David Ruffin was a wild boy, and that’s putting it lightly. There was his battle with drugs which ultimately took his life, troubles with the law and his own ego (supposedly wanting to call the group “David Ruffin & The Temptations”), yet above all, a reason exists why Rolling Stone honored him as one of the “100 Greatest Singers of All Time.” He could coax the gown off a nun while encompassing the ability to illustrate the pain and struggle his personal life afforded him all in one song.
Those looking for quality television Monday night should tune into TVOne at 10 EST as Ruffin’s life and career receive the Unsung treatment. His 1973 Soul Train performance of “Common Man” – sampled on Jay-Z’s “Never Change” – may or may not make an appearance in the documentary. Still, it represents a memorable clip from a program that had thousands of them. Even Don Cornelius admitted the song was one of his favorites from Ruffin before the man and his hellacious afro waxed harmonies on a small stage while the crowd around him swayed back and forth holding one another as if it were the last dance at senior prom.
David was talented, troubled and a man whose inner demons frequently got the best of him. “Common Man,” indeed.