Bobbie Smith, the original lead singer of the soul group The Spinners, has died. He was 76. Smith had been diagnosed with lung cancer this past November, and died of complications from pneumonia and influenza.
Smith co-founded the Detroit group in 1954, landing its first solid hit with 1961’s “That’s What Girls Are Made For.” Other hits would soon follow, like the Stevie Wonder-written“It’s A Shame,” “I’ll Be Around,” “The Rubberband Man,” and “Could It Be I’m Falling In Love,” which Smith sang lead on.
Smith also sang lead on 1974’s “Then Came You,” a duet with Dionne Warwick that was The Spinners’ only No. 1 hit—though the group has almost a dozen gold records and six Grammy nominations to its name.
Though The Spinners still perform regularly as of today, only one original member, Henry Fambrough, remains part of the lineup. Three of the original Spinners—Smith, Billy Henderson, and Pervis Jackson—are now dead, while another, G.C. Cameron, left the group in 2003 to join The Temptations. Over the course of the band’s almost 60-year career, 17 different people have been members of The Spinners.