Bobby Caldwell

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Bobby Caldwell
BobbyCaldwellByPhilKonstantin.jpg
Bobby Caldwell, 2009
Background information
Birth nameRobert Hunter Caldwell
Born (1951-08-15) August 15, 1951 (age 67)
Manhattan, New York City, New York, U.S.
OriginMiami, Florida, U.S.
Genres
Occupation(s)
  • Singer
  • songwriter
  • musician
Instruments
  • Vocals
  • guitar
  • piano
Years active1968–present
Labels

Robert Hunter Caldwell (born August 15, 1951) is an American singer and songwriter who recorded the hit single "What You Won't Do for Love" in 1978. After several R&B and smooth jazz albums, Caldwell turned to singing standards from the Great American Songbook. He maintains a loyal following in Japan.

Career[edit]

Bobby Caldwell was born in Manhattan[1] but grew up in Miami. His mother sold real estate, and one of her clients was reggae singer Bob Marley; Caldwell and Marley became friends. Growing up in Miami exposed Caldwell to a variety of music, such as Haitian, Latin, reggae, and R&B.[2] He grew up listening to the music of Frank Sinatra and Ella Fitzgerald.[3]

When he was 12, Caldwell started playing piano and guitar. He was drawn to rock and roll, as well as jazz and rhythm and blues. At 17, he worked with his band in Las Vegas then moved to Los Angeles.[1]

He signed with TK Records in Miami. In 1978, after songs for his first album were recorded, executives told Caldwell they enjoyed the album but thought it was lacking a hit. Caldwell returned to the studio for two days and wrote "What You Won't Do for Love". TK was mainly an R&B label popular among African American listeners. Executives at the label wanted to conceal the fact that Caldwell was white, so they kept his face off the album cover. When he toured with Natalie Cole to support the album, most of the audience was black, and many were surprised that he turned out to be white.[2][3]

"What You Won't Do for Love" reached the top ten on the Billboard magazine Pop (No. 9)[4] R&B (No. 6), and Adult Contemporary (No. 10) charts. The song has been covered, remade, and sampled many times. Caldwell remade it in 1998. It was covered by Go West, Phyllis Hyman, and Boyz II Men, and has been sampled by Tupac Shakur. It was also covered by Elliott Yamin during the fifth season of American Idol in 2006.

The debut album was followed by Cat in the Hat (1980) and Carry On (1982). For the latter album, Caldwell played all the instruments, was the producer, and helped with arranging and mixing.[5] In 1983, Caldwell released August Moon only in Japan. It was released in the United States in the 1990s.

Singer Boz Scaggs advised Caldwell to write songs for other musicians after TK Records shut down. Caldwell wrote "The Next Time I Fall", which became a hit for Amy Grant and Peter Cetera,[6] and songs for Roy Ayers, Chicago, Natalie Cole, Neil Diamond, Roberta Flack, Al Jarreau, and Boz Scaggs.[7]

On Blue Condition (1996) Caldwell turned from R&B to recording big band arrangements of songs from the Great American Songbook, particularly those sung by Frank Sinatra. He also portrayed Sinatra in tributes to the Rat Pack in Las Vegas.[3][8][9] He continued to sing standards on Come Rain or Come Shine (1999), The Consummate Bobby Caldwell (2010), and After Dark (2014). In 2015, he collaborated with record producer Jack Splash on the album Cool Uncle.[7]

Film soundtracks[edit]

Caldwell wrote and performed songs for the movies Back to School ("Educated Girl"), Mac and Me ("Take Me, I'll Follow You"), Salsa ("Puerto Rico"), and its sequel ("Every Teardrop"). Due to what he has cited in interviews as a lower cost of use than the original recordings, his versions of big band standards have appeared in several films. Examples include Simone (2001) and Lake Boat (2002).

Aside from a minor role in 1988's Salsa, Caldwell portrayed Frank Sinatra from October 1999 to January 2000 in the Las Vegas musical The Rat Pack is Back.

