Henry Fambrough, last surviving original member of The Spinners, dies aged 85

8 February 2024, 08:44

The Spinners member Henry Fambrough
Obit Fambrough. Picture: PA

The R&B group’s songs received six Grammy Award nominations and earned 18 platinum and gold albums.

Henry Fambrough, the last surviving original member of the R&B group The Spinners, whose hits included It’s A Shame, Could It Be I’m Falling In Love and The Rubberband Man, has died aged 85, a spokesperson for the group said.

Fambrough died peacefully of natural causes in his northern Virginia home, spokesperson Tanisha Jackson said in a statement.

The group was inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in November.

Along with Fambrough, Billy Henderson, Pervis Jackson, Bobby Smith, Philippe Wynne and John Edwards were listed as inductees.

The Spinners from left; John Edwards, Bobby Smith, Henry Fambrough, Pervis Jackson and Billy Henderson in New York in 1997
The Spinners from left; John Edwards, Bobby Smith, Henry Fambrough, Pervis Jackson and Billy Henderson in New York in 1997 (Marty Lederhandler/AP)

Last May, Fambrough took a tour of Motown’s Studio A in Detroit as part of a ceremony that included the donation to the Motown Museum of 375 outfits worn by the group during performances.

It “was a long time ago”, Fambrough said at the time of the 1960s, when he first walked into the studio.

“I used to dream about this place.”

He told reporters that he had to convince his wife that the studio was where he was going for 3am rehearsals and recording sessions with other members of the group.

Their first big hit for Motown was It’s A Shame, which peaked at number 14 on Billboard’s Hot 100 chart in 1970.

The Spinners would later sign with Atlantic Records and turn out a string of hits that included Then Came You, which featured singer Dionne Warwick and reached number one on the Billboard Hot 100 in 1974.

Their songs received six Grammy Award nominations and earned 18 platinum and gold albums.

John Edwards, left, and Henry Fambrough of The Spinners arrive at the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony on November 3 2023, at Barclays Centre in New York
John Edwards, left, and Henry Fambrough of The Spinners at the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame induction ceremony in November 2023 in New York (Evan Agostini/Invision/AP)

Originally called The Domingoes, the group was formed in 1954 just north of Detroit in Ferndale.

The Spinners joined Motown Records 10 years later.

Fambrough’s survivors include his wife of 52 years, Norma, and daughter Heather Williams.

By Press Association

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