After a protracted illness, Bobby Caldwell, the melancholy singer-songwriter behind the 1978 smash “What You Won’t Do for Love,” passed away. He was 71. Bobby’s wife, Mary Caldwell, tweeted the news, adding, “Bobby died away here at home. As he left us, I tightly hugged him in my arms. I will always be heartbroken. We appreciate your continued prayers over the years.
Throughout the previous six years and two months, he had been “floxed,” which had cost him his health. God grant you rest, my Sweetheart. A fluoroquinolone antibiotic side effect called floxing causes oxidative stress and mitochondrial damage in the body. In September 1978, Caldwell’s debut single “What You Won’t Do for Love” was made available.
This came as a result of him inking a recording deal with Miami label TK Records. TK first made an effort to hide Caldwell’s race in order to compete for airtime with Smokey Robinson, Teddy Pendergrass, and several Black musicians of the “silent storm” radio format. But as soon as he began playing it live, the song’s appeal soared, and it eventually peaked at No. 9 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart and No. 6 on the R&B chart.
Here we given the tweet tweeted By @TMZ:
Singer Bobby Caldwell, known for his smooth blue-eyed soul voice, is dead after battling illness for several years. #RIP https://t.co/WbYZ3UGYp5
— TMZ (@TMZ) March 16, 2023
He was only visible in silhouette on his self-titled album, which eventually achieved double platinum status. Following TK’s bankruptcy in 1981, Caldwell continued to release albums under his own name while also penning songs at the vocalist Boz Scaggs’ urging. In addition to topping the Top 100 and Adult Contemporary charts, “The Next Time I Fall,” a song he co-wrote with Paul Gordon for a duet by Peter Cetera and Amy Grant for Cetera’s album “Solitude/Solitaire,” also garnered a Grammy nomination for best pop performance by a couple or group with vocals.
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Since then, hundreds of times have been used to sample Caldwell’s music (Whosampled claims that just the song “What You Won’t Do for Love” has been utilized or covered by everyone from Aaliyah to Tupac). Rapper Common later sampled Notorious B.I.G.’s song “Open Your Eyes” from the 1980 album “Cat in the Hat” for his 2000 single “The Light,” while Notorious B.I.G. borrowed “My Flame,” also from “Bobby Caldwell,” for the 1997 song “Sky’s The Limit.” 2019 saw the filing of a $25 million lawsuit against Lil Nas X for using Caldwell’s “Carry On” (from the album of the same name from 1982) as the basis for a track on his pre-fame mixtape “Nasarati.”
Caldwell worked with R&B producer Jack Splash of the funk band Plantlife on the album “Cool Uncle,” which gave him a brief late-career resurrection even though he never again achieved the levels of success he had with his debut album. On “Game Over,” he duets with Mayer Hawthorne, a legend of retro soul, and on “Destiny,” he sings with the same soulfulness that distinguished his early work from that of his contemporaneous smooth jazz colleagues.
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