Vocal Group Hall of Fame
-- inducted 1999
Formed in Ferndale High School, near Detroit, Michigan, and originally known as the Domingoes, Henry Fambrough, Robert "Bobby" Smith, Billy Henderson, Pervis Jackson and George Dixon became The Spinners upon signing with the Tri-Phi label in 1961 (the prefix "Motown" and/or "Detroit" was added in the UK to avoid confusion with the Spinners folk group).
Although not a member, producer and songwriter Harvey Fuqua sang lead on the group's debut single, "That's What Girls Are Made For," which reached number 5 in the US R&B chart and broached the pop Top 30. Edgar "Chico" Edwards then replaced Dixon, but although Fuqua took the quintet to Motown in 1963, they were overshadowed by other signings and struggled to gain a commercial ascendancy. "I'll Always Love You" was a minor US hit in 1965, but it was not until 1970 that the Spinners achieved a major success when the Stevie Wonder composition "It's A Shame" reached the Top 20 in both the USA and the UK.
The following year the group moved to Atlantic Records on the suggestion of Aretha Franklin. However, lead singer G.C. Cameron, who had replaced Edwards, opted to remain at Motown and thus new singer, Philippe Wynne, was added to the line-up. His expressive falsetto lent an air of distinctiveness to an already crafted harmony sound and, united with producer Thom Bell, the Spinners completed a series of exemplary singles that set a benchmark for sophisticated 70s soul.
"I'll Be Around," "Could It Be I'm Falling In Love" (both 1972), "One Of A Kind (Love Affair)" and "Mighty Love Part 1" (both 1973) were each R&B chart-toppers, while "Then Came You," a collaboration with Dionne Warwick, topped the US pop chart. "Ghetto Child" (1973)
and "The Rubberband Man" (1976) provided international success as the quintet deftly pursued a sweet, orchestrated sound that nonetheless avoided the sterile trappings of several contemporaries.
The early Atlantic singles featured smooth-voiced Smith as lead, but later singles featured the baroque stylings of Wynne. New lead John Edwards replaced Wynne when the latter left for
Funkadelic in 1977, but the Spinners continued to enjoy hits, notably with "Working My Way Back To You/Forgive Me Girl" which reached number 1 in the UK and number 2 in the
USA. A medley of "Cupid" and "I've Loved You For A Long Time' reached both countries" respective Top 10s in 1980. Their exemplary output between 1971 and 1973 represented a peak of sweet Philadelphia soul.
Hit songs include --
- Could It Be I'm Falling in Love
- I'll Be Around
- Mighty Love
- One of a Kind (Love Affair)
- Then Came You
- They Just Can't Stop It (The Games People Play)
- The Rubberband Man
- Working My Way Back To You
- Ghetto Child
- It's A Shame
- Love Don't Love Nobody
- That's What Girls Are Made For
- You're Throwing A Good Love Away
- Living A Little, Laughing A Little
- I'll Always Love You
- Love or Leave
- Wake Up Susan
- How Could I Let You Get Away
The Spinners may be available for your next special event!
..60s, ..70s, ..80s
Formed: ..in Michigan