added: 19 Mar 2013 // by: VVN Music
Bobby Smith (also known as Bobbie), the man who took the lead on some of the Spinnersf biggest hits, died on Saturday in Orlando, Florida from pneumonia and influenza. He was 76.
Smith, who was one of the two original members still with the touring version of the group (along with Harvey Fambrough), also had been diagnosed with lung cancer last November.
Bobby was born in Detroit, MI and went to nearby Ferndale High School where he and friends Billy Henderson, Pervis Jackson, C.P. Spence and Fambrough formed a group called the Damingoes in 1954. They performed together, with just a couple of personnel changes, until 1961 when they changed their name to the Spinners and signed with Harvey Fuquafs Tri-Phi Records.
Their first single, Thatfs What Girls Are Made For, with Smith on lead, was a national hit peaking at 5 on the R&B and 27 on the Hot 100. A followup just barely made the charts and it would be four years, and a switch to Motown after they bought Tri-Phi, before they would have another hit. 1965Œs Ifll Always Love You (#8 R&B / #35 Pop) and Truly Yours (#16 R&B / #111 Pop) were the only songs they could chart while with the Detroit label during the 60Œs and the members of the group were regularly assigned to management and other non-music jobs.
Finally, in 1970, they found themselves on the Motown subsidiary V.I.P. where they broke big with the Stevie Wonder/Syreeta Wright song Itfs a Shame (#4 R&B / #14 Pop). A legends says that Aretha Franklin was fond of the group and arranged for them to move to Atlantic Records when their Motown contract ran out and it was there that Philippe Wynne joined the group to replace G.C. Cameron who was still obligated to Motown.
The group flourished at Atlantic with their first single, the Bobby Smith sung Ifll Be Around, going to #1 on the R&B Singles and #3 on the Hot 100. By the end of the 70s, they would have 15 top ten R&B hits, including six number ones, along with six that went to the Pop top ten. Even though many saw Wynne as the leader of the group, Smith sang lead on some of their biggest including Around, Could It Be Ifm Falling in Love, They Just Canft Stop It (Games People Play) and Then Came You (with Dionne Warwick).
The Spinners last big hit was 1980Œs Cupid/Ifve Loved You For a Long Time (#4 Pop / #5 R&B) and they hit the Hot 100 for the last time in 1982 with Funny How Time Slips Away (#67 Pop / #43 R&B).
From that time until now, the members of the Spinners have changed with the two constants being Fambrough and the now late-Smith.
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