Category: the spinners

On this day in music history: August 6, 1975 -…

On this day in music history: August 6, 1975 – “(They Just Can’t Stop It The) Games People Play” by The Spinners is released. Written by Joseph B. Jefferson, Bruce Hawes and Charles Simmons, it is the fourth R&B chart topper for the Detroit, MI based R&B vocal group. The song is penned by Joseph B. Jefferson, who has previously written chart topping hits for The Spinners including “One Of A Kind (Love Affair)”. Jefferson collaborates again with co-writers Bruce Hawes and Charles Simmons, having written “Mighty Love” together. When arranging the song, producer Thom Bell incorporates the sounds of Tin Pan Alley era pop songs, and the vocal stylings of groups like The Mills Brothers and The Ink Spots, putting them into a contemporary musical backdrop. This is most noticeable when Bell has bass singer Pervis Jackson singing counterpart to lead singer Bobbie Smith, during certain parts of the song. The track also features background vocalist Barbara Ingram of “The Sweethearts Of Sigma”. Issued as the first single from the groups sixth album “Pick Of The Litter”, The single is initially titled just “Games People Play”, but the title is amended to avoid confusion with the Joe South song of the same name. The track which runs nearly five minutes on the album is edited down to under three and a half minutes, by excising one verse, chorus and a piano solo in the latter half. “Games People Play” hits #1 on the Billboard R&B singles chart on October 18, 1975, #5 on the Hot 100 on October 25, 1975, and is certified Gold in the US by the RIAA.

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On this day in music history: June 11, 1970 …

On this day in music history: June 11, 1970 – “It’s A Shame” by The Spinners is released. Written by Stevie Wonder, Lee Garrett and Syreeta Wright, it is the third top ten R&B and first top twenty pop hit for the R&B vocal quintet from Detroit, MI. Formed the Detroit suburb of Ferndale, MI in 1954, The Spinners sign to Tri-Phi Records in 1961 scoring a hit with their first single “That’s What Girls Are Made For” (#5 R&B, #27 Pop). In spite of this success, the group are unable to rise above second or third tier status at the label. It is another four years before they land their second sizable hit with “I’ll Always Love You” (#8 R&B, #35 Pop) in 1965. The group members end up working mostly as road managers, chaperones, or chauffeurs for the other Motown acts. As the 60’s turn to the 70’s, The Spinners experience a dramatic reversal of fortune from an unlikely source. Only nineteen at the time, and in search of ways to expand his own now blossoming talent, Stevie Wonder is anxious to begin producing records. Close friends and running buddies with Spinners lead singer G.C. Cameron, Stevie resolves to write and produce a hit record for his friends group. With The Spinners being considered low men on the Motown totem pole, label founder Berry Gordy grants Wonder permission to work with the group. Stevie along with his future wife Syreeta Wright and friend Lee Garrett writes “It’s A Shame”. The basic track is recorded at Motown’s Studio B in Detroit, MI over two days on January 27 – 28, 1970. It features Funk Brothers members James Jamerson (bass), Robert White, Eddie Willis, and Dennis Coffey (guitars), Jack Ashford (tambourine), Richard “Pistol” Allen and Uriel Jones (drums). The Spinners overdub their vocals at Studio B on April 6, 1970, with the horns (arranged by Paul Riser) being recorded on April 29, 1970. Anchored by a lean and funky rhythm track, topped by Cameron’s thrilling tenor to falsetto vocals and the other Spinners tight harmonies, the record is an instant classic. “It’s A Shame” peaks at #4 on the Billboard R&B singles chart on September 19, 1970, and #14 on the Hot 100 on October 17, 1970, becoming the group’s biggest hit to date. The success of “Shame” marks the beginning of the end of The Spinners association with Motown Records. When their contract expires at the end of 1971, they sign with Atlantic Records on the suggestion of their friend R&B superstar Aretha Franklin. They finally realize their full potential at Atlantic, and become one of the biggest R&B groups of the 70’s. In 1990, British born rapper Monie Love samples “It’s A Shame” for her hit “It’s A Shame (My Sister)”.