Japanese audience[edit]

Caldwell is popular in Japan, where he was nicknamed "Mister AOR." In Japan, the term "AOR" ("Adult Oriented Rock") is used to describe the style commonly called Adult Contemporary in the United States. In 1992, he received the Japan's equivalent of a Grammy Award for Best International Artist.

Discography[edit]

Albums[edit]

Year Title Billboard chart peak Certification
1978 Bobby Caldwell No. 21 Albums, No. 7 R&B US: Double Platinum, Japan: Platinum
1980 Cat in the Hat No. 113 Albums, No. 46 R&B US: Gold, Japan: Platinum
1982 Carry On No. 133 Albums, No. 41 R&B Japan: Gold
1983 August Moon Japan: Gold
1989 Heart of Mine
1992 Stuck on You No. 65 R&B
1993 Where is Love
1995 Soul Survivor No. 6 Jazz Albums, No. 23 R&B
1996 Blue Condition No. 18 Jazz Albums
1999 Come Rain or Shine
2005 Perfect Island Nights No. 5 Jazz Albums
2007 Live at the Blue Note Tokyo
2010 The Consummate Caldwell
2012 House of Cards
2014 After Dark
2015 Cool Uncle No. 18 Jazz Albums

[10][11][12]

Compilation albums[edit]

Year Title Notes
1998 Timeline: The Anthology No. 8 US Jazz Albums
2001 Time and Again: The Anthology Part 2

Singles[edit]

Year Single Peak chart positions Album
US
Pop
US
R&B
US
A/C
US
Dan
1976 "The House is Rockin'" Non-album single
1978 "What You Won't Do for Love" 9 6 10 Bobby Caldwell
1979 "My Flame" 40
"Can't Say Goodbye" 103 36
"Down for the Third Time"
1980 "Coming Down from Love" 42 28 Cat in the Hat
1981 "Alfie" Non-album single
1982 "Jamaica" 105 54 Carry On
"All of My Love" 77 67
1984 "Don't Quit" (12") 53 Non-album single from Body by Jake soundtrack
1987 "What You Won't Do for Love" (reissue) Bobby Caldwell
1988 "Take Me, I'll Follow You" Mac and Me soundtrack
1991 "Real Thing" 41 Heart of Mine
"Janet" 88 Stuck on You
1996 "I Give In" 125 53 Soul Survivor
2015 "Miami Nights" Cool Uncle
"—" denotes single did not chart or was not released

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Ankeny, Jason. "Bobby Caldwell". AllMusic. Retrieved 12 July 2017.
  2. ^ a b Gordon, Ed (19 May 2005). "Bobby Caldwell: 'Perfect Island Nights'". NPR.org. Retrieved 10 November 2017.
  3. ^ a b c "Singer/Songwriter Bobby Caldwell". PBS.org: Tavis Smiley. 17 June 2015. Retrieved 13 November 2017.
  4. ^ "What You Won't Do For Love Chart History". Billboard. Retrieved 13 November 2017.
  5. ^ Wynn, Ron. "Carry On". AllMusic. Retrieved 10 November 2017.
  6. ^ Appleford, Steve (6 October 1991). "Writing Hits Not Enough for Singer Caldwell". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 10 November 2017.
  7. ^ a b Leight, Elias (18 November 2015). "Cool Uncle: Inside 2015's Smartest Retro-Soul Revival". Rolling Stone. Retrieved 10 November 2017.
  8. ^ Kohlhaase, Bill (2 August 1999). "Caldwell Goes Back a Bit and Does It Frank's Way". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 13 November 2017.
  9. ^ Rizik, Chris (9 December 2014). "Bobby Caldwell – After Dark (2014) (Review)". SoulTracks. Retrieved 13 November 2017.
  10. ^ "Discography". Bobby Caldwell. Retrieved 13 November 2017.
  11. ^ "Bobby Caldwell | Album Discography". AllMusic. Retrieved 13 November 2017.
  12. ^ "Bobby Caldwell Chart History". Billboard. Retrieved 13 November 2017.

External links[edit]