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Song IconJimmy Ruffin "What Becomes of the Brokenhearted"

About "What Becomes of the Brokenhearted"

"What Becomes of the Brokenhearted" is a hit single recorded by Jimmy Ruffin and released on Motown Records' Soul label in the summer of 1966. It is a ballad, with lead singer Jimmy Ruffin recalling the pain that befalls the broken-hearted who had love that's now departed. The song essentially deals with the struggle to overcome sadness while seeking a new relationship after a breakup.

The tune was written by William Weatherspoon, Paul Riser, and James Dean, and the recording was produced by Weatherspoon and William "Mickey" Stevenson. "What Becomes of the Brokenhearted" remains one of the most-revived of Motown's hits.

Composers Weatherspoon and Riser and lyricist Dean had originally written "What Becomes of the Brokenhearted" with the intention of having the Spinners, then an act on Motown's V.I.P. label, record it. Jimmy Ruffin, older brother of Temptations lead singer David Ruffin, persuaded Dean to let him do the tune, as its anguished lyric about a man lost in the misery of heartbreak resonated with the singer.

Ruffin's lead vocal is augmented by the instrumentation of Motown's in-house studio band, the Funk Brothers, and the joint backing vocals of Motown session singers the Originals and the Andantes. "What Becomes of the Brokenhearted" peaked at No. 7 on the Billboard Hot 100, and at No. 6 on the Billboard R&B Singles chart, as well as No. 8 on the UK Chart. Eight years later, the song was reissued (with a B-side of Ruffin's minor US hit "Don't You Miss Me a Little Bit Baby"), and surpassed its original chart position, reaching No. 4, and thus making it his highest-placed chart single in the UK.

The song originally featured a spoken introduction by Ruffin, similar in style to many of Lou Rawls' performances at the time. The spoken verse was removed from the final mix, hence the unusually long instrumental intro on the released version. The spoken verse is present on the alternative mix from the UK 2003 release Jimmy Ruffin - The Ultimate Motown Collection, and as a new stereo extended mix on the 2005 anthology, The Motown Box:

A world filled with love is a wonderful sight.

Being in love is one's heart's delight.

But that look of love isn't on my face.

That enchanted feeling has been replaced.

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