Skip to comments.Bobby Smith Of ‘The Spinners’ Dead At 76
Posted on 03/18/2013 8:30:57 PM PDT by nickcarraway
Mar 18, 2013 By Ruth Manuel-Logan Share Bobby Smith (pictured), co-founder and, for the most part, the lead singer of the iconic R&B group, The Spinners, has passed away at age 76, reports Soul Tracks.
Smith passed away from complications of influenza and pneumonia; it was also reported that he had been suffering from lung cancer. Smith was a Detroit native and helped to form the famed group in 1960 at Ferndale High School, just north of Detroit. Smith began leading the group in 1961 and his principal vocals were on the groups 1961 hit single, Thats What Girls Are Made For.
The five member group, which consisted of Henry Fambrough, Billy Henderson, Smith, Pervis Jackson and G.C. Cameron, had a strong following in the sixties. But their careers really took off in the 70′s, when they began collaborating with famed record producer/writer Thom Bell who helped to orchestrate the Philly sound. The group went on to release consecutive hits.
Smiths melodic voice could always be singled out on such 70s hits as Ill Be Around, Could It Be Im Falling In Love and They Just Cant Stop The (Games People Play). Even though Smith took the vocal helm, singing lead on most of the groups chart-busting hits, another member who joined later down the line, Philippé Wynne, is oftentimes incorrectly credited as the main vocalist. Wynne, who replaced G.C. Cameron in the mid-seventies, did sing on a few of the groups hits such as Rubberband Man, One of A Kind (love Affair) and How Can I Let You Get Away but left in 1977 to pursue his own solo career.
Wynne had a heart attack while performing at a Vegas nightclub and died a few hours later at age 44.
Throughout the years, as lead vocalists came and went, Smiths vocals were the quintets mainstay. The Spinners tried to keep their momentum going all the way through to the 90s but soon were bumped off the charts and relegated to performing in oldies circuits.
The new millennium brought illness and death to several of the group members.
John Edwards (Wynnes 1977 replacement) suffered a debilitating stroke in 2002. Henderson died in 2007 followed by Jackson in 2008. The only two members left of the original group are Smith and Fambrough.
I always like that song, “Rubberband Man”. The lead singer on that one died a few years ago, IIRC.
I always enjoyed their cover of “Working My Way Back To You”.
RIP, Bobby Smith.
I’ve always liked “One Of A Kind”.
RIP, Bobby Smith. And thanks for creating some of the music that still plays in my head. I am better for it.
One of the greatest.
I miss the days when black music actually contained alot of MUSIC!!
The Spinners were one of my favorite groups. I especially liked “Could It Be I’m Falling In Love,” “One of a Kind (Love Affair),” and “Working My Way Back to You.”
I second that emotion! I was a big fan of the Spinners, the Four Tops, the Stylistics, Al Green, Wilson Pickett, et al.
But I have absolutely no interest whatsoever in the crap "music" of Jay-Z, Kanye West, 50 Cent, or whoever these clowns are.
I should have added the Chi-Lites to that list.
Guaranteed to blow your mind..so high you won’t come down....hey ya’’ll, prepare yourself for the rubber band...
Earth Wind and Fire, Kool and the Gang, Marvin Gaye, heck, even the early Jackson Five had some damn catchy tunes!
Motown... them was the days.
Indeed - always puts a smile on my face to hear it. Some team mates called me “Rubberband Man” in high school basketball because I loved the song, and had real long arms. ...”hand me down my walking cane....”
Another sad loss, after Richard Street of the Temps a couple of weeks ago - http://www.cnn.com/2013/02/27/showbiz/temptations-singer-dead
“Papa” and the Rubberband Man will be harmonizing tonight.
Backup babes in sparkling bell-bottoms!
I wish we could go back to the days when famous people didn’t do crap like spit on somebody else...
Give some of them folks a couple million and the real trash comes out!
Same with football, I guess.
What about Al Wilson and Green Pickett? Oh wait, there was no Green Pickett. Should have been.
But there was an O'Jays.
Some bizarre Billboard singles chart trivia from the 1970’s - name the only group act to have a song hit the top five in each year from 1972-1976.
It was The Spinners!
1972 - “I’ll Be Around” peaked at #3
1973 - “Could It Be I’m Falling In Love” peaked at #4.
1974 - “Then Came You” (with Dionne Warwick) reached #1.
1975 - “Games People Play” peaked at #5
1976 - “Rubberband Man” peaked at #2
Weird, they are evenly distributed: a #1, a #2, a #3, a #4, a #5.
It’s interesting that the group’s biggest hit, ‘It’s A Shame’, isn’t mentioned in the story (even though the lead vocals on that one were by GC Cameron). Anyway, the Spinners were one of the best of the ‘70s soul sound, no doubt about it. Favorites of mine, for sure.
RIP, Bobby Smith.