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Bobby Caldwell, R&B Singer Of ‘What You Won’t Do For Love,’ Dead At 71

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

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

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

The music was lined by artists, together with Boyz II Males and Michael Bolton, and was sampled by Tupac Shakur on his posthumously launched music “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 Likelihood the Rapper.

Tales abound, lots of them shared on social media after his demise, of listeners being stunned to study that Caldwell was white and never Black.

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

“Caldwell was the closing chapter in a era during which report execs needed to cover faces on album covers so maybe possibly their artist may have an opportunity,” Questlove said on Instagram.

“Thanks in your voice and present #BobbyCaldwell,” Questlove wrote.

Chance 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 in the event you pattern my music,” Caldwell wrote.

“You might be such an inspiration to me and lots of others,” Likelihood informed him. He mentioned within the publish that he had by no means been thanked for sampling a music earlier than and has “not felt damaged like this at a stranger’s passing in so lengthy.”

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 Nineteen Seventies. Within the mid ’70s, Caldwell performed in numerous bar bands in Los Angeles earlier than touchdown a solo report deal.

Caldwell would by no means have successful that got here shut in prominence to “What You Gained’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 duvet carrying a fedora — and 1982′s “Carry On,” on which he was his personal producer and performed all of the devices.

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

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

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

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