Bobby Smith (rhythm and blues singer)
April 10, 1936 (age 76)
Detroit, Michigan, U.S.
|Died||March 16, 2013
|Other names||Bobbie Smith|
|Known for||Lead singer of The Spinners|
Robert “Bobby” Smith (sometimes spelled Bobbie; (April 10, 1936 – March 16, 2013) was born in Detroit, Michigan and was an American R&B singer, the principal lead singer of the soul vocal group, The Spinners, also known as the Detroit Spinners or the Motown Spinners, throughout its history.
Smith had been the group’s main lead singer since its inception, having sung lead vocals on The Spinners first hit record in 1961, “That’s What Girls Are Made For” (which has been inaccurately credited to the group’s mentor and former Moonglows lead singer, Harvey Fuqua). Smith also sang lead on most of their Motownmaterial during the 1960s, such as the charting singles like “Truly Yours” (1966) and “I’ll Always Love You” (1965); almost all of the group’s pre-Motown material on Fuqua’s Tri-Phi Records label, and also on The Spinners’ biggest Atlantic Records hits, such as “I’ll Be Around“, “Could It Be I’m Falling in Love“, “They Just Can’t Stop It the (Games People Play)“, and the Billboard #1, “Then Came You” (with Dionne Warwick). Despite the fact that Smith led on many of the group’s biggest hits, many have instead unfairly credited much of the group’s success to its other lead singer, Philippé Wynne.
Wynne was many times inaccurately credited for songs that Smith actually sang lead on, such as by the group’s label, Atlantic Records, on their Anthologydouble album collection (an error corrected in the group’s later triple CD set, The Chrome Collection). Throughout a succession of lead singers (Wynne, Jonathan Edwards, G. C. Cameron etc.), Smith’s lead voice had always been The Spinners’ mainstay.
With the death of Bobby Smith on March 16, 2013 as well as fellow Spinners members [[Billy Henderson (American singer)] in 2007, and bass singer Pervis Jackson in August 2008, Henry Fambrough is the last remaining original member still performing with the Spinners.
- Romanski, Patricia and Holly George-Warren (Editors). The Rolling Stone Encyclopedia of Rock & Roll. New York, NY: Fireside, 2005.