Bobby Caldwell, a mesmerizing R&B singer, and songwriter who had massive success in 1978 with “What You Won’t Do for Love” and a voice and musical style that was adored by generations of his fellow artists passed away on Wednesday, according to his wife. Bobby Caldwell’s musical style and voice were admired by generations of his fellow artists.
Bobby Caldwell dies at 71
Mary Caldwell told The Associated Press that her husband Bobby Caldwell passed away on Tuesday, following a protracted illness, as she was holding him in her arms at their home in Great Meadows, New Jersey. He was 71.
The smooth soul jam “What You Won’t Do for Love” reached the ninth spot on the Billboard Hot 100 list and the sixth spot on the chart that was once known as the Top Selling Soul Singles chart. Bobby Caldwell, who also composed the song, turned it into a long-term standard, and it went on to become a hit that defined his career.
Cover versions of the song were performed by singers such as Boyz 2 Men and Michael Bolton, while Tupac Shakur sampled it for his posthumously released song “Do For Love.”
Additional songs by Bobby Caldwell have been sampled by hip-hop artists like Notorious B.I.G., Common, Lil Nas X, and Chance the Rapper, among others.
There are numerous accounts, the majority of which were published on social media following his passing, of listeners being taken aback when they discovered that Bobby Caldwell was white and not black.
Bobby Caldwell only made a cameo appearance in the form of a silhouette on his debut solo album, which was titled after itself and featured the song “What You Won’t Do for Love.”
On Instagram, Questlove said of Bobby Caldwell that he “was the last chapter of a millennium in which record execs tried to mask faces on the album covers so that maybe their artist might get a chance.” Caldwell was part of a generation in which record execs tried to hide faces on album covers.
Questlove expressed his gratitude on Twitter by writing, “Thank you for your voice and gift #BobbyCaldwell.”
Chance the Rapper published on Instagram a snapshot of a direct message conversation he had with Caldwell the previous year when he requested permission to use Caldwell’s music.
Chance remarked to him that he was one of the numerous people who found inspiration in him. He mentioned in the post that this was the first time someone had ever thanked him for sampling a song, and He continued, “I had not felt devastated like this at a stranger’s demise in so long.”
Bobby Caldwell was the son of singers who hosted a musical variety show on television called “Suppertime.” Although Caldwell was born in New York, he was reared in Miami. He started performing professionally when he was 17 years old and got his big break playing guitar in Little Richard’s band in the early 1970s. He is skilled in multiple instruments. Before obtaining a solo record deal, Caldwell spent the middle of the 1970s performing in a variety of bar bands in the Los Angeles area.
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Bobby Caldwell would never have another hit that was even remotely as popular as “What You Won’t Do for Love,” but he did release several well-received albums. These included the 1980 album “Cat in the Hat,” on which he was featured prominently on the cover wearing a fedora, and the 1982 album “Carry On,” on which he produced the album himself and played all of the instruments.
His song “Open Your Eyes” from the album “Cat in the Hat” was recorded by John Legend, and Common sampled it for his single “The Light,” which was nominated for a Grammy in the year 2000.
Bobby Caldwell turned his focus in the 1990s to recording and performing American standards, which included songs that were made popular by Frank Sinatra and Nat King Cole and that he adored when he was younger.
Bobby Caldwell is survived by his children Lauren and Tessa, as well as his stepdaughter Katie. Mary, his wife of 19 years, is also among those he leaves behind.
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