‘What You Won’t Do for Love’ singer Bobby Caldwell dies at 71

Bobby Caldwell, a soulful R&B singer and songwriter who had a serious hit in 1978 with “What You Won’t Do for Love” and a voice and musical type adored by generations of his fellow artists, has died, his spouse stated Wednesday.

Mary Caldwell instructed The Related Press that he died in her arms at their dwelling in Nice Meadows, New Jersey, on Tuesday, after an extended sickness. He was 71.

The graceful soul jam “What You Won’t Do for Love” went to No. 9 on the Billboard Sizzling 100 and No. 6 on what was then referred to as the Sizzling Promoting Soul Singles chart. It turned a long-term customary and career-defining hit for Caldwell, who additionally wrote the tune.

The tune was coated by artists, together with Boyz II Males and Michael Bolton, and was sampled by Tupac Shakur on his posthumously launched tune “Do For Love.”

Different Caldwell songs have been sampled by hip-hop artists together with The Infamous B.I.G., Frequent, Lil Nas X and Probability the Rapper.

Tales abound, a lot of them shared on social media after his loss of life, of listeners being stunned to be taught that Caldwell was white and never Black.

Caldwell appeared solely in silhouette on the self-titled debut solo album on which “What You Won’t Do for Love” seems.

“Caldwell was the closing chapter in a generation in which record execs wanted to hide faces on album covers so perhaps maybe their artist could have a chance,” Questlove stated on Instagram.

“Thank you for your voice and gift #BobbyCaldwell,” Questlove wrote.

Probability the Rapper shared a screenshot on Instagram of a direct message alternate he had with Caldwell final 12 months when he requested to make use of his music.

“I’ll be honored if you sample my song,” Caldwell wrote.

“You are such an inspiration to me and many others,” Probability instructed him. He stated within the put up that he had by no means been thanked for sampling a tune earlier than and has “not felt broken like this at a stranger’s passing in so long.”

Born in New York and raised in Miami, Caldwell was the son of singers who hosted a musical selection TV present referred to as “Suppertime.” A multi-instrumentalist, he started performing professionally at 17, and received his break enjoying guitar in Little Richard’s band within the early Seventies. Within the mid ’70s, Caldwell performed in numerous bar bands in Los Angeles earlier than touchdown a solo document deal.

Caldwell would by no means have a success that got here shut in prominence to “What You Won’t Do for Love,” however he launched a number of revered albums, together with Nineteen Eighties “Cat in The Hat” — on which he appeared prominently on the quilt carrying a fedora — and 1982′s “Carry On,” on which he was his personal producer and performed all of the devices.

His tune “Open Your Eyes” from “Cat in The Hat” was coated by John Legend and sampled by Frequent on his Grammy-nominated 2000 single “The Light.”

Within the Nineties, Caldwell shifted to recording and performing American requirements, together with songs made common by Frank Sinatra and Nat King Cole, he liked in his youth.

Along with Mary, his spouse of 19 years, Caldwell is survived by daughters Lauren and Tessa and stepdaughter Katie.

The Related Press contributed to this text.

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