The Spinners are a veteran R&B vocal group with a signature smooth, sophisticated sound that became one of the top soul acts of the 1970s. Formed in Detroit, Michigan, they began in 1954 as a doo-wop quintet known as The Domingoes made up of fellow high school students James Edwards, Henry Fambrough (b. May 10, 1938), Billy Henderson (August 9, 1939 - February 2, 2007), Pervis Jackson (May 17, 1938 - August 18, 2008), and C. P. Spencer (January 13, 1938 - October 20, 2004). Bobby Smith (April 10, 1936 - March 16, 2013) replaced James Edwards shortly after the group was formed and became a longtime member, serving for many years as one of the lead singers. Spencer left in 1956, and George Dixon (d. 1994) came on board that year. In 1961, they were discovered by producer, record label executive, and lead singer of The Moonglows, Harvey Fuqua, who began recording the group, by then renamed the Spinners. Over most of their long history, the Spinners have remained a quintet consisting primarily of longtime members Fambrough (baritone), Henderson (tenor), Jackson (bass), and Smith (tenor), along with a number of other changing personnel. During the group's peak chart-making period (1972-1977), the lineup included tenor/falsetto Philippe Wynne (April 3, 1941 - July 14, 1984) who served as a lead vocalist along with Smith and Fambrough.
The Spinners made their national debut in 1961 with the Fuqua-penned "That's What Girls Are Made For," which became a Pop/Rock Top 40 hit and made the R&B Top 5. Several minor hits followed before their fame began to take off in 1970 with the Stevie Wonder co-written and produced "It's A Shame," which became the group's biggest crossover success in nearly a decade. The Spinners went on to top the R&B charts with "I'll Be Around" (1972), "Could It Be I'm Falling In Love" (1972), "One Of A Kind (Love Affair)" (1973), "Mighty Love - Pt. 1" (1974), "Games People Play" (1975), and "The Rubberband Man" (1976), most of which also made the Top 5 on the Pop/Rock charts and became among the group's best known songs. Both "I'll Be Around" and "Could It Be I'm Falling In Love" became million sellers soon after their release. With Dionne Warwick, the Spinners topped the Pop/Rock charts in 1974 with "Then Came You," which also went gold. The group's long string of hits, which continued on both charts through 1995, also included "How Could I Let You Get Away" (1972), "Ghetto Child" (1973), "I'm Coming Home" (1974), and the medleys, "Working My Way Back To You/Forgive Me, Girl" (1979) and "Cupid/I've Loved You For A Long Time" (1980).
The Spinners have continued to tour and perform actively to the present, with Henry Fambrough as the last surviving original member. The group received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 1976 and was nominated in 2015 for induction into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame.
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- Bobby Smith discusses the early days of the Spinners and how he came up with the group's name in an interview with Gary James on classicbands.com.
- Henry Fambrough reveals how he keeps his voice in shape and discusses the Spinners history and the group's more recent projects in an interview with Tim Parsons of tahoeonstage.com (ca. 2017).
- The Independent remembers Spinners tenor Billy Henderson.
- The Guardian remembers Spinners bass singer Pervis Jackson.
- The New York Times remembers Spinners lead singer Bobby Smith.
- The New York Times remembers Spinners lead singer Philippe Wynne.
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- Could It Be I'm Falling In Love 1972
- Games People Play 1975
(Alternate title: "They Just Can't Stop It The (Games People Play)")
- Ghetto Child 1973
- I'll Always Love You 1965
- I'll Be Around 1972
(This song later also became a hit for What Is This (1985) and Rappin' 4-Tay Featuring the Spinners (1995). The latter song is a remake with rapping dubbed over the Spinners' original 1972 song.)
- I'm Coming Home 1974
(This song was previously a hit for Johnny Mathis (1973).)
- It's A Shame 1970
- Living A Little, Laughing A Little 1975
- Love Don't Love Nobody - Pt. I 1974
- Love Or Leave 1975
- Mighty Love - Pt. 1 1974
- One Of A Kind (Love Affair) 1973
- Sadie 1975
- That's What Girls Are Made For 1961
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