TNB Night Owl – Ruby & The Romantics

Most people today wouldn’t recognize the name, but Ruby & The Romantics had an outsized influence on popular music back in the day. Many of their songs have been covered by more famous voices, some songs by multiple famous artists. The Carpenters recorded at least two of their tunes, one of which became a smash hit.

Their first hit record, Our Day Will Come, is instantly recognizable. A performance that showcases Ruby Nash’s angelic voice, she had the talent to have been among the great R&B singers of her time, right up there with Diana Ross, Aretha Franklin, Marilyn McCoo, or anyone you care to name. Aretha nearly missed fame. Her first label, Columbia, didn’t know what to do with her talent. As a result, she never broke into the Top 40 until she went to her second label, Atlantic. If not for the change, Aretha would have been a nobody, if you can imagine that.

So why isn’t Ruby famous? In my opinion, it all has to do with talent management, promotion, and marketing. Ruby & The Romantics, from Akron, Ohio, signed with NYC-based Kapp Records in 1961. Kapp was a smaller label, but with many big-name stars and a variety of genres in their catalog, including pop, rock and roll, jazz, and country, but not much in the way of R&B. In short, I don’t think Kapp knew how to promote Ruby & The Romantics, although the label did give the group their catchy name — prior to joining Kapp, they were known as The Feilos.

If The Feilos had signed with Motown (Detroit), or Chess (Chicago), or Stax (Memphis), or any other label that specialized in R&B, they probably would have found much greater commercial success. The group members would have had much greater income as well. It’s claimed that none of the group ever received any royalties for their recordings from Kapp, or its successors. I can’t confirm it, but it wouldn’t surprise me at all: many young and naïve artists have been cheated by unscrupulous music industry executives.

In the sixties, R&B came from the midwest heartland, not the east or west coast. That began to change by the end of the decade but too little, too late, for Ruby & The Romantics. Fifty years later, Ruby Nash Garnett was the only surviving member of the group, and may still be living today, albeit in undeserved obscurity.

You probably have never heard most of these songs. Even if you don’t care for the musical style or melody, just listen to Ruby’s voice. She had tremendous talent, unlike about everyone who’s popular today.

1963 #1
Our Day Will Come (2:35)

My Summer Love (2:42)

Hey There, Lonely Boy (2:34)

Time After Time (2:21)

Dream (2:57)

Young Wings Can Fly (2:49)

Our Everlasting Love (2:41)

When You’re Young and in Love (2:37)

Does He Really Care for Me (1:55)

I Cry Alone (2:41)

Hurting Each Other (2:53)

Bonus track: This version of a Ruby & The Romantics song achieved its greatest fame by a one-hit wonder. Recorded in 1969 and released in December, it charted at #2 in 1970.

1969/1970 #2
Hey There Lonely Girl (3:37)
Eddie Holman

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About Richard Doud 622 Articles
Learning is a life-long endeavor. Never stop learning. No one is right all the time. No one is wrong all the time. No exceptions to these rules.