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"The Rubberband Man" is a song recorded by the American vocal group The Spinners (known as "The Detroit Spinners" in the UK).

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, 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]

Arrangement and structureEdit

With the opening lyrics, "Hand me down my walking cane, hand me down my hat!", the song recalls the tradition of the one-man band, the days of traveling minstrel shows and such Bay Area musicians as Jesse Fuller.Template:Fact

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" 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). The song also features the bass playing of Motown Legend Bob "Funk Brother" Babbitt.

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."[4]


In the 1981 film Stripes, the song is featured in the mud wrestling club the platoon visit. During an episode of US television series Martin, Gina sings the tagline of the song after informing Martin that she has reorganized his music CDs. In the early 2000s, the song was featured prominently in a series of OfficeMax television commercials starring actor Eddie Steeples. It was also featured in the Episode 4 of the 2012 Season 2 of Suits. The song also appears on films like Radio and Akeelah and the Bee and About Last Night. It appears on ads for NBA games on ESPN.

In baseball games, the song was used at Wrigley Field when Chicago Cubs closer Carlos Mármol entered the game as well as at Three Rivers Stadium when Pittsburgh Pirates closer Kent Tekulve did in the late 1970s and early 1980s.




Weekly singles chartsEdit

Chart (1976-77) Peak
U.S. Billboard Hot 100 2
U.S. Billboard Hot Soul Singles 1
U.S. Cash Box Top 100 3
Canada 7
UK 16
Australia[5] 20

Year-end chartsEdit

Chart (1976) Rank
U.S. Cash Box[6] 24
Chart (1977) Rank
Canada[7] 101
U.S. Billboard Hot 100[8] 81


External linksEdit

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