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Henry Fambrough, Last Surviving Original Member of the Spinners, Dead at 85

Fambrough was one of the co-founders of The Spinners in 1954, and the group went on to produce hits like "Could It Be I’m Falling in Love" and "It's a Shame"

<p>Mike Coppola/WireImage</p> Henry Fambrough in New York City in November 2023

Mike Coppola/WireImage

Henry Fambrough in New York City in November 2023

Henry Fambrough — most famously known as one of the original vocalists for R&B group The Spinners — has died.

His spokesperson shared in a statement with the Associated Press, announcing the singer died peacefully Wednesday at the age of 85 of natural causes at his home in northern Virginia.

Fambrough had been the last surviving original members of The Spinners, which he co-founded in 1954. The group created hits such as "Could It Be I’m Falling in Love," "It's a Shame," "I'll Be Around," and "Then Came You," with Dionne Warwick.

He made several appearances last year, including taking a tour of Motown’s Studio A in Detroit in May, which included outfits donated by the group, per the AP. His final public appearance was in November, when he attended an event alongside fellow member John Edwards as The Spinners were inducted into the Rock N Roll Hall of Fame.

<p>RB/Redferns</p> Photo of Billy HENDERSON and George DIXON and DETROIT SPINNERS and Bobby SMITH and Henry FAMBROUGH; Posed studio group portrait - Bobby Smith, George Dixon, Billy Henderson, Henry Fambrough and Pervis Jackson.

RB/Redferns

Photo of Billy HENDERSON and George DIXON and DETROIT SPINNERS and Bobby SMITH and Henry FAMBROUGH; Posed studio group portrait - Bobby Smith, George Dixon, Billy Henderson, Henry Fambrough and Pervis Jackson.

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“He got to experience those accolades. He was able to bask in the accomplishment, and that was something he was really happy about,” Tanisha Jackson told the Detroit Free-Press. “He was glad to represent the ones who had gone before him.”

Fambrough was born in Detroit in 1938 and formed The Spinners in 1954 alongside singers Pervis Jackson, Billy Henderson, Bobby Smith and C.P. Spencer. The group signed on to Tri-Phi Records, which eventually became a part of Motown Records, according to Rolling Stone.

The group spent a decade under the record company and released the 1970 hit “It’s a Shame,” before moving on to Atlantic Records a year later, per the outlet. Under Atlantic Records producer Thom Bell, they released hits like “I’ll Be Around,” “Could It Be I’m Falling in Love,”“Games People Play” and “The Rubberband Man.”

<p>Fotos International/Hulton Archive/Getty </p> American soul vocal group The Spinners (aka The Detroit Spinners) perform on the NBC TV show The Midnight Special, circa 1975. Left to right: Henry Fambrough, Bobbie Smith, Billy Henderson, Pervis Jackson and Philippe Wynne.

Fotos International/Hulton Archive/Getty

American soul vocal group The Spinners (aka The Detroit Spinners) perform on the NBC TV show The Midnight Special, circa 1975. Left to right: Henry Fambrough, Bobbie Smith, Billy Henderson, Pervis Jackson and Philippe Wynne.

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They earned six Grammy Award nominations and 18 platinum and gold albums throughout the span of their career for their music, according to the AP.

Fambrough stayed with the group, singing baritone, until his retirement in April 2023.

Jessie Peck, a current member of the group, described the singer to the Detroit Free-Press as a “vocalist” with a “voice that never wavered” and a “consistent” performer.

<p>AP Photo/Marty Lederhandler</p> The Spinners from left; John Edwards, Bobby Smith, Henry Fambrough, Pervis Jackson and Billy Henderson pose for photographers during a Rhythm & Blues Foundation news conference in New York in February 1997

AP Photo/Marty Lederhandler

The Spinners from left; John Edwards, Bobby Smith, Henry Fambrough, Pervis Jackson and Billy Henderson pose for photographers during a Rhythm & Blues Foundation news conference in New York in February 1997

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“He had a desire above all else to keep this going no matter what. He said: ‘Don’t stop. As long as we have fans, as long as people adore our music, keep it going, keep striving to give the music and uphold the Spinners’ legacy.’ That’s what he bestowed on us.”

Fambrough is survived by his wife of 52 years, Norma, and their daughter Heather.

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