Remembering Bobby Caldwell

 “What You Won’t Do For Love” singer dies at 71

The R&B music scene has lost one of its stars. American singer-songwriter Bobby Caldwell passed away on March 14, 2023 at the age of 71.

Caldwell, who’s known best for his hit “What You Won’t Do For Love,” died in his sleep at his home in New Jersey, according to one of his representatives.

While no cause of death was provided, his wife Mary Caldwell announced on Twitter that the cause of death was due to long-term complications related to antibiotics.

“Bobby passed away here at home. I held him tight in my arms as he left us. I am forever heartbroken. Thanks to all of you for your many prayers over the years,” she wrote.

Over his four-decade-long career, Caldwell experimented with various genres ranging from R&B, soul, soft rock and jazz. He dropped his signature song “What You Won’t Do For Love” in 1978 which propelled his career and landed as number 9 on Billboard’s Top 100. The hit song was covered by numerous artists, such as Boyz II Men, Snoh Aalegra and Michael Bolton.

Caldwell’s label at the time, TK records, tried to hide the fact that he was a white singer in order for the hit to succeed on the R&B radio stations. To further hide his race, they decided to silhouette him on the cover of his self-titled album. Nevertheless, once Caldwell began making public appearances, his adoration from his Black audience only grew.

Not only did Caldwell compose his own music, he also wrote for many other artists, such as Roy Ayers, Chicago, Natalie Cole and even Neil Diamond. He also wrote the classic “The Next Time I Fall” for Amy Grant and Peter Cetera which became a Billboard number one hit in 1986.

Surprisingly, Caldwell received most of his recent success from hip-hop artists, like Tupac Shakur, Kendrick Lamar and Notorious B.I.G. who sampled his songs. 

Caldwell was a major contributor to the world of R&B and will be greatly missed and remembered for his contribution to the music industry.


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