Hip-hop beat makers and Black audiences adored the blue-eyed soul singer who passed away after a long illness.
The frequently sampled blue-eyed soul singer Bobby Caldwell, the voice behind the late 1970s hit “What You Won’t Do for Love,” passed away at 71.
Bobby’s wife, Mary Caldwell, tweeted, “Bobby died at home.”. “As he turned and walked away from us, I embraced him in my arms. For the rest of my life, I’ll be in pain. I appreciate all of your prayers throughout the years. “.
Although no specific cause of death was given, Mary believed that a negative response to the antibiotic fluoroquinolone caused Caldwell’s six-year history of health issues.
Caldwell is best known for his No. 1 soul single “What You Don’t Do for Love,” which he released in 1978. Ten on the Billboard Hot 100 due partly to its cross-demographic appeal; Caldwell’s label TK Records hid the fact that he was a white singer, allowing the single to ascend on RandB-dominant radio stations.
However, the single’s commercial success among Black audiences did not suffer when Caldwell started public appearances supporting the song.
Natalie Cole and Boyz II Men later covered “What You Don’t Do for Love.”. “.
Caldwell’s current success is largely because hip-hop producers frequently use samples from his music in their productions. For example, J Dilla used a selection of his “Open Your Eyes” in Common’s 2000 single “The Light”, and Kendrick Lamar used a piece of the same song in his “R. O. T. C. A$AP Rocky and Lil Nas X both used Caldwell’s “My Flame” as a sample; Caldwell is now suing the latter for $25 million over the online-only song.
While Caldwell’s solo success with “What You Don’t Do for Love” was modest, he did pen the No. 1 hit song.
In 2015, Caldwell made himself known to younger audiences under the moniker Cool Uncle, a collaboration with the producer Jack Splash, a friend who is decades younger than Caldwell. At the time, Caldwell told Rolling Stone, “I thought, man, that’s kind of strange.”. “Since he is 20 years my junior. Why don’t you give him a call?” suggested my wife. We got along well when we spoke on the phone. “.
Additionally, Splash hoped Cool Uncle would encourage younger listeners to “revisit [Caldwell’s] discography to the first two albums. “.
The producer continued, “There are some real jewels on there.