Bobbie Smith, the original lead singer of the hit soul group The Spinners, died in Orlando on Saturday at the age of 76, reports L.A. Times. A statement released from the band’s manager revealed that Bobbie passed away from health complications with pneumonia and influenza. The singer had been previously diagnosed with lung cancer in November.
Formed in Detroit in the mid-50s, Bobbie formed the group with Henry Fambrough in high school, originally calling themselves the Domingoes. Bobbie and Henry remained the only two original members active in the group’s later years.
Bobbie lent his voice to some of the biggest hits of the soul era including “That’s What Girls Are Made For,” “Could It Be I’m Falling in Love,” “The Rubberband Man” and the Dionne Warwick collaboration “Then Came You,” which earned the group its only No.1 hit.
Our own Jim Carson remembers Bobbie Smith as part of the lineup of K-EARTH 101’s Legends Of Rock & Roll concert at the Greek Theatre in 2002. The Spinners along with The Temptations and The Marvellettes presented an “An Evening of Solid Gold Soul” and Jim recalls the show when Bobbie took the stage with the group.
“It was a great show,” remembered Jim. “Even though Bobbie had a hiccup on stage, they played all their biggest hits with ‘One Of A Kind Love Affair’ being my favorite.”
Jim adds that while on stage at K-EARTH’s show, Bobbie had a scary moment during his performance having almost passed out on stage, but sat down on the stools set up behind them on stage and finished the show.
Others paying tribute to that distinctive voice of Bobbie’s includes Motown artist Martha Reeves of Martha and the Vandellas, who honored her friend on Twitter the other day.
Sad 2 hear of the passing of another member of the Motown family, Spinners Bobby Smith RIP…Prayers for the family twitter.com/MARTHAREEVESva…
— MARTHA REEVES (@MARTHAREEVESvan) March 17, 2013
In memory of Bobbie Smith and his legacy as the singer of The Spinners, tell us some of your memories and favorite songs by the group in the comments below.