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Legendary Singer-Songwriter, Bobby Caldwell, Dies at 71 after Long Illness

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Bobby Caldwell Album Cover

Legendary R&B artist Bobby Caldwell and singer of the popular hit song “What You Won’t Do for Love,” “My Fame,” and “Take Me, I’ll Follow You,” has passed away at 71. His wife, Mary Caldwell, confirmed the news of his death earlier today through his official Twitter account.

Mary Caldwell, the singer’s wife, said in a statement that he had been sick for a long time. Bobby Caldwell died in his own home. “I held him tight in my arms as he left us. I am forever heartbroken”, he said. On his verified Twitter account, she thanked his followers for their prayers over the years.

Bobby Caldwell’s Music Career

Bobby Caldwell and Cassidy

When he was alive, Caldwell had a soulful voice and could sing across numerous genres of music. According to him, his diversity in music originates from Miami, Florida, where he grew up.  He released his most famous song, “What You Won’t Do for Love,” in 1978. After it was released, it quickly climbed the ranks on the Billboard Charts. Tupac Shakur later sampled it for his posthumous hit “Do For Love” in 1998. Various artists have sampled his music, including The Notorious BIG, Common, and John Legend.

Despite his New York birth in 1951, Caldwell spent his formative years in Miami, where he learned about the city’s Haitian, reggae, Latin and R&B music. In the early 1970s, he found his footing as Little Richard’s rhythm guitarist, and in 1978, he signed with TK Records, a label that majorly signed black artists.

Bobby Caldwell was not only a musician, he also wrote songs for other artists, including Peter Cetera, Roberta Flack, and Amy Grant.

In a 2005 interview with NPR, Caldwell stated he had met many people in the radio business, and most believe in one thing. That music is a universal language and should have no barriers.