David Ruffin’s career solo career started in 1968 after being the lead singer of The Temptations for four years. In 1975, his seventh solo album, Who I Am was released on Motown Records. Van McCoy produced the outing and Charles Kipp wrote “Walk Away From Love.” Ruffin’s unmistakable tortured tenor made the listener believe when he sang “It’s not that I don’t love you” with resigned anguish of the heart. His gruff voice, which had the ability to move quickly into a seamless falsetto, embodied conflicted affection. David Ruffin’s brilliance on “Walk Away From Love” was being able to capture the feeling of leaving and staying with love at the same time. His sole number one R&B hit was his biggest post-Temptation moment in the ’70s.
Ruffin completed five more solo albums including one with former bandmate Eddie Kendrick before his passing in 1991. There were brief reunions with the Temptations including their popular collaboration with Rick James on the song “Standing On The Top.” They were a whole group again for their 1989 induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. David Ruffin’s music is still listened to in 2021 and he has become a meme in pop culture thanks to the actor Leon’s famous portrayal of him in the 1998 miniseries The Temptations.