The Singers: If the Temptations and the Four Tops were the kings of ’60s soul, the Spinners were the crown princes of the '70s scene. Despite forming in 1954, the group struggled to make a mark until 1970, when the quintet scored its first major hit for Motown with the jangly “It’s a Shame" (which was co-written by Stevie Wonder). It was the Spinners’ only hit for the venerable Detroit label, but the group found much more success on Atlantic Records, charting hits like “Could It Be I’m Falling in Love,” “Working My Way Back to You," and their #1 hit with Dionne Warwick, “Then Came You."
The Song: Originally a B-Side to “How Could I Let You Get Away,” 1972’s “I’ll Be Around” remains one of the Spinners’ best-known songs. Opening with sharp Clavinet chords, a snaky guitar lead and an unyielding bongo player, the song allows singer Bobby Smith to pledge his devotion to a just-departed lover. The tune was co-written and produced by Thom Bell, who produced the Delfonics’ hits “La, La Means I Love You” and “Didn’t I Blow Your Mind This Time.”
The Video: Sadly, no live performance exists of this song, but this still-screen video has all you need.
Hipster Cachet: Having cut their teeth in the Philly soul circuit in the 1960s, Hall & Oates are no stranger to lush, slick soul music, so it’s no surprise that the duo covered “I’ll Be Around” for their 2004 covers record Our Kind of Soul. Watch a live clip below:
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