.

Bobbie Smith, Spinners Singer, Dead at 76

Frontman was diagnosed with lung cancer in November

Henry Fambrough, Marvin Taylor, Jessie Robert Peck, Bobbie Smith, and Charlton Washington of the Spinners.
Charley Gallay/Getty Images for ATI
March 19, 2013 12:05 PM ET

Bobbie Smith, lead singer for the Detroit soul group the Spinners, died this weekend following complications from flu and pneumonia, The Associated Press reports. He was 76, and had been diagnosed with lung cancer in November.

Smith joined the group in 1956 when they were known as the Domingoes, a name they soon changed after constant misspellings. It was Smith, a life-long car buff, according to The Detroit Free Press, who suggested the "Spinners," a nickname for top-notch hubcaps.

Song Stories: The Spinners, 'Could It Be I'm Falling in Love'

The band scored their first hit in 1961 with "That's What Girls Are Made For," and went on to spend a few years on the Motown label where they achieved only minimal success.

In 1971, the group signed with Atlantic records on the recommendation of Aretha Franklin, and Smith went led the Spinners on hits including "I'll Be Around," "Could It Be I'm Falling in Love" and "Games People Play." Over the course of their career the band accumulated numerous gold records and Grammy nominations, while in 2011 they were nominated for the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame for the first time.

"Bobby was a regular, down-to-earth, good-natured person, the kind of guy who'd give you his shirt," Henry Fambrough, the group's one surviving member, told the Free Press. "And ever since I've known him, he was just a natural showman."

To read the new issue of Rolling Stone online, plus the entire RS archive: Click Here

prev
Music Main Next

blog comments powered by Disqus
Daily Newsletter

Get the latest RS news in your inbox.

Sign up to receive the Rolling Stone newsletter and special offers from RS and its
marketing partners.

X

We may use your e-mail address to send you the newsletter and offers that may interest you, on behalf of Rolling Stone and its partners. For more information please read our Privacy Policy.

Song Stories

“Road to Nowhere”

Talking Heads | 1985

A cappella harmonies give way to an a fuller arrangement blending pop and electro-disco on "Road to Nowhere," but the theme remains constant: We're on an eternal journey to an undefined destination. The song vaulted back into the news a quarter century after it was a hit when Gov. Charlie Crist used it in his unsuccessful 2010 campaign for the U.S. Senate in Florida. "It's this little ditty about how there's no order and no plan and no scheme to life and death and it doesn't mean anything, but it's all right," Byrne said with a chuckle.

More Song Stories entries »
 
www.expandtheroom.com