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Henry Fambrough, last surviving original member of R&B group the Spinners, dies at 85

Henry Fambrough of the Spinners speaks while seated and clad in a pin-striped navy suit jacket and light blue button-down
Spinners member Henry Fambrough visits the Motown Museum in Detroit in May 2023 after the R&B group donated memorabilia including hundreds of costumes.
(Carlos Osorio / Associated Press)
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Henry Fambrough, the last surviving original member of the iconic R&B group the Spinners, whose hits included “It’s a Shame,” “Could It Be I’m Falling in Love” and “The Rubberband Man,” died Wednesday, a spokesperson for the group said. He was 85.

Fambrough died peacefully of natural causes in his northern Virginia home, spokesperson Tanisha Jackson said in a statement.

The group was inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in November. Along with Fambrough, Billy Henderson, Pervis Jackson, Bobby Smith, Philippé Wynne and John Edwards were listed as inductees.

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Last May, Fambrough took a tour of Motown’s Studio A in Detroit as part of a ceremony that included the donation to the Motown Museum of 375 outfits worn by the group during performances.

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It “was a long time ago,” Fambrough said at the time about the 1960s, when he first walked into the studio. “I used to dream about this place.”

He told reporters that he had to convince his wife that the studio was where he was going for 3 a.m. rehearsals and recording sessions with other members of the group. Their first big hit for Motown was “It’s a Shame,” which peaked at No. 14 on Billboard’s Hot 100 chart in 1970.

The Spinners would later sign with Atlantic Records and turn out a string of hits that included “Then Came You,” which featured singer Dionne Warwick and reached No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 in 1974.

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Their songs received six Grammy Award nominations and earned 18 platinum and gold albums.

Originally called the Domingoes, the group was formed in 1954 just north of Detroit in Ferndale, Mich. The Spinners joined Motown Records 10 years later.

Fambrough’s survivors include his wife of 52 years, Norma, and daughter Heather Williams.

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