Single Stories: The Spinners, “The Rubberband Man”

Monday, May 7, 2018
The Spinners, “The Rubberband Man”

Even if you haven’t seen Avengers: Infinity War yet, it’s no spoiler to say that the members of the Guardians of the Galaxy are in the film, since they’re heavily promoted not only in the trailer but also on the poster, and even though the film’s been out since the end of April, we’re still not so terrible that we’d spoil any of the plot points for you. That said, however, we do feel obliged to give away at least one small thing that occurs in the film, just in case there’s anyone out there who’s been wondering, “What was the song that was playing when the Guardians first showed up?”

Given Peter Quill’s longstanding history with mix tape featuring classic hits of the ‘70s, offering up a Spinners song from that era was a perfect way to signal the Guardians’ introduction, and we’re just reasonably presuming that they selected this one because the titular character sounds like a superhero: “The Rubberband Man.” 

Co-written by the song’s producer, Thom Bell, and Linda Creed, “The Rubberband Man” was actually penned about Bell’s son, who was overweight and had found himself being teased by his classmates as a result. Thankfully, it was decided at some point in the writing process that perhaps “The Fat Man” wasn’t the best of all possible titles for the track, so it was changed to the title that we all know and love today. 

“The Rubberband Man” is also notable for being the last significant hit by The Spinners to feature frontman Philippe Wynne, who went solo in 1977. (Sidebar trivia: when he first made a go of it on his own, Wynne’s manager was future Growing Pains star Alan Thicke.) Still, it was quite a way for Wynne to go out: the song climbed to #1 on the R&B Singles chart, hit #2 on the Billboard Hot 100, and went top-20 in the UK.

Now, if we can just petition Marvel to get The Rubberband Man into the next Avengers movie…

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