HomeAmerican EntertainmentBobby Caldwell, ‘What You Won’t Do for Love’ Singer, Dead at 71

Bobby Caldwell, ‘What You Won’t Do for Love’ Singer, Dead at 71

by Samantha Whidden
Bobby Caldwell
(Photo by Ethan Miller/BET/Getty Images for BET)

Bobby Caldwell, who is best known for his hit single What You Won’t Do For Love, has reportedly passed away at the age of 71.

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In a tweet on Wednesday (March 15th), Bobby’s wife Mary Caldwell announced that the singer had passed away in their home. “I held him high in my arms as he left us,” Mary shared. “I am forever heartbroken. Thanks to all of you for many prayers over the years. He had been ‘FLOXED,’ it took his health over the last 6 years and 2 months. Rest with God, my Love.” 

According to Regenerative Medicine LA, flexing means the body has suffered from mitochondrial damage and oxidative stress due to an adverse effect from a fluoroquinolone antibiotic. “The term flowed in many can feel like a bomb going off in their body with new symptoms appearing daily for the first 90 days,” the website reads. It was also noted that being flowed can be permanent as stated on black box warnings. 

TMZ also reports that Bobby Caldwell hadn’t been able to walk for about five years as he was coping with painful rounds of neuropathy as well as a torn tendon in his ankle. Caldwell’s team disclosed that he had a bad reaction to a prescribed antibiotic in 2017, which could have been the cause of the flexing. The bad reaction also caused his Achilles tendon to rupture. 

Bobby Caldwell’s Music Career Through the Years

Bobby Caldwell dropped What You Won’t Do For Love in 1979. The song reached the top 10 on Billboard quickly. The song made Caldwell’s self-titled debut album go double platinum of well.

Caldwell continued his career in music by writing songs for various artists, including Neil Diamond, Bon Scaggs, and Roberta Flack. He also wrote The Next Time I Fall for Amy Grant and Peter Cetera. It became a #1 hit in 1986. 

During a 2019 interview with Richmond Magazine, Bobby Caldwell spoke about how he went from working in the R&B genre to writing songs for other genres. “It’s always a work in progress, man. It never stops. That’s how I’ve approached my career. I was R&B first. The No. 1 influence for me was Earth, Wind & Fire. But in the household I grew up in, it was Ella Fitzgerald and Frank Sinatra. I was bludgeoned with those songs my entire youth. It made an impression.”

Also speaking about being close friends with music icon Bob Marley, Caldwell said his mother, who was a real estate broker in Florida, sold Marley a home. “We hung out a lot – mostly things centered around music. I was already a fan.”

He went on to recall making the 1980s reggae-influenced single Jamaica with Marley. “He was the catalyst for that song. I don’t know if I really got it right. Through knowing Bob, I had a feeling that I actually had been there when, indeed, I hadn’t. I still never have.”