Bobbie Smith

April 10, 1936 ā€“ March 16, 2013

The Spinners were a popular American R&B vocal group that formed in 1954 in a housing project outside of Detroit. The group got their professional start at Tri-Phi Records, which was eventually absorbed into Berry Gordy’s Motown label. While they paid their dues alongside hitmakers like the Temptations and the Four Tops, the Spinners’ success was finally realized when they left Motown and signed with Atlantic records in the early 1970’s. Through all the highs and lows, the most consistent lead vocal was that of Robert “Bobby” Smith. Bobby – or “Bobbie” as he sometimes spelled it – led the Spinners on certified Gold singles like “Could It Be I’m Falling in Love,” the duet with Dionne Warwick “Then Came You” and “I’ll Be Around.” The latter – originally a B-side – was an unexpected success as DJs preferred playing it to the A-side single. It became the Spinners’ first million-selling record and their first #1 hit.

Hailed as a “natural showman” and “good-natured person” by groupmate, Henry Fambrough, Smith remained the foundation of the Spinners for nearly 60 years. He semi-retired toward the end of his life, but would not pass up an opportunity to join the group on stage. He was diagnosed with lung cancer in 2012. His last performance with the Spinners was on a Soul Train Cruise in early 2013. He died about a month later from complications of pneumonia and the flu at the age of 76.

Burial

Woodlawn Cemetery – Detroit, MI

Specific Location

Section 2, Mausoleum of Peace – At the southeast corner of the middle structure of the Peace Mausoleum, Bobby is interred in the 3rd row up on the far right corner of the south-facing side.

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