Help support the Behind The Grooves music blog with a donation by clicking on the link at: PayPal.Me/jharris1228

On this day in music history: June 9, 1973 – “…

On this day in music history: June 9, 1973 – “One Of A Kind (Love Affair)” by The Spinners hits #1 on the Billboard R&B singles chart for 4 weeks, also peaking at #11 on the Hot 100 on June 30, 1973. Written by Joseph B. Jefferson, it is the third consecutive R&B chart topper single for the vocal quintet from Detroit, MI. Songwriter Joseph B. Jefferson is inspired to write the song after his live in girlfriend suddenly leaves him. She writes a note to him on the kitchen wall that says simply, “I’m in love with you. I can’t stay with you.” Also a staff writer at Mighty Three Music, the publishing company owned jointly by producer Thom Bell and Philadelphia International Records owners Kenny Gamble and Leon Huff, Bell while looking for material for The Spinners to record, asks Jefferson if he has any songs. He replies “yes” and say that the song is titled “One Of A Kind (Love Affair)”, even though in truth he had not actually written the song yet. When the two meet again a week later, Jefferson has written the chorus and two verses, and plays it for Bell. When the producer exclaims that “it’s a number one record!”, the songwriter goes back and completes the song. Recorded at Sigma Sound Studios in Philadelphia, the track features MFSB providing musical backing, with Spinners members Bobbie Smith and Philippe Wynne sharing co-lead vocals on the song. On the full length LP version of “One Of A Kind”, Wynne improvises the line “makes you want to love her, you just got to f*** her” at the 2:40 mark in the song. The line with the expletive is edited out of the single version, though radio stations that are unaware of the line, often play it off of the album without listeners noticing it either. Issued as the third single from the group’s self-titled debut album for Atlantic Records, it becomes The Spinners’ third million seller in a row. “One Of A Kind (Love Affair)” is certified Gold in the US by the RIAA.

Help support the Behind The Grooves music blog with a donation by clicking on the link at: PayPal.Me/jharris1228

On this day in music history: March 2, 1974 – …

On this day in music history: March 2, 1974 – “Mighty Love Pt. 1” by The Spinners hits #1 on the Billboard R&B singles chart for 2 weeks, also peaking at #20 on the Hot 100 on March 23, 1974. Written by Charles Simmons, Joseph B. Jefferson and Bruce Hawes, it is the fourth R&B chart topper for the Detroit, MI based vocal group. The trio of songwriters are introduced to each other by producer Thom Bell during sessions for The Spinners second album for Atlantic Records. “Mighty Love” is the first song they write together. The track is recorded at Sigma Sound Studios in Philadelphia, PA in the Fall of 1973, with members of the studios house band MFSB. Issued as the title track and first single, “Mighty Love” hits immediately, racing up the R&B and pop singles chart simultaneously, sending the accompanying album to Gold status. The song is also featured on the soundtrack of the Spike Lee directed film “Crooklyn” in 1994.

On this day in music history: October 26, 1974…

On this day in music history: October 26, 1974 – “Then Came You” by The Spinners and Dionne Warwick hits #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 for one week also peaking at #2 on the R&B singles chart on October 19, 1974. Written by Sherman Marshall and Phil Pugh, it is the lone pop chart topper for the Detroit based vocal group and the first for the Pop/R&B vocalist. Producer Thom Bell will suggest the duet after The Spinners and Warwick appear on the same live concert bill in Las Vegas. After they record “Then Came You”, Warwick believing the song won’t be a hit, makes a bet with Bell. They take a dollar bill and tear it in half, each taking half. The loser of the bet has to send their half of the dollar to the winner. Released as a stand alone single on July 13, 1974 (later included on The Spinners’ album “New And Improved” and Warwick’s “Then Came You”), it quickly becomes a smash. Entering the Hot 100 #51 on July 27, 1974, it climbs to the top of the chart thirteen weeks later. The single quickly sells over a million copies and earn them a Grammy nomination for Best R&B Vocal Performance By A Duo Or Group. Warwick sends Bell her half of the dollar back along with an apology for being wrong about the songs’ hit potential. The song also makes Billboard chart history when it takes the biggest fall from top spot, dropping to #15 the week of November 2, 1974, tying with Billy Preston’s “Nothing From Nothing” which it had replaced at number one and took the same downward trajectory. “Then Came You” is certified Gold in the US by the RIAA.

