Bobby Caldwell, singer of hit ‘What You Won’t Do for Love,’ dies at 71

Bobby Caldwell, an R&B singer-songwriter who had a big hit with “What You Won’t Do for Love” in 1978, died March 14 at his home in Great Meadows, N.J. He was 71. It was years.

His wife Maryam confirmed the death but did not give a specific cause.

“What You Won’t Do for Love” It went to No. 9 on the Billboard Hot 100 and No. 6 on what was then called the Hot Selling Soul Singles chart. The song became a long-term standard and a career-defining hit for Mr. Caldwell, who wrote the song.

The song was covered by artists including Boyz II Men and Michael Bolton, and was sampled by rapper Tupac Shakur on his posthumously released song “Do For Love”.

Other Caldwell songs have been sampled by hip-hop artists including Notorious BIG, Common, Lil Nas X and Chance the Rapper.

Robert Hunter Caldwell was born on August 15, 1951 in Manhattan and grew up in Miami.

A multi-instrumentalist, he began performing professionally at age 17 and got his break playing guitar in Little Richard’s band in the early 1970s. A few years later, Mr. Caldwell played in bar bands in Los Angeles before landing a solo record deal.

Mr. Caldwell would never have a hit that came close to “What You’ll Do for Love,” but he did release hit albums, including “Cat in the Hat” (1980) — On which he appeared in this film. A fedora-wearing cover — and “Carry On” (1982), on which he was his producer and played all the instruments.

His song “open your eyes” “Cat in the Hat” was covered by John Legend and sampled by Common on their 2000 single “The Light”.

In the 1990s, Mr. Caldwell shifted to recording and performing American standards, including songs popularized by Frank Sinatra and Nat King Cole.

Survivors include his wife, two daughters and a stepdaughter.

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