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

Henry Fambrough, the last original surviving original member of the Michigan-based R&B group the Spinners, died of natural causes on Feb. 7. He was 85.

Fambrough died in his home in Virginia after spending a month in hospice care, the Spinners’ spokesperson Tanisha Jackson told the Detroit Free-Press. Fambrough’s final public appearance took place just over two months ago for the Spinners’ Rock Hall induction ceremony in November. He spent seven decades with the Spinners and retired from the group in early 2023.

“He got to experience those accolades. He was able to bask in the accomplishment, and that was something he was really happy about,” Jackson told the publication. “He was glad to represent the ones who had gone before him.”

Fambrough was born in Detroit in 1938 and co-founded the vocal group in 1954 with Pervis Jackson, Billy Henderson, Bobby Smith and C.P. Spencer. After landing a deal with Tri-Phi Records, which Berry Gordy’s Motown Records acquired, the Spinners launched numerous hits on the pop charts including “Could It Be I’m Falling in Love,” “I’ll Be Around,” “Then Came You,” “One of a Kind (Love Affair),” “Games People Play,” “The Rubberband Man,” “Working My Back to You” and more.

After nearly a decade with Motown, the Spinners became defined by 1970’s “It’s A Shame,” co-written by Stevie Wonder. With the addition of lead singer Philippé Wynne, the Spinners went on to sign with Atlantic Records in the early ’70s and began working extensively with producer Thom Bell. The band continued with several new band members in and out of rotation but Fambrough remained in the group up until his retirement in April 2023.

Fambrough is survived by his wife, Norma Fambrough.

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