The Rubberband Man

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"The Rubberband Man"
The Rubberband Man.jpg
Single by The Spinners
from the album Happiness Is Being With the Spinners
B-side "Now That We're Together"
Released August 1976
Format 7-inch single
Recorded 1976
Genre Pop, Soul, Funk
Length 3:33 (single edit)
7:22 (album version)
Label Atlantic
Songwriter(s) Thom Bell
Linda Creed
Producer(s) Thom Bell
The Spinners singles chronology
"Wake Up Susan"
"The Rubberband Man"
"You're Throwing a Good Love Away"
"Wake Up Susan"
"The Rubberband Man"
"You're Throwing a Good Love Away"

"The Rubberband Man" is a song recorded by the American vocal group The Spinners (known as "The Detroit Spinners" in the UK).

The song, written by producer Thom Bell and singer-songwriter Linda Creed, was about Bell's son, who was being teased by his classmates for being overweight. Intended to improve his son's self-image, the song eventually evolved from being about "The Fat Man" to "The Rubberband Man".[1]

The last major hit by the Spinners to feature Philippé Wynne on lead vocals, "The Rubberband Man" spent three weeks at number two on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100, and topped the U.S. R&B chart at the end of 1976.[2] It was also a top-20 hit in the UK Singles Chart, reaching number 16 in October 1976.[3]

Arrangement and structure[edit]

The arrangement opens with rhythmic clavinet and percussion, followed by a Philly string arrangement provided by the Mother Father Sister Brother musicians. There are brief bursts of brass section and piano. Singer Wynne's delivery is "singularly expressive"[citation needed] and the bridge and chorus provide for a classic call and response routine by supporting vocalists Bobbie Smith (tenor), Henry Fambrough (baritone), Billy Henderson (tenor/baritone) and Pervis Jackson (bass).[citation needed] The song also features the bass playing of Motown Legend Bob "Funk Brother" Babbitt.[citation needed]

Wynne alternates between singing the verse and interjecting verbal asides and improvises the eight bars linking the chorus with the bridge. The backing singers' retort of "do-do-do-do," recalls the distinctive chorus in Stephen Stills' song "Love the One You're With."[4]


In the 1981 film Stripes, the song is featured in the mud wrestling club scene. It also appears in the films Radio, Akeelah and the Bee and the 2014 remake of About Last Night.

During an episode of US television series Martin, Gina sings the tagline of the song after informing Martin that she has reorganized his music CDs. It was also featured in episode 4 of the second season of Suits.

In the early 2000s, the song was featured in a series of OfficeMax television commercials starring actor Eddie Steeples. It also appears on ads for NBA games on ESPN.

The song was used at Wrigley Field to accompany Chicago Cubs closer Carlos Mármol's entrance, and when Pittsburgh Pirates closer Kent Tekulve took the field at Three Rivers Stadium the late 1970s and early 80s.





  1. ^ Feldman, Christopher G. (2000). The Billboard Book of No. 2 Hits. Billboard Books. ISBN 0-8230-7695-4. 
  2. ^ Whitburn, Joel (2004). Top R&B/Hip-Hop Singles: 1942-2004. Record Research. p. 545. 
  3. ^ "The Detroit Spinners: The Rubberband Man". 
  4. ^ Planer, Lindsay. "The Rubberband Man". AllMusic. Retrieved 30 January 2013. 
  5. ^ Steffen Hung. "Forum - 1970 (ARIA Charts: Special Occasion Charts)". Archived from the original on 2016-06-02. Retrieved 2016-10-11. 
  6. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2014-10-21. Retrieved 2016-06-05. 
  7. ^ "Image : RPM Weekly - Library and Archives Canada". Retrieved 2016-10-11. 
  8. ^ "Top 100 Hits of 1977/Top 100 Songs of 1977". Retrieved 2016-10-11. 

External links[edit]

Preceded by
"Just to Be Close to You" by The Commodores
Billboard's Hot Soul Singles number one single
October 23, 1976
Succeeded by
"Message in Our Music" by The O'Jays