, occasionally breaking into a full-throttle yodel that put Julie Andrews in The Sound of Music to shame. …