What For Love Bobby Caldwell R&B singer
Bobby Caldwell onstage (Image courtesy Bobby Caldwell via Twitter)

The R&B What You Won’t Do For Love singer, Bobby Caldwell died on March 14, 2023. He was 71 years old and passed away at his home. Caldwell’s wife Mary Caldwell confirmed the tragic news to The Associated Press stating, “He died in my arms.” The artist was suffering from long-term sickness of a toxic reaction to fluoroquinolone antibiotics.

The singer famous for his silky voice takes away with him a four decades-long career. His music ranged among R&B, Soul, Contemporary, and American Standard genres and he reached the peak of his stardom with the double platinum 1978 hit “What You Won’t Do For Love.”

Bobby Caldwell – The artist’s artist

Bobby Caldwell experimented with many music genres including R&B, reggae, soft rock, and smooth jazz as well. He released more than a dozen albums and wrote for Chicago, Boz Scaggs, Neil Diamond, and Al Jarreau, among others.

His song “The Next Time I Fall,” which he wrote with Paul Gordon, became a chartbuster for Peter Cetera and Amy Grant, reaching No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 in 1986. In 2020, Billboard included the song on a list of the 25 greatest love songs.

Moreover, His evergreen songs are still sampled by other famous artists including Tupac Shakur, and the Notorious B.I.G. However, this success didn’t come overnight for the respected legend.

Robert Hunter ‘Bobby’ Caldwell was born on August 15, 1951, in Manhattan and spent most of his youth in Miami. His parents Bob and Carolyn Caldwell were entertainers who hosted variety shows such as “42nd Street Review” in New York and “Suppertime” in Pittsburgh.

The singer calls himself a ‘showbusiness baby’ having been born into the entertainment industry. He began to work on his music at the age of 17 and collaborated with a group Kathmandu in Las Vegas. In the early 70s, he also worked along with Little Richard as a rhythm guitarist.

He spent much of this time trying to make a name for himself, playing at bars and recording demos. His first taste of stardom came with “What You Won’t Do For Love” in 1978 and it continued through the 80s. His albums Cat In The Hat and Carry On from this time are still well-appreciated.

The second innings of Bobby Caldwell


After his hit singing career in the 80s, the artist began to venture into songwriting. He also continued to perform as a singer for decades. In 2015, he had a comeback with an album titled ‘Cool Uncle’ with R&B producer Jack Splash.

The album featured Deniece Williams, CeeLo Green, and Jessie Ware and ascended the Billboard contemporary jazz chart. Rolling Stone hailed the album as “2015’s smartest retro-soul revival.”

Further his career took an unexpected turn as HipHop artists started to sample his music. It was a novel crossover that didn’t ever seem likely, but Bobby Caldwell appreciated it. He believed the entertainment business is constantly in a state of flux.

Talking about which he mentioned that R&B radio “is not what it was” in his early days in 2005 NPR interview. According to him, rappers were branching into what he called “adult urban” which he claimed was more R&B than ever before. He preached that as the industry is constantly changing, one must keep reinventing himself.

The evergreen singer Bobby Caldwell passed away on March 14, 2023, at the age of 71. His fans will always remember him as the artist who moved with time and reinvented himself.

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Kairavi Pandya is a Senior Writer at Spiel Times. She has a fascination with cinema, multi-generational literature, and old-school Kpop. In her spare time, she likes to learn choreographies and catch up with healing K-dramas. She is also pursuing her undergrad degree.