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Legends of Music: Switch & DeBarge

  • Broadcast in Health



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Switch was an R&B/funk band that found fame recording for the Gordy label in the late 1970s releasing hit songs such as "There'll Never Be", "I Call Your Name" and "The Best Beat in Town" and influenced bands such as DeBarge, which featured members Bobby and Tommy's siblings. Featuring brothers Bobby and Tommy DeBarge and Greg Williams, all of whom hailed from Grand Rapids, Michigan along with Akron, Ohio natives Phillip Ingram (brother of James Ingram), Eddie Fluellen and Jody Sims. The group got the attention of Jermaine Jackson, former member of The Jackson 5, who heard their demo tape and within days the group was promply signed to the Motown Records subsidiary label, Gordy. There, they recorded and released their self titled debut album in 1978. The album featured their first Top 10 R&B hit single entitled "There'll Never Be". Depending on whom was singing lead on the songs, their songs were written by Williams, Ingram and Bobby DeBarge and often in collaboration with Jermaine Jackson, who continued to sponsor the band throughout their five years on the label. Though they never did manage to cross over into the pop singles chart, they were a consistent presence on the R&B charts through the late 1970s with albums such as Switch II from 1979 (their second release), This Is My Dream and Reaching For Tomorrow in 1980. Their final release on Gordy was Switch V which was released in 1981. Other than "There'll Never Be", songs such as "I Call Your Name" and "Best Beat in Town" also became hits for the group. Shortly after the DeBarge brothers left to mentor the group DeBarge with their siblings, and lead singer Philip Ingram left to pursue a solo career, new musicians were added in the personage. Former lead singer Bobby DeBarge died of AIDS-related complications in his home in Grand Rapids, Michigan on August 16, 1995 at age 39.