Henry Fambrough

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Henry Fambrough
Fambrough singing into a microphone onstage
Fambrough performing with The Spinners in 2018
Background information
Born(1938-05-10)May 10, 1938
Detroit, Michigan, U.S.
DiedFebruary 7, 2024(2024-02-07) (aged 85)
Sterling, Virginia, U.S.
Genres
Occupation(s)Singer
Years active1954–2023
LabelsMotown
Formerly ofThe Spinners

Henry Lee Fambrough (May 10, 1938[1][2] – February 7, 2024) was an American vocalist, known for being a member of the R&B quintet The Spinners[3] (also called The Detroit Spinners and The Motown Spinners)[4] from 1954 until his retirement in April 2023. He was the last surviving original member of The Spinners from 2013 until his death.

The Spinners

The Spinners standing together, dressed in matching suits
Henry Fambrough (second from right) as part of The Spinners in 1965

The Spinners formed in 1954 in Ferndale, Michigan, as the Domingoes before changing their name to the Spinners.[5] Fambrough was drafted into the U.S. Army in 1961 and on his return two years later, the Spinners signed up under Motown Records.[6][7] They did not have any big hits for the next six years, and Fambrough ended up working as a chauffeur for the mother of label boss Berry Gordy Jr.[8][9]

During the group's heyday from the early to mid-1970s, Henry served as one of the group's three lead singers (along with Philippé Wynne and Bobby Smith)[4] and his rich baritone provided lead vocals for the Spinners classic "I Don't Want to Lose You",[10][11][12] as well as co-lead vocals with Wynne on "Living a Little, Laughing a Little".[13]

On the group's classic single "Ghetto Child", he shared leads with Wynne and Smith.[12] He dueted with Dionne Warwick on the Spinners' "Just As Long As We Have Love", from their 1975 album Pick of the Litter,[12] and sang lead on the classic album cut "If You Can't Be in Love", from the album Happiness Is Being with the Spinners (1976). Fambrough was noted for the whiplash mustache he wore at that time.[10]

With the release of the group's most recent album Round the Block and Back Again in 2021, Fambrough is the only member of the Spinners to have been featured on every release.[14]

Retirement

In April 2023, Fambrough announced his retirement, but the Spinners continued to perform without him, and he remained involved with the group behind the scenes.[8][15][16] He was in the group for sixty-nine years. The following month, the Spinners were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, sixty-nine years after forming, and thirty-seven years after first being eligible to be inducted.[8][17]

Following his announcement on retiring, he told Spinners fans: "The Spinners are still here and still singing for our people who want to hear us. And that's not going to change. We'll still be there for them."[15]

With the deaths of fellow Spinners members C. P. Spencer in 2004, Billy Henderson in 2007, Pervis Jackson in 2008, and Bobby Smith in 2013, Fambrough was the last original member of the group. He died on February 7, 2024, in Sterling, Virginia, at the age of 85.[18][10]

References

  1. ^ "Detroit Spinners". Oxford Reference. Retrieved February 9, 2024.
  2. ^ "Henry Fambrough, member of Motown group The Spinners, dies at 85". USA TODAY. Retrieved February 9, 2024.
  3. ^ Erlewine, Stephen Thomas. "Biography: The Spinners". AMG. Retrieved May 15, 2010.
  4. ^ a b Graff, Gary (August 23, 2021). "Legendary R&B group the Spinners releasing first new album in 40 years". The Oakland Press. Retrieved February 7, 2024.
  5. ^ "Henry Fambrough, last surviving original member of The Spinners, dies at 85". Associated Press. Associated Press. February 7, 2024. Retrieved February 7, 2024.
  6. ^ Spatz, David J. (November 23, 2015). "Last Spinner standing keeps group alive". Courier-Post. Retrieved February 7, 2024.
  7. ^ Kulman, Betsy (May 27, 2014). "The last Spinner: Keeping the iconic doo-wop group alive". Al Jazeera America. Retrieved February 7, 2024.
  8. ^ a b c Graff, Gary (May 3, 2023). "The Spinners' Sole Surviving Founder Reacts to Rock & Roll Hall of Fame Induction". Billboard. Retrieved February 7, 2024.
  9. ^ Schweibert, Ray (November 24, 2015). "Still Spinnin'—At 77, Henry Fambrough is the last Spinner standing". Atlantic City Weekly. Retrieved February 7, 2024.
  10. ^ a b c Chelosky, Danielle (February 7, 2024). "Henry Fambrough, Last Original Member Of The Spinners, Dead At 85". Stereogum. Retrieved February 7, 2024.
  11. ^ Rizik, Chris. "SoulTracks Lost Gem: The Spinners "Don't Want To Lose You"". SoulTracks. Retrieved February 7, 2024.
  12. ^ a b c Rizik, Chris. "Happy Birthday to the late, great Henry Fambrough of The Spinners". SoulTracks. Retrieved February 7, 2024.
  13. ^ "Celebrity deaths 2024: Remembering the stars we've lost this year". Entertainment Weekly. February 8, 2024. Retrieved February 9, 2024.
  14. ^ Jackson, Benjamin (February 9, 2024). "Henry Fambrough – Last surviving member of Michigan R&B group The Spinners dies aged 85". National World. Retrieved February 9, 2024.
  15. ^ a b Rizik, Chris (April 10, 2023). "A happy retirement by Henry Fambrough, the last original member of The Spinners". SoulTracks. Archived from the original on November 28, 2023. Retrieved August 3, 2023.
  16. ^ Farber, Jim (August 17, 2023). "The Spinners: 'Our voices chose for us'". Tidal. Retrieved February 7, 2024.
  17. ^ Madarang, Charisma (May 4, 2023). "'This Was Our Time': The Spinners' Surviving Founder on Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Induction". Rolling Stone. Retrieved August 3, 2023.
  18. ^ McCollum, Brian. "The Spinners' Henry Fambrough, who helped take Detroit group to musical heights, dies at 85". Detroit Free Press. Retrieved February 7, 2024.

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