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Tuesday, May 07, 2013

May 7, 1939

All right, everyone. I'm gonna start this edition of the Tuesday Timeline a little bit differently than I have in the past. I'm going to provide you with some background music, courtesy of British singer Paul Young.

(No, the subject of this blog entry is not Paul Young...but the song happens to be related to the real subject of this Tuesday Timeline.)

So, let's get into it. Today's the seventh of May, and there are quite a lot of historical events associated with today. The day is linked to the Hundred Years War, World War II, and the recovery of a famous piece of artwork. Don't believe me? Have a look at the list of happenings for May 7...

1429 – Joan of Arc ends the Siege of Orleans returning with a shoulder wound caused by an arrow to lead the final charge, marking a turning point in the Hundred Years War

1664 – The Palace of Versailles is inaugurated by Louis XIV of France

1718 – New Orleans, Louisiana is founded by Jean-Baptiste Le Moyne de Baptiste

1824 – Vienna, Austria hosts the world premiere of Ludwig von Beethoven's Ninth Symphony

1846 – The oldest surviving weekly newspaper in America, “The Cambridge Chronicle” publishes its first edition

1901 – Hollywood legend Gary Cooper is born in Helena, Montana

1919 – Argentinian actress and First Lady Eva “Evita” Peron is born in Los Toldos

1945 – V-E Day – Germany's participation in World War II ends following General Alfred Jodl's unconditional surrender in France

1946 – Tokyo Telecommunications Engineering is founded with 20 employees, but you might recognize the company better by its other name, “Sony”

1952 – The concept of the integrated circuit (the basis for all modern computers) is first published by Geoffrey W.A. Dummer

1986 – Canadian Patrick Morrow becomes the very first person to climb each of the Seven Summits

1992 – Space Shuttle Endeavour is launched on its first mission

1994 – Edvard Munch's “The Scream” painting is recovered undamaged after it had been stolen three months earlier

1998 – Mercedes-Benz purchases Chrysler for the hefty sum of $40 billion dollars, forming the merged company DaimlerChrysler

2002 – Famous Triple Crown winning racehorse “Seattle Slew” dies at the age of 27

And, I also want to wish a very happy birthday to the following famous people...Jim Lowe, Terry Allen, Richard O'Sullivan, Robin Strasser, Thelma Houston, Randall “Tex” Cobb, Amy Heckerling, Peter Reckell, Michael E. Knight, Adam Bernstein, Traci Lords, Eagle-Eye Cherry, Breckin Meyer, Katie Douglas, Mark Furze, Natalie Meija (Girlicious), and Alexander Ludwig.

Oh, and I also want to wish another gentleman a happy birthday as well.

And, this man was born 74 years ago today on May 7, 1939.

Now, here's an interesting piece of trivia in regards to today's Tuesday Timeline subject. You know the song that you heard at the very beginning of this piece? Well, that particular song is entitled “What Becomes of the Broken Hearted?”. As you have heard before, the song was covered by Paul Young, and used on the soundtrack to the 1991 film “Fried Green Tomatoes”. What's interesting is that when Whitney Houston and Kevin Costner were filming the 1992 movie “The Bodyguard”, Whitney was originally going to perform that song in the film. But when word got out that “Fried Green Tomatoes” was going to use that same song in their film, Whitney instead ended up singing Dolly Parton's “I Will Always Love You”, which became one of Whitney's biggest chart-toppers.

Anyway, I'm sure you have already noted that Paul Young's version was NOT the original. You see, the original version of the song was recorded by today's blog subject. The one that turns 74 today. Do you want to hear the original version now? Let's have a listen.

ARTIST: Jimmy Ruffin
SONG: What Becomes of the Broken Hearted?
ALBUM: Jimmy Ruffin Sings Top Ten
DATE RELEASED: June 3, 1966

(For comparison's sake, Paul Young's version barely missed the Top 20.)

But, that's fine. Today's subject is Jimmy Ruffin, and arguably, the song above was his most famous single. But there's more than meets the eye when it comes to this Collinsville, Mississippi native.

Jimmy Ruffin was the oldest of two children, and appropriately enough, his younger brother David also found success in the music industry (David Ruffin was a member of The Temptations between 1964 and 1968). When Jimmy and David were children, they began singing with gospel group “The Dixie Nightingales”, and by the time Ruffin was in his early twenties, he had gotten the attention of Motown Records, in which he began recording singles for its subsidiary Miracle Records.

Ruffin was forced to put his singing career on hold for a couple of years after he was drafted for service in the United States Army. Ruffin served in the Armed Forces until 1964. In a surprising twist, that was the year that Motown Records actually asked Jimmy Ruffin if he wanted to replace departing Temptations member Elbridge Bryant. But before Jimmy could respond, the band had heard David sing, they hired David instead of Jimmy!

Gee, I hope there wasn't any sibling rivalry because of it...

But you know what? As bad as losing the opportunity to sing in one of Motown's biggest success stories was, he managed to get over it. Because just two years after the younger Ruffin was given the greatest opportunity ever, the eldest Ruffin was offered a song that was meant for another band altogether.

The song “What Becomes of the Broken Hearted?” was originally meant for “The Spinners” to record.

(The Spinners, of course, being the band that recorded the big hits “It's A Shame” and “I'll Be Around”.)

Well, the story goes that Ruffin was so enamored with the song that he persuaded the writers to record it himself. After all, the song's subject is one that many of us have lived through...unrequited love.

Believe me, that song could possibly act as a potential theme song for this blogger. Well, either that one or Kylie Minogue's “I Should Be So Lucky”.

So, you already know that the song peaked at #7 on the Billboard charts. But, the song also reached #6 on the R&B charts, and peaked within the Top 10 on the UK charts. Ruffin also scored at least two more hits on the charts between 1966 and 1967.

However, by the time the 1970s rolled around, Jimmy Ruffin was finding that his popularity was waning, and he moved to England to further his career and establish himself to the United Kingdom audience. The tactic seemed to work, as he had several huge hits, and had a thriving career there during the 1970s and 1980s. And, although his brother David died in 1991 from drug related complications, Jimmy became an anti-drug advocate in his memory.

In fact, Jimmy Ruffin, at the age of 74, is still recording and performing music today. In fact, according to a couple of sources, he has a new album of material in the works that is estimated to be released in the near future! In fact, one source stated that the album was set to be released today! May 7, 2013.

Again, I can't confirm or deny this story...but if it did happen to be 100% truthful...then, what a great birthday present for Jimmy Ruffin!

Happy birthday, Jimmy!

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