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

The Spinners member Henry Fambrough speaks at the Motown Museum on May 19, 2023, in Detroit. Fambrough, the last surviving original member of the iconic R&B group, whose hits included "It's a Shame," "Could It Be I'm Falling In Love," and "The Rubberband Man," died on Wednesday at age 85.
Carlos Osorio
/
AP
The Spinners member Henry Fambrough speaks at the Motown Museum on May 19, 2023, in Detroit. Fambrough, the last surviving original member of the iconic R&B group, whose hits included "It's a Shame," "Could It Be I'm Falling In Love," and "The Rubberband Man," died on Wednesday at age 85.

DETROIT — Henry Fambrough, the last surviving original member of the iconic R&B group The Spinners, whose hits included "It's a Shame," "Could It Be I'm Falling in Love" and "The Rubberband Man," died Wednesday, a spokesperson for the group said. He was 85.

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, Philippé Wynne and John Edwards were listed as inductees.

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 3 a.m. rehearsals and recording sessions with other members of the group. Their first big hit for Motown was "It's A Shame," which peaked at No. 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 No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 in 1974.

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

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.

Copyright 2024 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

The Associated Press
[Copyright 2024 NPR]