Bobby Smith, the former lead singer of The Spinners, died in Orlando on Saturday morning, March 16, at the age of 76. The manager of the group said in a statement on Monday, March 18 that Smith was diagnosed with lung cancer in November 2012 and passed away after suffering complications from pneumonia and influenza.
Jessie Peck, the group's current member, said that funeral details hadn't been set yet, but services were expected to take place on March 18 in Detroit. Peck remembered his senior, "Like something out of a movie, Bobby shoots right out onstage and - showman that he is - grabs a mic and sings right on cue. The audience went bananas."
Henry Fambrough, the group's lone surviving original member, felt sad over the death of his group mate of more than half a century. "Bobby was a regular, down-to-earth, good-natured person, the kind of guy who'd give you his shirt," Fambrough recalled. "And ever since I've known him, he was just a natural showman."
Smith joined the rhythm and blues group in 1956, when it was known as the Domingoes. He was the voice behind the band's first hit, "That's What Girls Are Made For". The group, which consisted of Fambrough, Smith, Billy Henderson, Philippe Wynne, and Pervis Jackson at that time, achieved fame in the '70s when they began collaborating with famed record producer/writer Thom Bell to produce several hits like "I'll Be Around" and "Games People Play." The group, also known as Detroit Spinners, earned nearly a dozen gold records and received six nominations at Grammy Awards.
The Spinners remains active through the years, with Smith and Fambrough continuing to lead the group through last year.