Henry Fambrough, last surviving member of the Spinners, has died

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Henry Fambrough was a member of the Spinners from their formation in 1954 until his retirement in 2023.

Henry Fambrough, last surviving original member of the rhythm and blues group The Spinners and member of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, has died at the age of 85.

Henry Fambrough died peacefully of natural causes Wednesday at his home in Virginia, after a month of hospice care, Spinners spokeswoman Tanisha Jackson told the Detroit Free Press. His death comes a little more than two months after Fambrough attended the Spinners’ Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction ceremony in November.

He was able to experience this recognition. He was able to savor this accomplishment, and it was something he was really happy aboutadded Jackson. He was happy to represent those who came before him. »

Born in Detroit in 1938, Fambrough co-founded the vocal group that would be renamed the Spinners in nearby Ferndale, Michigan, with fellow singers Pervis Jackson, Billy Henderson, Bobby Smith and CP Spencer. Although the group formed in 1954, it was not until years later (and after Fambrough’s two-year stint in the U.S. Army) that the band would sign with Detroit’s soon-to-be Tri-Phi Records. absorbed by Motown Records.

During a period of nearly ten years with Motown and its subsidiary VIP Records, the Spinners achieved major success (” C’est dommage » in 1970, co-written by Stevie Wonder) before the group and recently installed singer Philippé Wynne moved to Atlantic Records in 1971 (at the request of Detroit singer Aretha Franklin) and quickly found themselves under the wing of producer Thom Bell, who has just signed with the label.

Although born and raised in Detroit, the Spinners quickly became the embodiment of Bell’s Philadelphia soul, racking up Top 10 hits throughout the 1970s, such as ” I’ll Be Around “, ” Could It Be I’m Falling in Love “, ” Then Came You » with Dionne Warwick (a number one single), « Games People Play ” And ” The Rubber Band Man », all produced by Bell.

Although the Spinners have gone through dozens of lineup changes since their inception 70 years ago, Fambrough has been the one constant, remaining the group’s baritone throughout his career until his retirement in April 2023.

Of the six members of the Spinners inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, Fambrough is one of two survivors, along with John Edwards, who joined the group in 1977 in Wynne’s place. Among the founding members inducted, Billy Henderson died in 2007, Pervis Jackson in 2008 and Bobby Smith in 2013. Philippé Wynne died in 1984.

Jessie Peck, current lead singer of the Spinners, told the Detroit Free Presss: “ (Fambrough) wanted above all for the group to continue to exist, no matter what. He said: ‘Don’t stop. As long as we have fans, as long as people love our music, keep going, keep striving to give music and keep the Spinners’ legacy alive. This is what he passed on to us. As a singer, his voice never faltered. She never weakened over the years – she was as gentle as ever. As a performer he was always consistent. He set the standard for the rest of us for how Spinners should be: always on point, every step of the way. »


Written by

Christopher Johnson

Christopher Johnson is a dedicated writer and key contributor to the WECB website, Emerson College's student-run radio station. Passionate about music, radio communication, and journalism, Christopher pursues his craft with a blend of meticulous research and creative flair. His writings on the site cover an array of subjects, from music reviews and artist interviews to event updates and industry news. As an active member of the Emerson College community, Christopher is not only a writer but also an advocate for student involvement, using his work to foster increased engagement and enthusiasm within the school's radio and broadcasting culture. Through his consistent and high-quality outputs, Christopher Johnson helps shape the voice and identity of WECB, truly embodying its motto of being an inclusive, diverse, and enthusiastic music community.