I'll Be Around (The Spinners song)
|"I'll Be Around"|
|Single by The Spinners|
|from the album Spinners|
|A-side||"How Could I Let You Get Away"|
|B-side||"I'll Be Around"|
|Format||7" 45 RPM|
|The Spinners singles chronology|
The lyrics of the song have the narrator (Spinners main lead singer Bobby Smith), pledging his devotion and love to a lover who has just left him for another while at the same time holding out hope that she will return to him ("There's always a chance, a tiny spark will remain/And sparks turn into flames/And love can burn once again..."). So, in case she changes her mind, he'll be around.
Recorded at Philly's Sigma Sound Studios, the house band MFSB provided the backing. The production of the song gives it a smooth, mid-tempo feel, with the signature guitar riff (in octaves) played by Norman Harris at the forefront and punctuation from female background singers, the MFSB horns & strings and conga-playing from Larry Washington. Bobby Smith handles lead vocals on the song.
The song was included on the group's 1972 self-titled album on Atlantic Records, their first album release for the label. It was initially released as the B-side of the group's first single on Atlantic Records, with "How Could I Let You Get Away" being the A-side. Radio deejays, however, soon opted for "I'll Be Around" which led to Atlantic flipping the single over and the song became an unexpected hit, eventually spending five weeks at number one on the U.S. R&B chart (the group's first number-one on the R&B chart), and reaching number three on the U.S. Pop chart in the fall of 1972. It also reached sales of over one million copies, The Spinners' first record ever to do so. The success of "I'll Be Around" would be the first in a series of chart successes The Spinners and Bell would have together during the 1970s.
Weekly singles charts
- Lead vocals by Bobby Smith
- Background vocals by Bobby Smith, Philippé Wynne, Pervis Jackson, Henry Fambrough and Billy Henderson
- Additional Background vocals by Linda Creed, with the Sigma Sweethearts Barbara Ingram, Carla Benson and Yvette Benton
- Instrumentation by MFSB
"I'll Be Around" has been covered by many artists. Among them are The Afghan Whigs, Devon Allman, What Is This?, Joan Osborne, The Rippingtons featuring Jeffrey Osborne, Funk, Inc., Doug Parkinson, Richie Kotzen and Hall & Oates, whose version reached number six on the U.S. Adult Contemporary chart.
Jamaican reggae artist Otis Gayle also recorded a steadfast version of "I'll Be Around" for the Studio One label in the early 1970s, that features the recognizable organ playing of Jackie Mittoo. Like many Jamaican recordings, the instrumental track for this song went on to be the foundation for many Jamaican singles to this day, notably Johnny Osbournes 1979 hit We Need Love.
In 1975, Claude François, a French singer from the 1960s and 1970s who wrote the original version of My Way (song), recorded a French version of the song, renamed "Soudain il ne reste qu'une chanson".
In 1995, rapper Rappin' 4-Tay released his own version of the song as the second single from his second album. This version replaced the song's original lyrics with those written by Rappin' 4-Tay, though it sampled the original and retained the chorus, for which The Spinners were credited as featured artists. This version became a top-40 hit in the United States, peaking at number 39 on the Billboard Hot 100.
In 1999, rap group TRU, featuring Master P sampled it on their single "Tru Homies", from their album Da Crime Family. "Tru Homies", peaked at #6 on the Hot Rap Singles and #61 on the Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Singles & Tracks.
- Whitburn, Joel (2004). Top R&B/Hip-Hop Singles: 1942-2004. Record Research. p. 545.
- "Music lyrics, charts, Games, & more.". Top40db.net. Retrieved 10 March 2015.
- "Chartjunkie Top Songs Of 1974". Chartjunkie.com. Retrieved 17 January 2015.
- A House On Fire: The Rise and Fall of Philadelphia Soul by John A. Jackson, ISBN 0-19-514972-6 (Publication: New York Oxford University Press (U.S.), 2004)
- "I'll Be Around" song review on Allmusic website
"Get on the Good Foot" by James Brown
|Billboard Best Selling Soul Singles number-one single (The Spinners version)
October 14, 1972 – November 11, 1972
"If You Don't Know Me by Now" by Harold Melvin & the Blue Notes