The Spinners have been bringing us hit songs ever since their 1961 debut on the charts with the single “That’s What Girls Are Made For.” The group scored their first number one song in 1972 with the release of “I’ll Be Around,” originally a B-side tune until it caught the ear of radio disc jockeys across the country, prompting the record label to release it as a single. Over the past 40 years, “I’ll Be Around” has made several trips to the Billboard charts. In 1973, the funk/jazz group Funk Inc. recorded a jazzy up-tempo version of the song on their album Hangin’ Out, which made it to number 9 on the Jazz Album chart. Twenty-one years later the smooth jazz band The Rippingtons included the song (with the lead vocal sung by Jeffrey Osborne) on their number one contemporary jazz album Sahara. That same year, San Francisco-based rap artist Rappin 4-Tay hit the charts with a hip hop version of the song. In 2002, artist Joan Osborne recorded it on her album How Sweet It Is, which peaked at number 19 on the US Indie chart, and in 2004 blue-eyed soul legends Darryl Hall and John Oates took their version of “I’ll Be Around” to number six on the Adult Contemporary chart when it was released as a single on their album Our Kind Of Soul. Of course The Spinners have a catalog of great hits including “Could It Be I’m Falling In Love,” “One Of A Kind (Love Affair),” “Games People Play,” “Rubberband Man,” and their duet with Dionne Warwick, “Then Came You.” But “I’ll Be Around” will be considered by many to be the greatest of the great.
Montrose Cunningham is an independent funk/rock/soul artist and devoted music aficionado residing in Dallas, Texas. When he isn’t digging through the crates–digital and analog–he’s jamming with his band or hanging with his daughter; sometimes both at the same time. Purchase his latest release “Inertia” at www.MontroseMusic.com, visit him at Facebook, and follow him on Twitter @MontroseC.