The Spinners did make us take a spin

When I was in high school, it was in the middle of the Disco era of music. While the Disco era got people off their feet to dance, not all the music was substantive lyrically and repetition was the elixir. There are a few exceptions to this rule, one of which is The Spinners. Since the band started in its initial permutation in 1954, this may be a reason why. In fact the band, has had a number of members over the years, where former members easily outnumber the current ones (see below).

Per Wikipedia, “The Spinners are an American rhythm and blues vocal group that formed in Ferndale, Michigan, United States, in 1954. They enjoyed a string of hit singles and albums during the 1960s and 1970s, particularly with producer Thom Bell. The group continues to tour, with Henry Fambrough as the only original member…

When the Spinners signed to Atlantic in 1972, they were a respected but commercially unremarkable singing group who had never had a Top Ten pop hit — despite having been a recording act for over a decade. However, with songwriter Thom Bell at the helm, the Spinners charted five Top 100 singles (and two Top Tens) from their first post-Motown album, Spinners (1973), and went on to become one of the biggest soul groups of the 1970s.”

During the 1970s, they released a string of very good songs, that were easy to dance to, but also made you think. Here are a few of them, where I included a sample of lyrics.

It’s a shame

It’s a shame (shame) the way you mess around with your man
It’s a shame (shame) the way you play with my emotions
It’s a shame (shame) the way you mess around with your man
You’re like a child at play, on a sunny day
‘Cause you play with love, and then you throw it away

This song has a terrific musicality to it to match its lyrics about a woman who is routinely unfaithful to her man. I recognize the song could quite easily be reversed, but the lyrics are indeed powerful especially referring to her cunning efforts as a child at play.

Games People Play

Games people play
Night or day, they’re just not matching
What they should do
Keeps me feelin’ blue

Been down too long
Right, wrong, I just can’t stop it
Spending all day
Thinking just of you

This song reminds me of high school as much as any other, including the next one. Even high school students understand the context of the games people play. Later in the song, the bass voice comes in to co-anchor the lead and lifts the song further.

The Rubberband Man

Hand me down my walkin cane
Hand me down my hat
Hurry now and don’t be late
‘Cause we ain’t got time to chat

You and me, were goin out
To catch the latest sounds
Guaranteed to blow your mind
So high, you won’t come down

Along with The Commodores’ “Brick House,” The Spinners “The Rubberband Man” is just a fun song. The song jumps out of the gate with its opening lyric and leads us to “prepare ourselves for when the rubberband man starts to jam” on the dance floor.

But, the group had so much more to offer. Just to list a few more hits, some of which eclipsed the above songs in popularity.

I’ll be around

Could it be I’m falling in love

Mighty love

One of Kind Love Affair (see below for a link)

The Spinners were one of several R&B groups that I enjoyed. The Commodores, The Stylistics, Earth, Wind and Fire, The Bee Gees, et al, each had substantive musicality.and lyrics to offer during that time. The Bee Gees took a lot of grief for their success during this time, but they should be included on such a list, in my view.

Below, I list the many Spinners who helped us spin around the dance floor and in our cars as we motored around town to events or just to nowhere in particular. The members may have changed, but the music lives on.

Former members

Current members

  • Henry Fambrough (1954–present)
  • C.J Jefferson (2020-present)
  • Jessie Robert Peck (2009–present)
  • Marvin Taylor (2009–present)
  • Ronnie Moss (2013–present)