From Ferndale, Michigan, the Spinners spun their way to success as an iconic soul group. Forming in 1954 under the name Domingos, they quickly attracted the attention of producer Harvey Fuqua who signed the group to his Chicago-based label Tri-Phi Records and changed the group’s name to the Spinners. Consisting originally of Pervis Jackson, Billy Henderson, George Dixon, Henry Fambrough, and Bobby Smith, the group remained with Tri-Phi until Fuqua sold it to Motown in 1963. With Fuqua on staff as a producer, Edgar “Chico” Edwards replaced George Dixon, and Berry Gordy offered the Spinners a new contract in 1964. The group made their official Motown debut at the legendary Apollo Theater the same year to great acclaim. Despite that, the group struggled to attract a fan base. Their debut album The Original Spinners (1967) did not make a dent into the charts.
Without hits on the charts, the group’s members took other jobs at Motown to supplement their income, including road managers, chauffeurs, chaperones, and salesclerks. In 1970, the group saw another change in the lineup with Edgar “Chico” Edwards leaving and being replaced by G.C. Cameron. Their luck changed when Stevie Wonder wrote “It’s A Shame” for the group in 1970. It was an overnight success. Reaching #3 on the US Pop charts, #1 on US R&B, and even breaking into the UK Pop charts at #20, the hit prompted Motown to record and release their album 2nd Time Around (1970).
With Stevie Wonder’s support, the group’s growth seemed exponential, which drew the attention of Detroit legend Aretha Franklin. Aware that their Motown contract was ending, she suggested they instead sign with Atlantic Records. Despite being in the middle of production on their next album produced by Stevie Wonder, the group departed Motown for Atlantic Records in 1973. Only G.C. Cameron remained to launch his solo career. At Atlantic, the group grew in popularity with numerous hit songs including: “The Rubberband Man”, “I’ll Be Around”, and “Could It Be I’m Falling In Love.” They eventually appeared on Soul Train and performed at the Grammys, among other accomplishments.
The Spinners went on to receive a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 1976, were inducted into the Michigan Rock and Roll Legends Hall of Fame in 2011 and were nominated to the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 2015.
In 2018 they found a surge in popularity when their 1976 song “The Rubberband Man” was featured in the Marvel blockbuster Avengers: Infinity War.
Anderson, T., n.d. ‘Avengers: Infinity War’ Helps The Spinners’ ‘Rubberband Man’ Return to Charts. [online] Billboard.com. Available at: (https://www.billboard.com/pro/avengers-infinity-war-spinners-rubberband-man-returns-charts/).
Soulwalking.co.uk. n.d. Detroit Spinners Page. [online] Available at: (http://www.soulwalking.co.uk/Detroit%20Spinners.html).
Erlewine, S., n.d. The Spinners Biography by Stephen Thomas Erlewine. [online] AllMusic. Available at: (https://www.allmusic.com/artist/the-spinners-mn0000578141/biography).
Johnson, G., 2017. SPINNERS – Michigan Rock and Roll Legends. [online] Michiganrockandrolllegends.com. Available at: (https://michiganrockandrolllegends.com/index.php/mrrl-hall-of-fame/376-spinners).
Leopold, T., 2003. Motown’s mistake, soul music’s legends. [online] Cnn.com. Available at:
Internet Archive. n.d. The book of golden discs : Murrells, Joseph : Free Download, Borrow, and Streaming : Internet Archive. [online] Available at: (https://archive.org/details/bookofgoldendisc00murr/page/310/mode/2up?view=theater).
Hollywood Walk of Fame. n.d. The Spinners – Hollywood Walk of Fame. [online] Available at: (https://walkoffame.com/the-spinners/).
Classic Motown. n.d. The Spinners | Classic Motown. [online] Available at: (https://classic.motown.com/artist/the-spinners/).