I'll Be Around (The Spinners song)

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"I'll Be Around"
Spinners - I'll Be Around.jpg
Single by The Spinners
from the album Spinners
A-side "How Could I Let You Get Away"
B-side "I'll Be Around"
Released August 1972
Format 7" 45 RPM
Genre Soul, pop, Philly soul
Length 3:13
Label Atlantic
Songwriter(s) Thom Bell
Phil Hurtt
Producer(s) Thom Bell
The Spinners singles chronology
"We'll Have It Made"
"How Could I Let You Get Away" / "I'll Be Around"
"Could It Be I'm Falling in Love"
"We'll Have It Made"
"How Could I Let You Get Away" / "I'll Be Around"
"Could It Be I'm Falling in Love"

"I'll Be Around" is a song recorded by the American R&B vocal group The Spinners (known as "Detroit Spinners" in the UK). The song was co-written by Thom Bell and Phil Hurtt and produced by Bell.

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.[1] 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.

Chart performance[edit]


Cover versions[edit]

"I'll Be Around" has been covered by many artists. Among them are The Moments, The Afghan Whigs, Devon Allman, 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".

US singer Terri Wells had a hit in 1984 with her version, which reached No 17 in the UK Singles Chart.

In 1985, a cover by the American new wave group What Is This?, produced by Todd Rundgren, reached number 62 on the Billboard Hot 100.[5]

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. Also that same year, the original Spinner's version was featured in the film Dead Presidents.

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.

Rapper Rah Sun Sampled the song on "I'll Be Around" featuring Big Pun.

In 2015, the German group, Hotlane (Agnes Lindström & Jack Tennis) sampled "I'll Be Around" on the song "Whenever", featured on their first album titled "The EP".[6]


In 2016 internet radio station WDDF Radio ranked the song number 68 in their top 76 of the 1970s countdown.[7]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Whitburn, Joel (2004). Top R&B/Hip-Hop Singles: 1942-2004. Record Research. p. 545. 
  2. ^ "Music lyrics, charts, Games, & more.". Top40db.net. Retrieved 10 March 2015. 
  3. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2015-04-02. Retrieved 2015-03-17. 
  4. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2015-02-24. Retrieved 2015-05-25. 
  5. ^ [1][dead link]
  6. ^ "Hotlane New Releases: The EP on Beatport". Pro.beatport.com. 2015-04-27. Retrieved 2016-10-07. 
  7. ^ "Best of the 70's & 80's". WDDF Radio. Retrieved 2016-10-07. 


  1. 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)
  2. "I'll Be Around" song review on Allmusic website

External links[edit]

Preceded by
"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
Succeeded by
"If You Don't Know Me by Now" by Harold Melvin & the Blue Notes