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Henry Fambrough, Last of the Original Spinners, Dies at 85

Henry Fambrough, Last of the Original Spinners, Dies at 85


Henry Fambrough, the final surviving unique member of the hit-making R&B vocal group the Spinners, died on Wednesday at his residence in Herndon, Va. He was 85.

His demise was introduced by a spokeswoman for the group, Tanisha Jackson. She didn’t specify a trigger.

Mr. Fambrough died lower than a yr after he introduced his retirement, and only a few months after the Spinners’ basic Nineteen Seventies lineup of Mr. Fambrough, Billy Henderson, Pervis Jackson, Bobbie Smith, Philippé Wynne and John Edwards was inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame.

That identical yr, the group donated 375 of its efficiency outfits to the Motown Museum in Detroit. Touring Motown’s Studio A that day, Mr. Fambrough instructed reporters that he “used to dream about this place” earlier than the Spinners started recording there within the Sixties — and that he typically needed to persuade his spouse that he was going to the studio when he left the home in the midst of the evening.

Originally generally known as the Domingoes, the Spinners have been shaped in 1954 in Ferndale, Mich., a northern suburb of Detroit. The group joined the Motown roster a decade later however had just one massive hit for the label, “It’s a Shame,” which was co-written and produced by Stevie Wonder and peaked at No. 14 on the Billboard Hot 100 in 1970.

They hit their inventive and industrial stride after they signed with Atlantic Records in 1972 and commenced working with the producer Thom Bell. The ensuing string of hits started with the Top 10 singles “I’ll Be Around” and “Could It Be I’m Falling in Love” and included “Then Came You,” a collaboration with Dionne Warwick that reached No. 1 on the Hot 100 in 1974. Their final hit was a medley of “Cupid” and “I’ve Loved You for a Long Time” in 1980.

The Spinners have been nominated for six Grammy Awards, although they by no means received. They have been inducted into the National Rhythm & Blues Hall of Fame in 2015.

Mr. Smith and Mr. Wynne dealt with many of the group’s lead vocals, however Mr. Fambrough took or shared the highlight on just a few songs, notably “Ghetto Child,” a No. 4 R&B hit in 1973.

Henry Lee Fambrough was born in Detroit on May 10, 1938. His survivors embody his spouse of 52 years, Norma Fambrough; a daughter, Heather Williams; and a sister, Martha.

Like many different teams of their period who not have any unique members, the Spinners have continued touring. After Mr. Fambrough introduced his retirement in April 2023, he mentioned in an announcement: “The Spinners are nonetheless right here and nonetheless singing for our individuals who wish to hear us. And that’s not going to vary. We’ll nonetheless be there for them.”

The New York Times contributed reporting.

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