The Rubberband Man

"The Rubberband Man" is a song recorded by the American vocal group The Spinners.

"The Rubberband Man"
The Rubberband Man.jpg
Single by The Spinners
from the album
Happiness Is Being with the Spinners
B-side"Now That We're Together"
ReleasedAugust 1976
Format7-inch single
GenreSoul, funk, Philly soul
Length3:33 (single edit)
7:22 (album version)
Songwriter(s)Thom Bell
Linda Creed
Producer(s)Thom Bell
The Spinners singles chronology
"Wake Up Susan"
"The Rubberband Man"
"You're Throwing a Good Love Away"

The song, written by producer Thom Bell and singer-songwriter Linda Creed, was about Bell's son, who was being teased by his classmates for being overweight. Intended to improve his son's self-image, the song eventually evolved from being about "The Fat Man" to "The Rubberband Man".[1]

The last major hit by the Spinners to feature Philippé Wynne on lead vocals, "The Rubberband Man" spent three weeks at number two on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 (blocked from the top spot by Rod Stewart's massive hit single "Tonight's the Night") and topped the U.S. R&B chart at the end of 1976.[2] It was also a top-20 hit in the UK Singles Chart, reaching number 16 in October 1976.[3]

The song was included in the Detroit Free Press's "Detroit's 100 Greatest Songs" list, ranking 70th.[4]

Arrangement and structureEdit

The arrangement opens with rhythmic clavinet and percussion, followed by a Philly string arrangement provided by the Mother Father Sister Brother musicians. There are brief bursts of brass section and piano. Singer Wynne's delivery is "singularly expressive"[citation needed] and the bridge and chorus provide for a classic call and response routine by supporting vocalists Bobbie Smith (tenor), Henry Fambrough (baritone), Billy Henderson (tenor/baritone) and Pervis Jackson (bass).[citation needed] The song also features the bass playing of Funk Brothers alumni Bob Babbitt.[citation needed]

Wynne alternates between singing the verse and interjecting verbal asides and improvises the eight bars linking the chorus with the bridge. The backing singers' retort of "do-do-do-do," recalls the distinctive chorus in Stephen Stills' song "Love the One You're With."[5]




  1. ^ Feldman, Christopher G. (2000). The Billboard Book of No. 2 Hits. Billboard Books. ISBN 0-8230-7695-4.
  2. ^ Whitburn, Joel (2004). Top R&B/Hip-Hop Singles: 1942–2004. Record Research. p. 545.
  3. ^ "The Detroit Spinners: The Rubberband Man".
  4. ^ "Detroit's 100 Greatest Songs". Retrieved May 10, 2018.
  5. ^ Planer, Lindsay. "The Rubberband Man". AllMusic. Retrieved January 30, 2013.
  6. ^ Steffen Hung. "Forum – 1970 (ARIA Charts: Special Occasion Charts)". Archived from the original on June 2, 2016. Retrieved October 11, 2016.
  7. ^ "Top 100 Year End Charts: 1976". Cashbox Magazine. Retrieved June 5, 2016.
  8. ^ "Image : RPM Weekly – Library and Archives Canada". Retrieved October 11, 2016.
  9. ^ "Top 100 Hits of 1977/Top 100 Songs of 1977". Retrieved October 11, 2016.
  10. ^ "Billboard Hot 100 60th Anniversary Interactive Chart". Billboard. Retrieved December 10, 2018.

External linksEdit