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 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 informed The Associated Press that he died in her arms at their residence in Great Meadows, New Jersey, on Tuesday, after an extended sickness. He was 71.

The easy soul jam “What You Won’t Do for Love” went to No. 9 on the Billboard Hot 100 and No. 6 on what was then known as the Hot Selling Soul Singles chart. It turned a long-term normal and career-defining hit for Caldwell, who additionally wrote the track.

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

Other Caldwell songs have been sampled by hip-hop artists together with The Notorious B.I.G., Common, Lil Nas X and Chance the Rapper.

Stories abound, lots of them shared on social media after his dying, 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.

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

“You are such an inspiration to me and many others,” Chance informed him. He stated within the put up that he had by no means been thanked for sampling a track 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 known as “Suppertime.” A multi-instrumentalist, he started performing professionally at 17, and received his break taking part in guitar in Little Richard’s band within the early Nineteen Seventies. In the mid ’70s, Caldwell performed in varied 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 Eighties “Cat in The Hat” — on which he appeared prominently on the quilt sporting a fedora — and 1982′s “Carry On,” on which he was his personal producer and performed all of the devices.

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

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