Essential Atlantic: The Spinners, THE SPINNERS

Thursday, September 10, 2020
The Spinners THE SPINNERS Cover

For the next several weeks (or maybe just until we decide that we want to stop doing it, since normalcy seems likely to remain on hiatus for the foreseeable future), will be spotlighting an album from the Atlantic Records discography that qualifies as “Essential.” And what rigorous standards and/or mathematical algorithm did we use to come up with the criteria to define “Essential,” you ask? None at all. You’ll just have to trust our instincts. But they’re really good, we swear...

Although they originally formed in Ferndale, Michigan, this R&B group was originally known as the Detroit Spinners, and because of their label during the ‘60s, they were also referred to as the Detroit Spinners. While they found success on Tri-Phi Records with their 1961 single “That’s What Girls Are Made For” (#27 on the Billboard Hot 100 and #5 on the R&B Singles chart) and scored further chart action with their1965 Motown single “I’ll Always Love You” (#35 on the Hot 100, #8 on the R&B Singles chart), they wouldn’t hit the R&B top 10 again for several more years. When that finally happened with 1970’s “It’s a Shame,” which – in addition to hitting #4 on the R&B Singles chart – also provided the group with their first top-20 hit on the Hot 100, they were on yet another label: V.I.P. Records.

It was Aretha Franklin who suggested that the Spinners should sign to Atlantic, which they did as quickly as it was feasible for them to do so, and when they released their self-titled debut in 1973, they were transformed into a major hit-making machine. That can be directly attributed to the group’s producer, Thom Bell, who helped create a sound for the Spinners that blended their soulful harmonies with equally soulful orchestration.

With songs like “Could It Be I’m Falling in Love,” “One of a Kind (Love Affair),” “Ghetto Child,” and “How Could I Let You Get Away,” there’s no doubt about it: THE SPINNERS is a stone-cold ‘70s soul classic.


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