Philippe Wynne
Born: 4-3-1941 Died: 7-14-1984
(
heart attack)
     Born in Detroit, Michigan, and raised in Cincinnati, Ohio, Wynne began his singing career as a gospel singer. Between 1968-1970 he was a member of Bootsy Collins'
Pacesetters and James Brown's J.B.'s. Then Wynne spent time in Germany as the lead singer of The Afro Kings, a band from Liberia, before he replaced his cousin, G. C.
Cameron, as the lead vocalist for
The Detroit Spinners in 1972.
    Originally, called
The Domingo's, The Spinners formed when the quintet were high school students in the Detroit suburb of Ferndale in 1957. At the time, the group
featured Bobbie Smith, Pervis Jackson, George W. Dixon, Billy Henderson and Henry Fambrough. Four years later, they came to the attention of producer Harvey Fuqua,
who began recording the group, who were now called
The Detroit Spinners, for his Tri-Phi Records. The band's first single, "That's What Girls Are Made For," became a
Top 10 R&B hit upon its 1961 release and featured Smith on vocals. Following its release, Dixon was replaced by Edgar "Chico" Edwards. Over the next few years, the group
released a series of failed singles, and when Tri-Phi was bought out by Motown in the mid-1960's,
The Detroit Spinners became part of the larger company's roster. By that
time, Edwards had been replaced by G.C. Cameron. Though
The Detroit Spinners had some R&B hits at Motown during the late 1960's, including "I'll Always Love You" and
"Truly Yours," they didn't have a genuine crossover success until 1970, when Stevie Wonder gave the group "It's A Shame." The song became a hit all over again in 1980
when it was included on a Disconet remix, the
"At Midnight Medley." Motown never concentrated on The Detroit Spinners, and they let the group go in 1972.
    They signed with Atlantic Records that same year as the newly christened
The Spinners. At Atlantic Records, The Spinners worked with producer Thom Bell, who gave
the group a lush, seductive sound, complete with sighing strings, a tight rhythm section, sultry horns, and a slight funk underpinning. Wynne quickly emerged as a first-rate
soul singer, and the combination of the group's harmonies, Wynne's soaring leads and Bell's meticulous production made
The Spinners the most successful soul group of the
1970's. Once with Atlantic, they became a veritable hit machine, topping the R&B and pop charts with songs like
"I'll Be Around," "Could It Be I'm Falling In Love," "One Of
A
Kind (Love Affair)," "Ghetto Child," "Rubberband Man" and "You're Throwing A Good Love Away." Not only were their singles hits, but their albums constantly went gold
and charted in the Top 20.
    Despite their familiar songs and obvious R&B success, they had only one #-1 pop hit. Teaming Dionne Warwick with The Spinners was a brilliant move by producer Thom
Bell that gave both halves of the double-act their first and only #-1 singles.
"Then Came You" came about after The Spinners were asked by Dionne to be her opening act on
a five-week summer theatre tour, bringing the soul group into Las Vegas for the first time, a move Dionne felt was long overdue. Bell, suggested that Dionne duet with
Philippe on
"Then Came You." Dionne was signed to Warner Bros. Records at the time. Atlantic's sister label under the WEA corporate umbrella. With the exception of
"Then Came You," Dionne's five years on Warner Bros. Records left her completely devoid of hits.
    Wynne left the band to pursue a solo career in 1977; he was replaced by John Edwards. Wynne then recorded his solo albums "Starting All Over," and "Wynne Jammin," on the Cotillion Record Label in 1980. Although
none of Wynne's solo achievements went anywhere, he did tour with George Clinton, Parliament and Funkadelic, and was well-received.
    On July 13, 1984, while performing a concert in Oakland, California, Wynne suffered a heart attack, and died the next day. Wynne's last two effort's were,
"You Ain't Going Anywhere But Gone" in 1983, and "Philippe
Wynne"
in 1984. Another iconic voice stilled at an early age. Our deepest admiration and respect to a talent gone too soon.