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Posts Tagged ‘The Spinners’

Died On This Date (March 16, 2013) Bobby Smith / Lead Singer Of The Spinners

Posted by themusicsover on March 16, 2013

Bobby Smith / Bobbie Smith
April 10, 1936 – March 16, 2013

bobby-smithBobby Smith, or as he sometimes went by, Bobbie Smith,  was the lead singer of the Spinners since their inception in 1954.  Born and raised in Ferndale, Michigan, Smith joined the group while they were still known as the Domingoes.   They eventually changed their name to the Spinners based on a suggestion by Smith who, as a car buff, liked the use of the word for high-end hub caps.  By 1961, the group was signed to Harvey Fuqua‘s Tri-Phi Records who put out their first hit single, “That’s What Girls Are Made From,” which reached #27 on the pop charts.  What followed was a series of iconic hits with Motown and Atlantic records that included “I’ll Always Love You,” “I’ll Be Around,” “Games People Play,” and “Then Came You” with Dionne Warkwick.  These and many more featured Smith on lead vocals, while Philippe Wynne sang on others.   The Spinners were ultimately awarded with six Grammy’s as well as numerous gold records.  Bobby Smith died of complications of influenza and pneumonia on March 16, 2013.  He was 76.

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Died On This Date (July 16, 2012) Bob Babbitt / Legendary Motown Funk Brothers Bassist

Posted by themusicsover on July 16, 2012

Bob Babbitt
DOB Unknown – July 16, 2012

Bob Babbitt was a Pittsburgh-born journeyman bassist who can rightfully claim to have played on more than 25 gold and platinum albums along with over 200 top 10 hits.  As part of the legendary Motown house band known as the Funk Brothers from 1966 to 1972, Babbitt can be heard playing on such timeless classics as Stevie Wonder’s “Signed, Sealed, Delivered,” the Temptations‘ “Just My Imagination (Running Away With Me),” Edwin Starr’s “War,” and Smokey Robinson & the Miracles‘ “The Tears Of A Clown” to name just a few. Prior to his stint at Motown, Babbitt played on several Del Shannon records, including “Little Town Flirt” and “I Go To Pieces.”  Following his run at Motown, Babbitt continued his hit-record contributions as part of Philadelphia International Records’ answer to the Funk Brothers, MFSB. Within that capacity, for instance, he played on several hits by the Spinners.  Babbitt also recorded or performed live with such superstars as Jimi Hendrix, Phil Collins, Jim Croce, Elton John, Frank Sinatra, Barry Manilow, and Bonnie Raitt.  During the ’80s, he played on several prominent commercial jingles and even dabbled in jazz with Herbie Mann and Stanley Turrentine. In 2002, he was profiled in the award-winning Funk Brothers documentary, Standing In The Shadows Of Motown.  In March of 2011, Babbitt made his last television appearance with Jacob Lusk during American Idol’s Motown Week.  Bob Babbitt died of brain cancer on July 16, 2012.  He was 74.

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Died On This Date (September 6, 2012) Wardell Quezergue / New Orleans R&B Legend

Posted by themusicsover on September 6, 2011

Wardell Quezergue
March 12, 1930 – September 6, 2011

Photo by Chris Granger

Wardell Quezergue was without a doubt one of the most important figures in New Orleans R&B for the better part of the last 60 years. It was during the ’40s that Quezergue began making his mark on the music world as a member of Dave Bartholomew’s band.  After a stint in the Army band in Korea, he settled back in New Orleans where he formed his own group and label, and began arranging pieces for the likes of Fats Domino and Professor Longhair.  As Quezergue’s reputation as an arranger and producer grew, so did the list of artists who wanted to employ his services.  Over the year’s that list grew to include the likes of the Dixie Cups (“Iko Iko”), Jean Knight (“Mr. Big Stuff”), Aaron Neville, Paul Simon, the Spinners, Willie Nelson, B.B. King, and Dr. John for whom he produced and arranged the Grammy-winning Goin’ Back To New Orleans.  Sadly, Quezergue lost most of his possessions to Hurricane Katrina in 2005, but a fund-raiser by many leading musicians helped him get back on his feet.   Wardell Quezergue was 81 when he died of congestive heart failure on September 6, 2011.

Thanks to Harold Lepidus of the Bob Dylan Examiner for the assist.

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Wardell Quezergue

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Died On This Date (December 26, 2010) Bernie Wilson / Harold Melvin & the Blue Notes

Posted by themusicsover on December 26, 2010

Bernie Wilson
DOB Unknown – December 26, 2010

Bernie Wilson was a member of the great R&B singing group, Harold Melvin & The Blue Notes for many years, including those that gave us such soul staples as “If You Don’t Know Me By Now,” “Bad Luck,” and “The Love I Lost.”  It was the Blue Notes that helped define a popular style of R&B known as The Sound Of Philadelphia or Philly Soul, which soon begat disco and later, smooth jazz and quiet storm.  Other notables of the genre are/were The O’Jays, The Spinners, and McFadden & Whitehead.  After signing their first record deal in 1972, Harold Melvin & the Blue Notes enjoyed several years of hits, television appearances, and sold-out concerts thanks in part to the instantly recognizable hefty lead vocals of Teddy Pendergrass.  But when Pendergrass left for a solo career in 1976, the group’s reign at the top of the heap came to an end.  They DID enjoy a handful of hits throughout the rest of the ’70s and continued performing in one form or another through the ’90s – the later years were without Melvin, who passed away in 1997.  It was Wilson who was a constant throughout the group’s various incarnations.  Bernie Wilson was 64 when he died of undisclosed illness on December 26, 2010.

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The Essential Harold Melvin & the Blue Notes - Bernard Wilson, Harold Melvin, Harold Melvin & The Blue Notes, Jerry  Cummings, Jerry Cummings, Laurence  Brown, Laurence Brown, Lloyd  Parks, Lloyd Parks, Theodore  Pendergrass & Theodore Pendergrass, Jr.

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Died On This Date (August 18, 2008) Pervis Jackson / The Spinners

Posted by themusicsover on August 18, 2010

Pervis Jackson
May 17, 1938 – August 18, 2008

Pervis Jackson was an original member of ’60s R&B vocal group, the Spinners.  He was known for his rich baritone voice on such hits as “They Just Can’t Stop It (Games People Play)” and “One Of A Kind (Love Affair).”  He continued to sing with the group until just one month prior to his death from cancer.  He was 70 years old.

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The Very Best of the Spinners - The Spinners

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