Soul singer-songwriter Bobby Caldwell, best known for his 1978 hit “What You Won’t Do For Love,” has died at the age of 71. His wife, Mary Caldwell, announced the news in a tweet Wednesday morning, writing that “Bobby passed away here at home.. I held him tight in my arms when he left us. I am forever heartbroken. Thank you all for your many prayers over the years. He had been ‘FLOXED’, it took the health of him for the last 6 years and 2 months. Rest in God, my Love.”
Although Mary Caldwell did not specify what ailment the singer suffered from, “Floxed” generally refers to a condition that the Regenerative Medicine LA treatment center says arises from the adverse effects of taking fluoroquinolone antibiotics such as Ciprofloxacin, Levaquin or Avelox; no additional information on Caldwell’s cause of death was available at the time of publication.
Robert Hunter Caldwell was born on April 15, 1951 in New York City and got his first big break serving as Little Richard’s rhythm guitarist in the early 1970s before going solo later in the decade and scoring a hit. immediately with his TK. Records debuts with the No. 9 Billboard Hot 100 single “What You Won’t Do For Love.”
In a 2005 interview with NPR, Caldwell said that the Miami-based label with a mostly black R&B chart didn’t “want it to be known that I was white,” which explains why her photo didn’t appear on the cover of their album. self titled debut. In addition, he said the record was initially completed without the smooth jazzy ballad “Love,” which Caldwell wrote and hastily cut to please TK boss Henry Stone. The song cemented Caldwell’s reputation as a “blue-eyed soul” star and has since been covered by everyone from Boyz II Men to Michael Bolton, Roy Ayers and Snoh Aalegra; it was also sampled by Tupac Shakur on “Do For Love”.
He scored again in 1980 with the smooth piano pop tune “Open Your Eyes” from that year’s song. cat in the hat album, which was later sampled by producer J Dilla for the song “The Light” from Common’s Like water for Chocolate album.
Describing her sound, which blended pop with smooth jazz, R&B, and a Brazilian/island vibe, Caldwell told NPR that the time she spent growing up in Miami soaking up all kinds of music — “Haitian, reggae, Latin, pop, R&B” —also as befriending his mother’s real estate client, reggae icon Bob Marley, helped him find his signature groove.
Caldwell continued to release albums throughout the 1980s, 1990s, and mid-2010s, until his latest collection, 2015’s. cool dude. She also wrote the hit 1986 duet “The Next Time I Fall” for Chicago’s Amy Grant and Peter Cetera, as well as songs for Neil Diamond, Boz Scaggs, Ayers, Chicago, and Natalie Cole, among others.
A version of this story first appeared on billboard.com