During their eight-year tenure at Motown the Spinners were everything from chauffeurs to chaperones for the label's biggest stars. They finally had a hit with 1970s "It's a Shame." The Spinners were one of the groups Berry Gordy decided not to re-sign in 1972. The group went to Atlantic. Rising producer Thom Bell was given the option of producing anyone on the label he wanted. He chose the Spinners. This song is tougher than the near-baroque ballads with the Delfonics and the Stylistics. The lead singer here is the suave Bobbie Smith. The story here is poignant. For the woman in the song, the relationship is over. Smith plays the male role, gasping at straws, pleading, and not hearing goodbye just yet. The adoration borders on obsession as Smith sings, "Even if I have to crawl/I'll be there." Of course, such devotion turns on itself; the song seemed to sense the desperation of such tactics. If the subliminal nature stated by the lyrics wasn't enough, Bell's eerie, whining organ seemed to amplify Smith's mix of bravado and uncertainty. This track also has rich imagery like "There's always a chance/A tiny spark will remain/and sparks turn into flames/and love can burn once again." Well, he hopes, anyway. Smith's Sam Cooke-derived smooth vocal runs worked here as a great counterpoint to arguably Philly's best rhythm section of bassist Ron Baker and drummer Earl Young. Arrangement-wise, this is gem: The blustery horns, the sweeping strings, and mix of male and female vocals gave the Spinners their trademark 1972-1977 sound. In short, "I'll Be Around" is a timeless song.