On this day in music history: October 23, 1976…

On this day in music history: October 23, 1976 – “The Rubberband Man” by The Spinners hits #1 on the Billboard R&B singles chart for 1 week, also peaking at #2 on the Hot 100 on December 4, 1976. Written by Thom Bell and Linda Creed, it is the sixth and final chart topper for the R&B vocal quintet from Detroit, MI. With four years of non-stop hits behind them since establishing a winning association with producer, songwriter and arranger Thom Bell, The Spinners continue their reign as one of the biggest acts in R&B and Pop music into the bicentennial year. The inspiration for “The Rubberband Man” comes from Bell’s own son Mark. Always a big kid, Mark Bell grows up to be 6’7", weighing 375 lbs by the time he reaches adulthood. Teased by many of his fellow school mates over his size and weight, he is referred to them as “the fat man”. Sensing his sons’ hurt over being taunted, Bell sets about writing a song to cheer him up. Along with his long time writing partner, lyricist Linda Creed, they change “the fat man” into “The Rubberband Man”. The songs’ protagonist is gifted with extraordinary agility and grace as a dancer, who is beloved by all who encounter him. The track and vocals are recorded at Sigma Sound Studios in Philadelphia, PA in mid 1976, with members of the famed studio collective MFSB including Tony Bell, Sr., Bobby Eli (guitars), Larry Washington (percussion), Thom Bell (keyboards), and former Funk Brothers Bob Babbitt (bass, electric funk box) and Andrew Smith (drums). “The Rubberband Man” features Philippé Wynne on lead vocals with the other four members of The Spinners Bobby Smith, Pervis Jackson, Henry Fambrough and Billy Henderson on background vocals, along with The Sweethearts Of Sigma (Barbara Ingram, Carla Benson and Yvette Benton), adding additional backing vocals. When The Spinners appear on various television programs to promote the single, they are seen dancing with giant rubberbands, while performing the song. It is the last major hit to feature lead vocalist Philippé Wynne, who leaves The Spinners in early 1977 for a solo career, with the group continuing with new lead singer John Edwards. “The Rubberband Man” is later featured in the comedy “Stripes” in 1981, as well as on the sitcom “Martin”, in a series of commercials for OfficeMax and also in the films “Radio”, “Akeelah And The Bee”, “About Last Night” and “The Avengers – Infinity War”. “The Rubberband Man” is certified Gold in the US by the RIAA.

On this day in music history: October 14, 1972…

On this day in music history: October 14, 1972 – “I’ll Be Around” by The Spinners hits #1 on the Billboard R&B singles chart for 5 weeks, also peaking at #3 on the Hot 100 on November 18, 1972. Written by Thom Bell and Phil Hurtt, it is the first chart topping single for the R&B vocal quintet from Detroit, MI. Best known for his work with The Delfonics and The Stylistics, producer and arranger Thom Bell adds another group to his credits when he begins working with The Spinners after they are signed to Atlantic Records in early 1972. The group records four sides with producer Jimmy Roach, but the tracks are shelved when Atlantic doesn’t hear any hits. Label VP Henry Allen asks Thom Bell if he wants to work with The Spinners, and he immediately agrees. Fans of the group since their days on Motown, Bell feels that The Spinners hadn’t reached their full hit making potential while at the label, and commits himself to making them a success. While coming up with song ideas for them, Bell’s regular songwriting partner, lyricist Linda Creed is unavailable since she is prepared to get married at the time. Bell calls on Phil Hurtt, a staff songwriter at his publishing company Mighty Three Music to collaborate. Hurtt comes up with a melody and writes the lyrics for “I’ll Be Around” by the next day. The track is recorded on June 14, 1972 at Sigma Sound Studios in Philadelphia with members of MFSB, with the master take being cut in about forty minutes. The Spinners quickly record their vocals (with Bobbie Smith on lead vocals), and it is readied for release. When it is issued as a single in July of 1972, “I’ll Be Around” is regulated to the B-side of “How Could I Let You Get Away” (sung by Philippé Wynne). “How Could” receives solid airplay from R&B stations, but is largely ignored by top 40 pop stations. Believing firmly in the other songs hit potential, Bell takes it upon himself to visit radio stations and encourage them to flip the single and play “I’ll Be Around” instead. From there, the record takes off quickly, climbing the pop and R&B singles charts almost simultaneously. The breakthrough success of “I’ll Be Around” gives The Spinners the success that had largely eluded them while on Motown, and marks the beginning of a long and highly successful collaboration with producer Thom Bell. “I’ll Be Around” is certified Gold in the US by the RIAA.

On this day in music history: August 6, 1975 -…

On this day in music history: August 6, 1975 – “(They Just Can’t Stop It The) Games People Play” by The Spinners is released. Written by Joseph B. Jefferson, Bruce Hawes and Charles Simmons, it is the fourth R&B chart topper for the Detroit, MI based R&B vocal group. The song is penned by Joseph B. Jefferson who has previously written chart topping hits for The Spinners including “One Of A Kind (Love Affair)” and with co-writers Bruce Hawes and Charles Simmons they have written “Mighty Love” together. When arranging the song, producer Thom Bell incorporates the sounds of Tin Pan Alley era pop songs, and the vocal stylings of groups like The Mills Brothers and The Ink Spots, putting them into a contemporary musical backdrop. This is most noticeable when Bell has bass singer Pervis Jackson singing counterpart to lead singer Bobbie Smith, during certain parts of the song. The track also features background vocalist Barbara Ingram of “The Sweethearts Of Sigma”. Issued as the first single from the groups sixth album “Pick Of The Litter”, The single is initially titled just “Games People Play”, but the title is amended to avoid confusion with the Joe South song of the same name. The track which runs nearly five minutes on the album is edited down to under three and a half minutes, by excising one verse, chorus and a piano solo in the latter half. “Games People Play” hits #1 on the Billboard R&B singles chart on October 18, 1975, #5 on the Hot 100 on October 25, 1975, and is certified Gold in the US by the RIAA.

