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The Spinners

soul motown funk 70s oldies

There have been at least three groups called The Spinners: 1. a soul group, 2. a 1960s folk group and 3. a Turkish female punk band.

1. A soul group of the early '70s, creating a body of work that defined the lush, seductive sound of Philly soul. In the UK they were known as "The Detroit Spinners" to avoid confusion with British band The Spinners. The band's roots lay in Detroit, where they formed as a doo wop group during the late '50s. Throughout the '60s, the Spinners tried to land a hit by adapting to the shifting fashions of R&B and pop. By the mid-'60s, they had signed with Motown Records, but the label never gave the group much consideration. "It's a Shame" became a hit in 1970, but the label continued to ignore the group, and dropped the band two years later. Unsigned and featuring new lead singer Phillipe Wynne, the Spinners seemed destined to never break into the big leagues, but they managed to sign with Atlantic Records, where they began working with producer Thom Bell. With his assistance, the Spinners developed a distinctive sound, one that relied on Wynne's falsetto and the group's intricate vocal harmonies. Bell provided the group with an appropriately detailed production, creating a detailed web of horns, strings, backing vocals, and lightly funky rhythms. Between 1972 and 1977, the Spinners and Bell recorded a number of soul classics, including "I'll Be Around," "Could It Be I'm Fallin in Love," "Mighty Love," "Ghetto Child," "Then Came You," "Games People Play," and "The Rubberband Man." Wynne left in 1977 and the Spinners had hits for a few years after his departure, but the group will always be remembered for its classic mid-'70s work. Originally, called the Domingoes, the Spinners formed when the quintet were high school students in the Detroit suburb of Ferndale in 1957. At the time, the group featured Bobbie Smith, Pervis Jackson, George W. Dixon, Billy Henderson, and Henry Fambrough. Four years later, they came to the attention of producer Harvey Fuqua, who began recording the group – who were now called the Spinners – for his Tri-Phi Records. The band's first single, "That's What Girls Are Made For," became a Top Ten R&B hit upon its 1961 release and featured Smith on vocals. Following its release, Dixon was replaced by Edgar "Chico" Edwards. Over the next few years, the group released a series of failed singles, and when Tri-Phi was bought out by Motown in the mid-'60s, the Spinners became part of the larger company's roster. By that time, Edwards had been replaced by G.C. Cameron. Though the Spinners had some R&B hits at Motown during the late '60s, including "I'll Always Love You" and "Truly Yours," they didn't have a genuine crossover success until 1970, when Stevie Wonder gave the group "It's a Shame." Motown never concentrated on the Spinners, and they let the group go in 1972. Before the band signed with Atlantic Records, Phillipe Wynne replaced Cameron as the group's lead vocalist. Wynne had previously sung with Catfish and Bootsy Collins. At Atlantic Records, the Spinners worked with producer Thom Bell, who gave the group a lush, seductive sound, complete with sighing strings, a tight rhythm section, sultry horns, and a slight funk underpinning. Wynne quickly emerged as a first-rate soul singer, and the combination of the group's harmonies, Wynne's soaring leads, and Bell's meticulous production made the Spinners the most popular soul group of the '70s. Once the group signed with Atlantic, they became a veritable hit machine, topping the R&B and pop charts with songs like "I'll Be Around," "Could It Be I'm Falling in Love," "One of a Kind (Love Affair)," "Ghetto Child," "Rubberband Man," and "You're Throwing a Good Love Away." Not only were their singles hits, but their albums constantly went gold and charted in the Top 20. Wynne left the band to pursue a solo career in 1977; he was replaced by John Edwards. Though none of Wynne's solo records were big hits, his tours with Parliament-Funkadelic were well-received, as were his solo concerts. In October 1984, he died of a heart attack during a concert in Oakland, CA. The Spinners, meanwhile, had a number of minor hits in the late '70s, highlighted by their disco covers of "Working My Way Back to You" and the medley "Cupid/I've Loved You for a Long Time." During the early '80s, they had several minor hits before fading away from the charts and entering the oldies circuit, reprising their earlier material for 1999's new studio effort At Their Best. Long time founding members Billy Henderson and Pervis Jackson have since deceased.

2. The Spinners were a folk group from Liverpool, England, that formed in September 1958. The group was unusual for its time in having a multiracial membership.
They variously had four albums in the UK Albums Chart between September 1970 and April 1972. One of them, Spinners Live Performance (1971), spent three months in the listing and peaked at No. 14.
The band began as a skiffle group with a mainly American repertoire, until they were prompted by Redd Sullivan, a seaman, to include sea shanties and English folk songs. They started out as the Gin Mill Skiffle Group, which included guitarist Tony Davis and washboard player Mick Groves. The group played the Cavern Club, Liverpool for the first time on Friday 18 January 1957, with the Muskrat Jazz Band and the Liverpool University Jazz Band. They played there on a number of occasions on Friday 24 May; Sunday 26 May; Wednesday 5 June; Wednesday 3 July and Friday 16 August 1957. In September 1958 they became the Spinners. They founded a folk club in Liverpool, the 'Triton Club', but soon were performing in London at places such as 'the Troubadour'. Their first album, Songs Spun in Liverpool, was recorded by Bill Leader from live performances. In 1962 Peter Kennedy of the English Folk Dance & Song Society recorded an album with them called Quayside Songs Old & New. In 1963 Philips Records signed them, and they recorded eight more albums over the next eight years. They signed for EMI Records in the early 1970s.
They became popular by reviving some of the greatest folk music and singing new songs in the same vein. Although sounding like traditional English folk songs, some of their material was in fact composed by Jones, such as "The Ellan Vannin Tragedy" and "The Marco Polo". One of their best known songs, particularly in their native Liverpool, was "In My Liverpool Home", written by Peter McGovern in 1962. Cliff Hall also introduced traditional Jamaican songs to their repertoire. One of their albums was called Not Quite Folk.
They produced over forty albums, and made numerous concerts and TV appearances. In 1970, they were given their own television show on BBC One that ran for seven years. They also had their own show on BBC Radio 2. They retired in 1988, after thirty years together, although they led the community singing at the 1989 FA Cup Final and played some Christmas shows in the early 1990s. Members of the group still perform, although Cliff Hall retired to Australia, where he died in 2008.
Their version of the Ewan MacColl song, "Dirty Old Town", was included in the Terence Davies' 2008 memoir/documentary of Liverpool, Of Time and the City. A biography of the group 'Fried Bread and Brandy-O' (the title of their signature tune) was written by Liverpool journalist David Stuckey (with a foreword by Pete Seeger) to coincide with their 25th anniversary, and published by Robson Books.
In 2009 The Liverpool Barrow Boys from Songs Spun in Liverpool was included in Topic Records 70 year anniversary boxed set Three Score and Ten as track 19 on the 6th CD.

Band members
Tony Davis (born 24 August 1930, Blackburn, Lancashire, England, died 10 February 2017)
Mick Groves (born Salford, Lancashire, England)
Cliff Hall (born Clifford Samuel Hall, 11 September 1925, Oriente Province, Cuba, died 26 June 2008, Adelaide, South Australia)
Hughie Jones (born Liverpool, England)

3. The Spinners were a female punk band from Turkey, active in the late 80's and early 90's. They released a demo called “Lalala” in 1991.


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