The Spinners is a soul music vocal group, active under that name since 1961, and popular with a long run of pop and R&B hits during the 1970s. The group, originating from Detroit, still tours regularly. The band is also listed occasionally as The Motown Spinners, or as Detroit Spinners. These group monikers were used in the UK to avoid confusion with a British group also called The Spinners.
In 1954, a group of friends who grew up together in Royal Oak Township, Michigan, just outside Detroit, came together to make music. For a time, several of the band members resided in Detroit’s Herman Gardens public housing projects. Billy Henderson, Henry Fambrough, Pervis Jackson, C. P. Spencer, and James Edwards called themselves The Domingoes. James Edwards lasted only a few weeks. He was replaced by Bobbie Smith, who sang lead on most of the Spinners’ early records. C. P. Spencer left the group shortly afterwards, and would later go on to be a member of the Voice Masters and The Originals. He was replaced by George Dixon. The group renamed themselves The Spinners in 1961. This name was chosen after looking at popular car hubcaps and noting how they spun around on a car’s wheel.
The Spinners first hit the charts in August 1961 on Harvey Fuqua’s Tri-Phi Records, with “That’s What Girls Are Made For,” peaking at number 27. Bobby Smith sang lead vocal on this track, coached by Fuqua. The group’s followup, “Love I Found You” also featured lead vocals by Smith, although again some sources credit Fuqua. This track would reach number 91 that November, but none of their other Tri-Phi singles charted.