Ruby And The Romantics

Ruby And The Romantics are most often remembered for their epic 1963 single, "Our Day Will Come". It topped both the Billboard Hot 100 and R&B charts and for many, is the definitive lost love song.

Ruby Nash Curtis was born on November 12th, 1939 in Akron Ohio and although she listened to all kinds of music when she was growing up, she didn't start singing until she was a senior in high school. She formed a vocal group with her sister and two other friends and made local appearances. At about the same time, the four male members of the group, Edward Roberts, George Lee, Ronald Mosley and Leroy Fann, had sung together in their high school choir. After graduation in 1961, they decided to try their hand as professionals. The quartet, calling themselves The Supremes, traveled to New York were they recorded for a few small labels, but none of their efforts resulted in hits. Fann had heard Ruby sing and suggested to the others that a female voice might change their fortunes. Through arranger Leroy Kirkland, they subsequently secured a contract with the New York record label Kapp and at the suggestion of the company, changed their name to Ruby And The Romantics.

Allen Stanton, the Artist and Repertoire man at Kapp had first heard "Our Day Will Come" at the home of the song's co-writer Bob Hilliard, and it was among the many songs he pitched to the group. When Ruby heard it, she was sure the tune could be a hit and after listening to dozens of possible songs to record, the others agreed. When the group went in to cut the song, it was the first time Ruby had ever been in a recording studio. Two different arrangements were taped, a straight ahead Pop version and second with a Bossa Nova beat, which proved to be the one released. On February 23rd, 1963, "Our Day Will Come" entered the Billboard Hot 100 at #79. In just six weeks it had shot to the top of the chart, earning a Gold record. Over the next twelve months the group enjoyed a string of six minor hits including "My Summer Love" (#16) and the original version of "Hey There Lonely Boy" (#27) which, with a change of gender, was a number two hit for Eddie Holman in 1971. Next up was "Young Wings Can Fly", which stalled at #47 in December, 1963. With the onslaught of The British Invasion, "Our Everlasting Love" could only manage to climb to #90 in March, 1964, followed by "Baby Come Home" which quit at #96 and "When You're Young And In Love", which stalled at #48 that November.

After three years at Kapp, the group signed to the ABC label. In February, 1965, "Does He Really Care For Me" could only manage to reach #90 during a one week stay on the Billboard Hot 100. It would prove to be The Romantics' last chart entry, and preceded a wholesale line-up change. Ruby's manager brought in a new backing group; Richard Pryor, Vincent McLeod, Robert Lewis and Bill Evans. Ruby herself had no say at all in the replacement, contrary to rumors that she was behind the changes. By 1968, this line up had also failed to regain success and The Romantics were replaced again, this time with an all female version, consisting of Denise Lewis and Cheryl Thomas. It didn't matter to record buyers though, as the group never recaptured the magic of "Our Day Will Come" and after they toured the oldies circuit for a while, the group broke up in 1971. Oddly, Ruby herself has denied that any of the original Romantics were ever replaced.

Ruby settled in Akron, Ohio and went to work for AT&T. She often considered singing with a group again, but wanted to wait until her two sons and a daughter were grown. She did keep in touch with the rest of the original Romantics who stayed in New York. Leroy Fann was killed in 1973 at the age of 37. Edward Roberts worked in a bank and died of cancer on August 10th, 1993. George Lee became a truck driver and died of cancer in 1994. Ronald Mosley passed away on December 3, 2011.

By August, 2001, Ruby was working at a Salvation Army Thrift Store in Akron, Ohio, and was still happy to sign an autograph. Unfortunately, neither she or any of the descendants of The Romantics received royalties from their hit records. Ruby And Romantics were given a Pioneer Award by the Rhythm and Blues Foundation in 1997 and were inducted into the Vocal Group Hall of Fame in 2007. In August 2013, Ruby And The Romantics became charter inductees into the new Rhythm and Blues Music Hall of Fame in Cleveland, Ohio.