Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Bobby Caldwell: What You Won't Do For Love

After performing successfully in clubs in Miami, Bobby Caldwell was approached by TK records to sign to an exclusive contract. After his debut album had been recorded, the label felt that the hit potential of the material was questionable and requested that he find another tune and return to the studio. Caldwell and Alfons Kettner collaborated on “What You Won’t Do for Love” and recorded the song.

While the tune wasn’t Caldwell’s choice for the single, the folks at TK were confident that “What You Won’t Do For Love” was the pick and rush released the single on their Clouds subsidiary to R&B radio carefully concealing the fact that Caldwell was white. The song peaked on the R&B charts at #6.

With the success on R&B Radio, “What You Do for Love” crossed over to Top 40 and peaked in 1979 at #9. With the strength of the single, the LP was released under the same title. Promotional copies sent to radio were issued in gold vinyl. Caldwell is featured on lead and backing vocals, bass, keyboards, and guitar. The album peaked on the LP charts at #21.

I remember playing this single on WAMX and enjoying its smooth sounds with horns, funk guitar, a Rhodes piano, and synthesizer. “What You Won’t Do for Love” was Caldwell’s only Top 40 hit although 1980’s “Coming Down from Love” came close at #42.

Another unique promotional item surrounding this hit was that it was released in a limited version of the single that was heart shaped in red vinyl. After seeing the single at the station, I purchased it at one of the local record stores and it become the first of a dozen or so shaped records that I own in my collection. I have another heart shaped single – Yarborough & Peoples’ “Heartbeats.” Enjoy this hit from 1979.

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