What Becomes of the Brokenhearted

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"What Becomes of the Brokenhearted"
What Becomes of the Brokenhearted - Jimmy Ruffin.jpg
Single by Jimmy Ruffin
from the album Jimmy Ruffin Sings Top Ten
B-side "Baby, I've Got It"
ReleasedJune 3, 1966
Recorded Hitsville USA (Studio A); 1966
Genre Soul
Label Soul
S 35022
Jimmy Ruffin singles chronology
"As Long As There Is L-O-V-E"
"What Becomes of the Brokenhearted"
"I've Passed This Way Before"

"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 brokenhearted, 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 the tune. Jimmy Ruffin, older brother of Temptations lead singer David Ruffin, persuaded Dean to let him record the song, as its anguished lyric about a man lost in the misery of heartbreak resonated with the singer.

Ruffin's lead vocal on the recording 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 number seven on the Billboard Hot 100, and at number six 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 alternate 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.



RegionCertification Certified units/sales
United Kingdom (BPI) [5] Silver200,000Double-dagger-14-plain.png

Double-dagger-14-plain.pngsales+streaming figures based on certification alone


Paul Young cover

"What Becomes of the Brokenhearted"
What Becomes of the Brokenhearted - Paul Young.jpg
Single by Paul Young
from the album Fried Green Tomatoes Soundtrack
B-side "Ghost Train (Main Title)"
ReleasedJanuary 1992 (1992-01)
Genre Pop, blue-eyed soul
Label MCA
Songwriter(s) William Weatherspoon
Paul Riser
James Dean
Paul Young singles chronology
"Oh Girl"
"What Becomes of the Brokenhearted"
"Now I Know What Made Otis Blue"

A 1991 cover by Paul Young was featured in the film Fried Green Tomatoes . During the winter of 1992, his version reached No. 22 on the US Billboard Hot 100 and No. 8 Cash Box, [7] becoming Young's third No. 1 song on the US adult contemporary chart (following "Everytime You Go Away" and "Oh Girl"). [8] It was a bigger hit in Canada, reaching No. 6 pop [9] and No. 1 Adult Contemporary. [10]

Chart history

Other covers

"What Becomes of the Brokenhearted"
Single by Robson & Jerome
from the album Take Two
Released28 October 1996 (1996-10-28)
Genre Pop, blue-eyed soul
Label RCA
Songwriter(s) William Weatherspoon
Paul Riser
James Dean
Robson & Jerome singles chronology
"I Believe/Up on the Roof"
"What Becomes of the Brokenhearted"

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