The Rubberband Man

Album: Spinning Gold (1976)
Charted: 16 2
  • This is about a guy who makes incredible sounds with a rubber band stretched between his toes. The rubber band sound is simulated in the bassline. The bass was played by Bob Babbitt, who played on many Motown tracks. He ran the instrument through a device he called a "funk box" to get the unusual sound.
  • The Spinners' producer, Thom Bell, wrote this song for his son with help from his songwriting partner Linda Creed. Bell wrote theme songs for all of his children, although this is the only one that was ever recorded. At first, it was called "The Fat Man," since his son Mark was rather large, and that's what his schoolmates called him. Bell wanted to change the perception of this nickname, so he wrote a song about a big man who can really move. He's the guy everyone waits for at the party, since when he arrives, it can really get going. Said Bell, "It was written for big people who were hip, to change the whole idea of a person being large being sloppy, slow."
  • This song was recorded at Sigma Sound Studios in June 1976. Sigma was the hub of the Philadelphia Sound; it was where Patti Labelle, The O'Jays and The Stylistics recorded. Musicians on this track included Tony Bell and Bobby Eli on guitar, Andrew Smith on drums, Larry Washington on percussion and Thom Bell on keyboards.
  • The album version runs 7:22, with the radio edit cut down to 3:30. Both versions have a cold ending.
  • Philippé Wynne sang lead on this track. He joined the group when they signed with Atlantic Records in 1972, and was with them until 1977.
  • The Spinners had a whole dance routine to go with this song, which was choreographed by their producer, Thom Bell. He also ordered some very large rubber bands to go with the act, which would show up about three minutes into their performance. These outlandish rubber bands made an interesting visual, as the group members and backup singers would find different ways to stretch them to the music.
  • In 2004, this was used in commercials for OfficeMax. It introduced the "Rubberband Man" character, a funky young guy with a huge afro who pushes a cart around the office anticipating all the office supply needs of the staff.
  • The song enjoyed a surge in popularity in 2018 as a result of its use in the superhero movie Avengers: Infinity War.
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Comments: 17

  • Brian from La Mesa, CaI never knew how appropriate "The Rubberband Man" was to John Candy's character in Stripes until I paid attention to the words of the song.
  • Barry from Sauquoit, NyOn September 11th 1976, the Spinners performed "Rubberband Man" on the ABC-TV program 'American Bandstand'...
    One week earlier it entered Billboard's Hot Top 100 chart at position #84; and on November 28th, 1976 it peaked at #2 {for 3 weeks} and spent 21 weeks on the Top 100...
    And on October 17th, 1976 it reached #1 {for 1 week} on Billboard's R&B singles chart...
    Between 1961 and 1995 the Detroit quintet had twenty-nine records on the Top 100; six made the Top 10 with two reaching #2, their other #2 record was "Working My Way Back to You/Forgive Me, Girl" for 2 weeks in 1980...
    The three weeks it was at #2 on the Top 100; the #1 record for those 3 weeks was "Tonight's the Night (Gonna Be Alright)" by Rod Stewart...
    Lead singer Philippé Wynne passed away on July 14th, 1984 at the young age 43...
    May he R.I.P.
  • Don from Sevierville, TnThe Swiss duo, Yello (who also sang "Oh Yeah", which appeared in Ferris Bueller's Day Off and The Secret of My Success) recorded a different song also titled "Rubberbandman", released in the summer of 1991. It's not too well known in the USA, but I saw the video on MTV Europe when I was living in Germany.
  • Barry from Sauquoit, NyStayed at #2 for three weeks. The Spinners charted three times with combination records, they were: 'Working My Way Back to You/Forgive Me, Girl' {Peaked at #2}, 'Cupid/I've Been loving You For A Long Time {Peaked at #4}, and 'Yesterdat Once More/No'ing Reminds the Same {Peaked at #52}
  • Paul from Kennewick, WaYeah,it was "Stripes" which featured RBM-great scene . The girls were pretty cute too!
  • Leah from Brooklyn, NyYou can hear the Spinners and see Eddie Steeples, who came to personify The Rubberband Man in the delightful Office Max commercials, here:
  • Leah from Brooklyn, NyActor Eddie Steeples played The Rubberband Man in the Office Max Commercials. Steeples went on to a long-running gig as character "Crab Man" (Darnell Turner) in the TV comedy series MY NAME IS EARL.
  • Mark from Los Angeles, CaI believe it was Linda Creed who wrote this song.
  • Gatle from Evergreen, IlWhich movie had the tune in it? Was it "Stripes"?
  • Gordon from Ft. Lauderdale, FlThe best tune the Spinners did was "Could It Be I'm Falling in Love"; one of its writers, I believe, is now a high school principal in SW Pennsylvania.
    Who where The Spinners anyway? Was one of the members John Livingston? If so, he was currently going through some ill-health as of 2004-2005.
  • Jon from Oakridge, OrI'm a fan of the office max commercials; I like the Rubberband Man. Funny.
  • Dc from Kansas City, MoGreat song. I'm gonna have to sync it to some film clips someday, and I'd still like a dvd of all those "Rubberband Man" commercials.
  • Robert from Austin, TxI need a copy of his song, anyone know where I can download an MP3 of it without registering.'
    I want to cover this song in my band.
  • Adam from Brooklyn, NyI once heard that "Rubberband Man" was written for/about Bootsy Collins. Bootsy had his Rubber Band, after all...
  • Mike from Cincinnati, is true, my girlfriend in HS was Kent Tukulve's niece. He pitched for the Reds and the Pirates, maybe even the Phillies...anyhoo, he was indeed the ruberband man and whe was indeed the rubberband woman. :(

  • Randy from Brainerd, MnThe Rubberband Man is indeed from OfficeMax. See:
  • Shell from Riverdale, GaIn the mid- and late '70s the Pittsburgh Pirates had a tall skinny righthanded relief pitcher named Kent Tekulve. He was given the nickname "Rubberband Man" because of his unorthodox sidearm delivery (he wasn't far from throwing underhanded) and a few bars of the song were played when he came into a game. I may be off on this but I think the Pirates and their "We Are Family" World Series Championship season in '79 started the "theme song for each player" bit that we are bombarded with at some major league parks.
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