HomeTop HeadlinesR&R Hall of Fame Singer Dies at 85

R&R Hall of Fame Singer Dies at 85

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Henry Fambrough, the talented baritone and the last surviving original member of the legendary R&B group The Spinners, has died at the age of 85. Fambrough passed away due to natural causes at his residence in Northern Virginia on Wednesday, February 7, as confirmed by the group’s spokesperson, Tanisha Jackson.

The Spinners, celebrated for timeless classics such as “It’s a Shame,” “Could It Be I’m Falling in Love,” and “The Rubberband Man,” were honored with an induction into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame last November. This prestigious recognition was attributed not only to Fambrough but also to the other group members – Billy Henderson, Pervis Jackson, Bobby Smith, Philippé Wynne, and John Edwards – celebrating the indelible mark they have left on the music industry.

Last May, Fambrough visited Motown’s Studio A in Detroit. This visit was not just a trip down memory lane but also included the donation of 375 outfits and shoes worn by The Spinners to the Motown Museum, commemorating the group’s visual as well as musical legacy. Reflecting on his early days, Fambrough shared, “It was a long time ago. I used to dream about this place,” revealing the deep connection he felt with the place where The Spinners’ journey began.

The Spinners’ ascendancy to fame was marked by their hit “It’s A Shame,” in 1970, which reached No. 14 on Billboard’s Hot 100. Their partnership with Atlantic Records heralded a golden era, producing a slew of hits including the chart-topping “Then Came You,” in collaboration with Dionne Warwick in 1974. The group’s success is also highlighted by 18 platinum and gold albums, and six Grammy nominations, underscoring their profound impact on the R&B and soul music genres.

Originating in 1954 in Ferndale, Michigan, as The Domingoes, The Spinners’ journey to Motown Records ten years later was the start of an era that would forever change the landscape of American music. Their story is not just one of musical evolution but also of the cultural impact they had through their soulful melodies and harmonious storytelling.

Fambrough’s unwavering dedication to The Spinners and their music was evident throughout nearly seven decades of performance. Despite numerous lineup changes, his baritone voice and leadership ensured the group’s enduring legacy. Current Spinners singer Jessie Peck reflected on Fambrough’s commitment: “He had a desire above all else to keep this going no matter what… He set the standard for the rest of us about how the Spinners should be: always on point, with every step.”

Despite the inevitable changes over the years, Fambrough’s presence remained a constant, symbolizing the heart and soul of The Spinners until his retirement in April 2023

Fambrough is survived by his wife, Norma, with whom he was married for 52 years, and his daughter Heather, to whom he leaves not just a personal legacy but also a vast cultural heritage. 

The Spinners’ music, enriched by Fambrough’s contributions, will continue to resonate, inspiring future generations to discover the power of harmony and the beauty of shared melodies.

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