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Bobby Caldwell Dies

The singer/songwriter best known for the single “What You Won’t Do For Love’ Bobby Caldwell Dies at 71.

“I held him tight in my arms as he left us. I am forever heartbroken. Thanks to all of you for your many prayers over the years,” “Rest with God, my love.” Mary Caldwell

Bobby had suffered for the last 6 years and 2 months with fluoroquinolone toxicity according to Mary. Where in January 2017 he was given an antibiotic for several days which caused a bilateral Achilles tendon ruptures and developed peripheral neuropathy. Despite these injuries, Bobby continued to perform but his condition continued to worsen and his mobility became very limited which caused him to cancel his tours. Over the years his fans sent him get well cards, and notes of praying for you, which he read all them.

His career took off with his debut album in 1978 which was a Top 10 Billboard Hot 100 with the classic hit “What You Won’t Do For Love.” The song was left off the album, but the head of TK Records Henry Stone sent Bobby back into the studio to put it on the album which ironically became his signature song. The hit single has been covered and sampled by everyone from Boyz II Men, Michael Bolton Natalie Cole, Peabo Bryson, Phyllis Hyman to Tupac Shakur.

Bobby’s first tour was opening for Natalie Cole in 1979, and that was when the predominantly black audience was surprise to realized that Bobby Caldwell was White, as you listen to the soulful track it was easily mistaken as a soul artist singing, which gave him the moniker “Blue Eyed Soul.” As Bobby recalls, “I was very surprised at seeing nothing but Black [people] in the audience. And certainly they were probably more surprised than I was!” he said.

Born in Manhattan, raised in Miami to a showbiz family, Bob and R.H. Caldwell both were singers, and hosted Suppertime, one of TV’s first musical variety programs. Bobby grew up listening to opera, jazz, swing, blues, folk and R&B music with some of the top artists of his day Frank Sinatra, Nat King Cole, Tony Bennett, Beatles and with Little Richard, Bobby started his music career as a rhythm guitarist in the early 1970s.

With his appreciation for the varied musical styles he has been label a soul, adult contemporary, big band to smooth jazz artist over his career.

With the success of “What You Won’t Do For Love,” Bobby started writing for other artists like Al Jarreau, Amy Grant, Boz Scaggs, Commodores, Neil Diamond, Roberta Flack, and Peter Cetera just to name a few.

For almost a decade though in the early to mid 80’s Bobby disappeared as a performer in the U.S., though he was very popular in Asia. Returning back to the States, the album, Heart of Mine, became a major international hit release in 1987 found a growing new genre ready to embrace Bobby Caldwell: Smooth Jazz. The hit established him as one of the early voices of the emerging Smooth Jazz Movement. Releasing in 1991 “Stuck On You,” ”Where Is Love” in 1993, “Soul Survivor” in 1995, “Blue Condition” a Big Band album in 1997 followed by a 2nd Big Band album “Come Rain or Shine.” In the 2000’s he alternated between R&B and Smooth Jazz with “Perfect Island” 2005, “Stuck On You” 2006, “Live At The Blue Note“ 2007, “The Consummate Caldwell” 2010, “House of Cards” 2012, “After Dark” 2014, and “Cool Uncle” in 2015.

Caldwell, who lived with his wife “Mary and daughter on a horse farm in New Jersey.

After hearing of the news, I had to compose myself and my thoughts. Meeting him person over 10 years ago, the conversation felt like two old friends as we talked and laugh as he and Mary shared the funny story on how they met and how they interact in the kitchen. We stayed in contact over the year’s texting and calls, speaking last year. You would never find a nicer person than Bobby. In shooting this video he was so accommodating and he gave me and the whole crew a memorable night that we will always remember. RIP Mr. Blue Eyed Soul, Bobby Caldwell. Art Jackson