On this day in music history: June 11, 1970 – …

On this day in music history: June 11, 1970 – “It’s A Shame” by The Spinners is released. Written by Stevie Wonder, Lee Garrett and Syreeta Wright, it is the third top ten R&B and first top twenty pop hit for the R&B vocal quintet from Detroit, MI. Formed the Detroit suburb of Ferndale, MI in 1954, The Spinners sign to Tri-Phi Records in 1961 scoring a hit with their first single “That’s What Girls Are Made For” (#5 R&B, #27 Pop). In spite of this success, the group are unable to rise above second or third tier status at the label. It is another four years before they land their second sizable hit with “I’ll Always Love You” (#8 R&B, #35 Pop) in 1965. The group members end up working mostly as road managers, chaperones, or chauffeurs for the other Motown acts. As the 60’s turn to the 70’s, The Spinners experience a dramatic reversal of fortune from an unlikely source. Only nineteen at the time, and in search of ways to expand his own now blossoming talent, Stevie Wonder is anxious to begin producing records. Close friends and running buddies with Spinners lead singer G.C. Cameron, Stevie resolves to write and produce a hit record for his friends group. With The Spinners being considered low men on the Motown’s totem pole, label founder Berry Gordy grants Wonder permission to work with the group. Stevie along with his future wife Syreeta Wright and friend Lee Garrett writes “It’s A Shame”. The basic track is recorded at Motown’s Studio B in Detroit, MI over two days on January 27 – 28, 1970. It features Funk Brothers members James Jamerson (bass), Robert White, Eddie Willis, and Dennis Coffey (guitars), Jack Ashford (tambourine), Richard “Pistol” Allen and Uriel Jones (drums). The Spinners overdub their vocals at Studio B on April 6, 1970, with the horns (arranged by Paul Riser) being recorded on April 29, 1970. Anchored by a lean and funky rhythm track, topped by Cameron’s thrilling tenor to falsetto vocals and the other Spinners tight harmonies, the record is an instant classic. “It’s A Shame” peaks at #4 on the Billboard R&B singles chart on September 19, 1970, and #14 on the Hot 100 on October 17, 1970, becoming the group’s biggest hit to date. The success of “Shame” marks the beginning of the end of The Spinners association with Motown Records. When their contract expires at the end of 1971, they sign with Atlantic Records on the suggestion of their friend R&B superstar Aretha Franklin, where they finally realize their full potential, becoming one of the biggest R&B groups of the 70’s. In 1990, British born rapper Monie Love samples “It’s A Shame” for her hit “It’s A Shame (My Sister)”.

On this day in music history: June 9, 1973 – “…

On this day in music history: June 9, 1973 – “One Of A Kind (Love Affair)” by The Spinners hits #1 on the Billboard R&B singles chart for 4 weeks, also peaking at #11 on the Hot 100 on June 30, 1973. Written by Joseph B. Jefferson, it is the third consecutive R&B chart topper single for the vocal quintet from Detroit, MI. Songwriter Joseph B. Jefferson is inspired to write the song after his live in girlfriend suddenly leaves him. She writes a note to him on the kitchen wall that says simply, “I’m in love with you. I can’t stay with you.” Also a staff writer at Mighty Three Music, the publishing company owned jointly by producer Thom Bell and Philadelphia International Records owners Kenny Gamble and Leon Huff, Bell while looking for material for The Spinners to record, asks Jefferson if he has any songs. He replies “yes” and say that the song is titled “One Of A Kind (Love Affair)”, even though in truth he had not actually written the song yet. When the two meet again a week later, Jefferson has written the chorus and two verses, and plays it for Bell. When the producer exclaims that “it’s a number one record!”, the songwriter goes back and completes the song. Recorded at Sigma Sound Studios in Philadelphia, the track features MFSB providing musical backing, with Spinners members Bobbie Smith and Philippe Wynne sharing co-lead vocals on the song. On the full length LP version of “One Of A Kind”, Wynne improvises the line “makes you want to love her, you just got to f*** her” at the 2:40 mark in the song. The line with the expletive is edited out of the single version, though radio stations that are unaware of the line, often play it off of the album without listeners noticing it either. Issued as the third single from the group’s self-titled debut album for Atlantic Records, it becomes The Spinners’ third million seller in a row. “One Of A Kind (Love Affair)” is certified Gold in the US by the RIAA.