From a press release:
Nick Caldwell, one of the founding members of the legendary R&B group The Whispers who are best known for their #1 R&B hits “Rock Steady” (1987) and “And The Beat Goes On” (1980), has died as a result of heart failure. He was 71.
“The Kingdom Records Family extends our heartfelt condolences to The Whispers and the family of Nicholas Caldwell in his passing,” says Joan Sullivan, CEO/President of Kingdom Records – the last recording home for The Whispers. “We have so many fond memories of him. It was a great opportunity and experience working with The Whispers on their last project. One of the most memorable parts of working on the project was getting to know Nick and his creativity, warmth, and humbleness. For us, it was truly a genuine experience.”
Mr. Caldwell was born April 5, 1944 in Loma Linda, CA. His first industry gig was working with Sly Stone who was a San Francisco area disc jockey prior to launching his band Sly & the Family Stone. Later on, he formed The Whispers with his high school buddies – twin brothers Walter & Wallace “Scotty” Scott. They added Marcus Hutson and Gordy Harmon (replaced by Leaveil Degree in 1973) and they initially patterned the group after The Four Freshmen pop group but eventually developed an R&B style.
The group first recorded “It Only Hurts For A Little While” for Dore Records in 1964 but didn’t score their first Top 20 hit until “The Time Will Come” in 1969. Although, they enjoyed Top Ten hits such as “(Let’s Go) All The Way” and “Make It With You” in the 1970s they climbed to a higher level of success in the 1980s when they delivered a string of Top 5 R&B smashes such as “It’s A Love Thing,” “Keep On Lovin’ Me” and “In The Mood.” The 1980 hit “And The Beat Goes On” spent five weeks at #1 on Billboard’s R&B singles chart. Their signature tune “Rock Steady” spent one week at #1 on the R&B singles chart and was the group’s highest charting Pop hit where it rose to #7 in 1987.
A gifted songwriter, Caldwell wrote the group’s 1980 hit “Lady” that reached #3 on the R&B chart and the Quiet Storm radio favorite, “Say Yes.” A fancy dancer in his youth, he was also responsible for the group’s slick choreography.
The group’s last recording, Thankful, was an inspirational gospel/soul album that peaked at #3 on Billboard’s Top Gospel Albums sales chart and #25 on its R&B Albums sales chart.
Aside from writing songs, Caldwell also produced artists such as dance siren Carrie Lucas. “Nick had a wonderful spirit and always offered encouraging words,” Sullivan adds. “His character was impeccable and he was always forthright and honest. Most people may not know that in addition to being a great singer and dancer, Nick was a wonderful songwriter. We are truly saddened by this news. Nick will be greatly missed. His memory and legacy will live on in the music of The Whispers and the love of his family, friends and fans.”
Funeral arrangements are pending.