Henry Fambrough, the sole surviving founding member of the renowned R&B group The Spinners, passed away on Wednesday at the age of 85.
Fambrough died at his residence in Virginia, following a month of hospice care, as confirmed by Tanisha Jackson, spokesperson for the Spinners, in an interview with the Detroit Free-Press. Fambrough’s last public appearance was last November when he attended the Spinners’ induction ceremony into the Rock Hall of Fame. With seven decades of service to the group, Fambrough retired from the Spinners in early 2023.
“[Henry Fambrough] got to experience those accolades. He was able to bask in the accomplishment. That was something he was really happy about,” Jackson told the Detroit Free-Press. “He was glad to represent the ones who had gone before him.”
When The Spinners were inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in November, Fambrough, Billy Henderson, Pervis Jackson, Bobby Smith, Philippé Wynne, and John Edwards were listed as inductees.
In May of last year, Fambrough had the privilege of visiting Detroit’s Studio A, the iconic Motown recording studio. The visit was part of a ceremony where the group donated 375 outfits worn during their performances to the Motown Museum. “I used to dream about this place,” Fambrough said of the studio.
Henry Fambrough Had to Convince His Wife He Was Recording with The Spinners During Late Night Sessions
Henry Fambrough quipped to reporters that he had to persuade his wife that the studio was his destination for 3 a.m. rehearsals and recording sessions with fellow The Spinners members. Their initial major success under Motown came with the song “It’s A Shame.” The hit reached No. 14 on Billboard’s Hot 100 chart in 1970.
Originally known as The Domingoes, this group was established in 1954 in Ferndale, just north of Detroit. Ten years later, The Spinners became part of Motown Records.
After signing with Atlantic Records, The Spinners went on to deliver a series of chart-topping hits. One of their notable successes was “Then Came You,” a collaboration with Dionne Warwick. The hit claimed the No. 1 spot on the Billboard Hot 100 in 1974. Their music received six Grammy nominations and earned 18 platinum and gold albums.
Fambrough is survived by his wife of 52 years, Norma, and their daughter Heather Williams.