The Spinners

I'll Be Around

Composed by Thom Bell / Phil Hurtt

Song Review by

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.

Appears On

Year Artist/Album Label Time AllMusic Rating
Spinners 1973 Rhino 3:13
No Image 1974
Various Artists
Adam VIII
No Image 1974
Various Artists
Adam VIII
No Image 1977 Atlantic
No Image 1981 Warner Bros.
No Image 1985 Atlantic
The Golden Age of Black Music: 1970-1975 1988
Various Artists
Atlantic 3:13
A One of a Kind Love Affair: The Anthology 1991 Rhino 3:09
Atlantic Rhythm & Blues 1947-1974 [Box] 1991
Various Artists
Atlantic 3:08
Rhythm & Blues: 1972 1992
Various Artists
Time / Life Music
Sounds of the Seventies: Seventies Top Forty 1992
Various Artists
Time / Life Music 3:12
The Very Best of the Spinners [Atlantic] 1993 Atlantic / Rhino 3:15
The Very Best of the Spinners [Rhino] 1993 Rhino 3:14
The R&B Box: 30 Years of Rhythm & Blues 1994
Various Artists
Rhino / Warner Bros.
The Very Best of the Spinners [Rebound] 1995 Rebound Records 3:12
Billboard Hot Soul Hits: 1972 1995
Various Artists
Rhino 3:11
Dead Presidents 1995
Original Soundtrack
Capitol / EMI Records 3:10
MVP Classic Mellow, Vol. 2 1996
Various Artists
MVP Records 3:10
I'll Be Around & Other Hits 1997 Collectables / Rhino Flashback 3:13
Ultimate 70's R&B Smashes 1998
Various Artists
Rhino 3:12
Everybody Dance: Remixed Dance Classics 1998
Various Artists
Rhino 4:05
Have a Nice Decade: The 70s Pop Culture Box 1998
Various Artists
Rhino 3:12
Blues Summit 1998
Various Artists
Rhino 0:00
Golden Age of Hollywood 1998
Various Artists
Rhino 0:00
Legendary Jazz 1998 Rhino 3:13
Funk Jam! 1998
Various Artists
Rhino 3:13
Soft Rock Classics [Rhino Box] 1998
Various Artists
Rhino 0:00
VH1 8-Track Flashback: Classic 70's Soul 1998
Various Artists
Rhino 3:12
Whole Lotta Soul 1972-1973 1999
Various Artists
BCI-Eclipse Distribution / Eclipse Music Group 3:12
Entertainment Weekly: The Greatest Hits 1972 2000
Various Artists
Buddha Records 3:13
Soul Train: The Dance Years 1972 2000
Various Artists
Rhino 3:12
Radio's Greatest Hits: The '70s 2000
Various Artists
Trans World 3:13
Jammin' Oldies 2001
Various Artists
Rhino 3:11
Cosmic Grooves: Aquarius 2001
Various Artists
Rhino 3:10
Cosmic Grooves: Taurus 2001
Various Artists
Rhino 3:10
Pure Soul Power 2001
Various Artists
UTV / Uptown / Universal 3:09
Entertainment Weekly: The Greatest Hits 1970-1974 2001
Various Artists
Buddha Records 3:13
Can You Dig It? The '70s Soul Experience 2001
Various Artists
Rhino 3:12
The Essentials 2002 WSM 3:13
Top Hits of the Seventies: Amazing Hits 2003
Various Artists
Collectables 3:10
The Chrome Collection 2003 Rhino 3:12
The Incredible Soul Collection 2003
Various Artists
Rhino 3:14
Jammin Soul, Vol. 1 2003
Various Artists
Rhino Flashback 3:12
Radio [Hip-O] 2003
Original Soundtrack
Hip-O 3:12
Simply the Best Platinum Soul 2003
Various Artists
WEA International 3:10
Creme de La Creme: Philly Soul Classics & Rarities 2003
Various Artists
Warner Music 3:12
Boogie Cops & Disco Pimps 2004
Various Artists
Virgin 3:07
All That Soul 2005
Various Artists
WEA / Warner 3:10
Greetings from Philly 2005
Various Artists
American Beat Records 3:12
Ultimate 16: Ultimate Soul 2005
Various Artists
Madacy Distribution / Madacy 3:12
'70s: Gold 2006
Various Artists
Hip-O 3:10
Atlantic Rhythm & Blues 1947-1974, Vol. 8: 1970-1974 2006
Various Artists
WEA International 3:11
The Definitive Soul Collection 2006 Rhino 3:11
Atlantic R&B Box Set 2006
Various Artists
WEA International 3:11
13 R&B #1 Hits, Vol. 3 2006
Various Artists
United Multi License 3:08
Let's Get It On: 70s R&B 2006
Various Artists
Compass Productions
From the Heart: Classics 2007
Various Artists
Warner Music 3:11
Los Grandes del Soul 2007
Various Artists
Contrasena 3:09
The Best of Spinners [Rhino] 2007 Atlantic / Rhino 3:14
Love Train: The Sound of Philadelphia 2008
Various Artists
Legacy / SMG 3:10
Only in America: Atlantic Soul Classics 2009
Various Artists
Atlantic / Rhino / Rhino Atlantic 3:14
No Image
Various Artists
Capitol 3:13
No Image
Various Artists
Allegro
Sweet Soul Music [Rhino]
Various Artists
Rhino / Warner Music 3:13
Top Hits/70's Only Number 1's
Various Artists
Warner Music 3:13
Whata' Wonderful 70's
Various Artists
Warner Music 3:15