The iconic R&B singer and composer Bobby Caldwell, who was responsible for such songs as Open Your Eyes and What You Won’t Do for Love, passed away at the age of 71.
According to a statement his wife, Mary Caldwell, released online, the singer had suffered from a protracted illness. “Bobby died at home, here. As he left us, I tightly hugged him in my arms. I will always be heartbroken. She said on his verified Twitter account, “Thanks to all of you for your numerous prayers over the years.
Caldwell attributed the diversity of his city of Miami, Florida—where he was born and raised—to his ability to play in a variety of genres and his deep voice. What You Won’t Do for Love, his anthem,
shortly after its 1978 release, reached the Billboard charts, and Tupac Shakur sampled it for his 1998 posthumous single Do For Love. His music has been sampled by other musicians like Common, The Notorious BIG, and John Legend.
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Ahmir “Questlove” Thompson, who worked with Common on The Light, which features a sample of Caldwell’s Open Your Eyes, wrote a homage to the late singer on Instagram with a long note explaining their years-long game of phone. “Wow, what a lost chance to meet a legend. I appreciate your voice and gift, he said in his letter.
Caldwell was reared in Miami after being exposed to the Hispanic, Haitian, reggae, and R&B music of the city. He was born in Manhattan in 1951. Early in the 1970s, he played rhythm guitar for Little Richard, which was his big break. In 1978, he signed with TK Records, a label predominantly recognised for Black performers.
For musicians other than himself, Caldwell wrote songs like The Next Time I Fall for Amy Grant and Peter Cetera.
In a 2005 interview with NPR, Caldwell stated of music, “Most of the fantastic individuals I’ve gotten to know in the radio profession, they all say the same thing. “It should have no barriers because it’s like a universal language.”
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