Dwight "Spyder" Turner was born in West Virginia, but grew up in the shadow of Motown in Detroit. A natural showman, he became a polished performer at an early age, forming a doo-wop group called the Nonchalants and individually entering talent shows in Detroit and beyond. He won a talent show at the Apollo Theatre at age 16.
Two years later, a demo tape he recorded landed him a contract with MGM Records. The recording, a unique cover of "Stand By Me," featuring Turner's impersonations of Smokey Robinson, David Ruffin, Jackie Wilson and others singing the Ben E. King classic, took Pop and Soul Radio by storm 1967 and started a professional career for Turner that continued for a half century. He followed the smash with "I Can't Make It Anymore," which had less success than its predecessor, but nonetheless charted around the world.
As the 70s arose, Turner focused less on recording, but was a tireless touring artist. He also began working with songwriting legend Norman Whitfield, penning Rose Royce's "Do Your Dance," and also appearing or performing in a number of movies, including Motown's The Last Dragon, Agent Secret 00 Soul and Street Wars.
For much of the 90s, Turner worked as a vocal performer with legendary Detroit bandleader Johnny Trudell's band, but then went on and assembled his own crackerjack band of Detroit musicians, continuing to tour well into the 21st Century. His show was a crowd favorite for his performance of past hits as well as more impersonations of classic soul stars.
By Chris Rizik