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Remembering Henry Fambrough, the last original member of The Spinners

ARI SHAPIRO, HOST:

America lost an R&B legend this week. Henry Fambrough was the last living original member of the group The Spinners. He formed the group in 1954 with four friends in Ferndale, just outside Detroit.

SACHA PFEIFFER, HOST:

Their first single, released in 1961, was "That's What Girls Are Made For" and featured a young Marvin Gaye on drums.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "THAT'S WHAT GIRLS ARE MADE FOR")

THE SPINNERS: (Singing) To hug and to kiss - that's what girls are made for. To love and to miss...

PFEIFFER: Originally a Motown band, The Spinners would help define the Philly soul sound of the 1970s, racking up hits along the way, including "I'll Be Around" and "The Rubberband Man."

SHAPIRO: That song gained new fans when it was featured in the Marvel film, "Avengers: Infinity War."

(SOUNDBITE OF FILM, "AVENGERS: INFINITY WAR")

THE SPINNERS: (Singing) Hey y'all, prepare yourself for the rubberband man.

CHRIS PRATT: (As Peter Quill) Sing it Drax.

SHAPIRO: The Spinners hit No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 with "Then Came You," featuring Dionne Warwick.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "THEN CAME YOU")

THE SPINNERS AND DIONNE WARWICK: (Singing) Then came you. Then came you. I never knew love before. Then came you. You - then came you.

PFEIFFER: Last year, the band joined the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. Part of the induction essay reads...

(Reading) While The Spinners were unquestionable hitmakers and storytellers of the highest order, many of their lesser-known songs lay bare and uplifted the African American experience.

It goes on to say that they are survivors whose music will outlive us all.

SHAPIRO: Henry Fambrough, the last original member of The Spinners, died yesterday at age 85.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "COULD IT BE I'M FALLING IN LOVE")

THE SPINNERS: (Singing) Could it be I'm falling in love? - with you baby. Could it be I'm falling in love? I want to know now, baby. Could it be... Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by an NPR contractor. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of NPR’s programming is the audio record.

Kathryn Fox