Bobby Caldwell dead at 71: What You Won’t Do for Love singer dies after battle with illness left him unable to walk

SINGER Bobby Caldwell, who composed the double-platinum record What You Won’t Do for Love, has died at age 71.

Caldwell died in his sleep at his home in New Jersey on Tuesday evening after battling an illness for several years, a representative for the songwriter told TMZ.

Singer Bobby Caldwell died in his sleep on Tuesday


Singer Bobby Caldwell died in his sleep on TuesdayCredit: Getty Images – Getty
Bobby Caldwell composed the double-platinum record What You Won't Do for Love


Bobby Caldwell composed the double-platinum record What You Won’t Do for LoveCredit: Getty Images – Getty

For the past five years, the native New Yorker had been unable to walk as he struggled with neuropathy and a ruptured tendon in his ankle, according to the outlet.

Known for his soulful and versatile vocals, Caldwell grew up in Miami listening to jazz icons Frank Sinatra and Ella Fitzgerald.

Bouncing around from Las Vegas and Los Angeles with aspirations to make it big, Caldwell got his first career break as a rhythm guitarist for Little Richard in the early 1970s.

He and his band, Katmandu, left Little Richard in the mid-1970s, and that’s when Caldwell went solo.

By 1978, he signed his first deal with TK Records after spending six years playing at local bars in the LA area.

His global hit, What You Won’t Do for Love, was released on his self-titled debut album and reached the top 10 on Billboard.

The song has been covered, remade and sampled by several artists over the years, including Boys II Men, Tupac Shakur, Go West, Phyllis Hyman and Snoh Aalegra, among others.

American Idol contestant Elliott Yamin covered the song during the show’s fifth season in 2006.

His track My Flame, featured in his debut album, was sampled by rapper The Notorious BIG in his single Sky’s the Limit, featuring R&B group 112.

In the mid-1990s, Caldwell turned from R&B to composing music for other artists, including Neil Diamond, Al Jarreau, Roberta Flack and Boz Scaggs.

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