Marvin Gaye Said This Motown Singer Had A Voice Stronger Than His Own

Born on April 2, 1939, Marvin Gaye was one of the most important soul singers of all time. A talented vocalist who was also gifted at playing piano and drums, Gaye produced politically potent music that made powerful social observations of strife happening during his time. As Britannica says, his 1971 song "What's Going On" is arguably his greatest and most popular song. It served as criticism of how Black neighborhoods were being treated by institutional racism.

Some of Gaye's albums include "Let's Get It On," "Trouble Man," "Midnight Love," "What's Going On," and more. As said by Variety, Gaye's impact on R&B is immeasurable, having changed the genre's landscape dramatically and influencing many artists after. So, Gaye being that immensely important to music makes him calling another singer better than him all the more shocking. But that's exactly what Gaye did, according to TrunkWorthy, when he said David Ruffin of the Temptations had a voice more powerful than his.

Who was David Ruffin?

Born on January 18, 1941, David Ruffin was a talented singer who was part of one of the most beloved bands of all time, the Temptations. As Biography notes, Ruffin had a rough life, not finding much initial success early on, but eventually, he signed on with the Temptations, replacing vocalist Eldridge Bryant. Initially, he did well with the group, but trouble soon hit, as it did with other Motown stars. Bad behavior and controversial habits took over, leaving Ruffin between a rock and a hard place. 

Ruffin eventually ran into rampant drug use, most notably cocaine, and his demanding demeanor soon put off other members of the band. His selfish demands and addictive habits eventually got him kicked out of the band, leaving him on his own. As TrunkWorthy says, Ruffin felt that he deserved better, and so embarked on a solo career that he hoped would take off. To his dismay, this did not happen the way he wanted it to, and much of his material remained obscure or unreleased for quite a long time. 

If you or anyone you know is struggling with addiction issues, help is available. Visit the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration website or contact SAMHSA's National Helpline at 1-800-662-HELP (4357).

Much of David Ruffin's solo music was unreleased for a long time

David Ruffin never reached the heights of stardom he so desired after falling out with the Temptations. Ruffin's ego was, perhaps, larger than his fame and talent combined (per Nostalgia Central), leading him to a life of relative obscurity. Ruffin produced a number of songs during his solo career, but only a few had reached moderate fame, such as "My Whole World Ended (The Moment You Left Me)" and "Walk Away From Love." What made matters worse, perhaps, is that a fair amount of Ruffin's music was actually unreleased for years. 

Much of Ruffin's unreleased music only received attention posthumously, like his 1970 album "David," which wasn't released until 2005. Not everything went poorly for Ruffin, though. As Biography explains, he did eventually meet some of the success that he wanted. The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inducted Ruffin into its sacred canon in 1989, two years before he died. Ruffin may have had a rough life, but at least his legacy may continue on as one of the greats.