Best known for his 1978 hit “What You Won’t Do for Love,” the late R&B and soul singer Bobby Caldwell, who died on March 14, 2023, at 71, maintained a lifelong following of his music.
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Over the decades, Caldwell’s songs have been covered and sampled by dozens of artists within hip-hop and R&B. Boyz II Men, Dionne Warwick, Michael Bolton, and Natalie Cole are just a handful of the artists who covered “What You Won’t Do for Love” over the years.
In 1996, Tupac Shakur sampled Caldwell’s hit on the song “Heaven Ain’t Hard 2 Find”; it appeared again on the posthumous 2Pac release “Do For Love” in 1998. Other artists within hip-hop who sampled Caldwell’s songs throughout the years were the late The Notorious B.I.G. (“Sky’s the Limit”) Common (“The Light”), Kendrick Lamar (“R.O.T.C.”), and Lil Nas X (“Carry On”), among many others.
[RELATED: “What You Won’t Do for Love” Singer Bobby Caldwell Dies at 71 ]
Throughout his career, Caldwell released more than a dozen albums from his eponymous 1978 debut through the Cat in The Hat in 1980 and Carry On in ’82, and on through his final collection of songs on Cool Uncle in 2015.
Within the 1980s, Caldwell was also writing songs for other artists, including Natalie Cole, Neil Diamond, Amy Grant, Boz Scaggs, and Al Jarreau.
Here’s a look at five of these songs Caldwell wrote.
1. “Never Loved Before,” Roberta Flack (1982)
Written Bobby Caldwell and Henry Marx
Released May 1, 1982, Roberta Flack’s I’m the One boasted a collection of soulful ballads penned by Burt Bacharach and Carole Bayer Sager (“Making Love”) and Peabo Bryson (“Ordinary Man”), along with “Never Loved Before,” co-written by Bobby Caldwell.
I have never loved before
I never knew the meaning
Till I saw your face
Now I can be sure
And I guess it’s safe to say
That I’ve never loved before
Darling not until today
Read our 2022 interview with Roberta Flack, HERE.
2. “The Next Time I Fall,” Peter Cetera with Amy Grant (1986)
Written Bobby Caldwell and Paul Gordon
Caldwell originally wrote “The Next Time I Fall” with his songwriting partner Paul Gordon for the band Chicago, and specifically for Peter Cetera’s voice. Unaware that Cetera had left the group, the song was instead used on his 1986 solo album, Solitude/Solitaire.
Sung as a duet, Cetera called on a then relatively unknown Christian singer, Amy Grant, to provide just the right feminine touch to the uplifting ballad. “I was looking for somebody who wasn’t that logical a choice,” said Cetera on choosing Grant. “Someone at my record company suggested Amy Grant.”
The song hit No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 and the Adult Contemporary chart and was nominated for a Grammy for Best Pop Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocals.
Love like a road that never ends
How it leads me back again
I’ll never understand
Darling I put my heart up on a shelf
‘Til the moment was right and I tell myself
3. “Angel,” Neil Diamond
Written by Bobby Caldwell and Steve Kipner
On his 17th album, Neil Diamond co-wrote a majority of the tracks with the likes of Burt Bacharach, Stevie Wonder, and Bryan Adams. For the more uptempo track “Angel,” Diamond left it in the hands of Caldwell, who co-penned it with Steve Kipner. Caldwell also co-wrote the closing track on the album, “Love Doesn’t Live Here Anymore,” with William Meyers.
I will say what’s on my mind
But the words are oh so hard to find
When I try to speak
It comes out like nervous chatter
Then my knees get weak
And I can’t stop shaking
4. “Fallin'” Glenn Medeiros (1988)
Written by Bobby Caldwell and Michael Bolton
In 1988, Hawaiian singer Glenn Medeiros’ second album, Not Me, opened up with the perfect pop ballad, “Fallin’,” written by Caldwell and Michael Bolton.
Known for his hits “She Ain’t Worth It,” and “Nothing’s Gonna Change My Love for You,” Medeiros continued making music in Hawaii, following the peak in his career in the 1980s and ’90s, releasing With Aloha in 2005, and later devoted himself to education. A former school principal, today Medeiros is the president and CEO of Saint Louis School in Honolulu, Hawaii.
Forever and always, that’s the promise she made
Only words that will soon fade away
And I believed her but never again
That’s what I said
Last thing I needed was to fall for another
But I got this feelin’ you can make me forget
One night can leave you broken hearted
Too late now; I’ve already started
5. “Heart of Mine,” Boz Scaggs (1988)
Written by Bobby Caldwell, Boz Scaggs, Dennis Matkosky, Jason Scheff
Nearly a decade after releasing Middle Man, when Boz Scaggs returned in the 1980s, he veered into the adult contemporary world of music with a more R&B and pop album, Other Roads, along with the single “Heart of Mine.”
The song peaked at No. 3 on the Adult Contemporary chart and was produced by Stewart Levine, who also produced the 1982 Joe Cocker and Jennifer Warnes’ An Officer and a Gentleman hit, “Up Where We Belong” and Simply Red’s No. 1 hit “If You Don’t Know Me by Now.”
One day you may find true love that will last forever and ever
‘Till then you’ll spend a lifetime wishing one together
You never thought she’d say goodbye
And you’ll never understand the reasons why
Photo: Ethan Miller/BET/Getty Images for BET