Disco Records at DiscoMusic.com

Bobby DeBarge

Written by Bernard Lopez

(19?? - Aug 16, 1995)

Switch - Bobby DeBarge Bobby DeBarge (19?? - Aug 16, 1995)
Member of Switch and later DeBarge. Career cut short by conviction for cocaine trafficking. Bobby DeBarge died of AIDS. His brother Chico stated in an interview a few years ago that he believes that Bobby contracted the disease while in prison. He left behind two children.

The photos of Bobby DeBarge below submitted by Renee Russell.


Your Comments

Carlos |

its amazing to read all these stories about Bobby,people who spent time int eh studio,people who hang out with him...It seems as if Bobby coul have been the next stevie Wonder but rugs got in teh way.
I dont know what it is about LA Calif but a lot of people get tehre for their reams come true it seems to happen at first but many of them end up selfestroye. Bobby,MJ,Whitney, and I jut pray everyay for El to put it together. Everyday I look for news an hope to not find tragic news. I really could not handle it

Howard Waynesboro |

I left Calif. 1990 and didn't know he had past away we lost contact and that's another story but the yrs. in Calif. he was one of my best friends......I even remember the last time we hung out. It was at the Brown Derby Bar on Hollywood and Vine. I really think Bobby use to come by and see Windy and I and stay afew days to get away from the rat race of what people call the fast lane. And those yrs. ago im nolonger with her..Windy Summers, by the way that's how I had met Bobby. At the time Windys son LaRon had co-starred in a movie playing the role of majic-a break dancer with Larenzo Lamas and he had done 13 commercials. Now I live the peaceful live in Montana and I wish my ole friend were still alive to see and share it with me ......I truly believe he would've loved the person im with now as much as when with Windy...and my surrounding now would have inspired him to write even more. I will always miss he and of the times we kicked it.........peace be with you. Your ole pa Howard Waynesbore ..the other Howard from Akron /Hudson

Jaye Ford |

I loved Bobby DeBarge and the entire DeBarge family so much that it seems as though we know each other, and we've never met. It is so heartbreaking what happened to Bobby DeBarge. His life should not have gone down the way it did but such is life. I am a huge fan of El DeBarge and love him even now. When I saw the Unsung episode about the DeBarge family I was absolutely shaken to my core and was saddened by what they endured as chiildren. No wonder most of them were addicted to drugs and their careers were destroyed! I want to take all of them and just wrap them in my arms and pray. Since I can't do that I will continue to pray for them from a distance. God bless El, James, Bunny and the entire DeBarge family. And may Bobby forever rest in peace.


5 years ago, i wrote a script on the life of DEBARGE, telling their story of the psychological abuse that each of them had to go through [including, the universally perceived villain-- the father]. my script has won NUMEROUS awards, twice as the first place winner and in other placement many, many times in other film contests. yet i have been unable to interest monied people int his project even though they throw big bucks after other screenplays. the only reason that i can come up with for thei lack of interest in a DEBARGE story is that, to them, films about black people are usually met with reservation. i will not call it actual racism because it has more to do with their "bottom line" and their fears that films about black people appeal only to other black people. which is NOT true, as we all know. the same monied film folk were shocked beyond belief at the inordinate success of the Best Man sequel because it appealed to EVERYONE and not to just black folk. A DEBARGE story would prove interesting to (1) all DEBARGE fans (2) fans of all genres of MUSIC (3) people interested in seeing what could happen in the field of entertainment (4) how home life deeply affects a person psyche (5) how incorrect were numerous stories that we might have heard about DEBARGE throughout the years [for example, for many years DEBARGE fans believed that DEBARGE were of hispanic origin.], i believe that theirs is a story that should be told on film as either a big screen movie or as a LIFETIME miniseries. but it is a story that must be told. just reading all of these above comments led me to write this. i hope some of you agree with me. i will always love all of the members of DEBARGE for they were fantastically talented individuals and, mostly, they all surely paid their dues.

Gerald "gmoney" Hairston |

Sitting here right now on the website reading about the love that Bobby D. had and still have as i was watching tv 1 unsung on the debarge family. I have to day and very much agree that switch as well as the debarge group was, is & , will always be a favorite in my lifetime. I al ed o didn't know that Bobby had passed let alone from the dreaded disease called AIDS which also took the lives of 2 family members and 2 friends. Its so sad how the world has evolved from the good times when i was a kid watching and listening to ur parents & their friends having a good, fun &, enjoyable time with great music playing in the background like Marvin Gaye, Smokey Robinson & The Miracles, etc. Then when i got into my teens & 20's life took a change that had me reminiscing on the fun times that continued on as a young man in the 80's listening to switch (which then was my favorite group), Sos band, GQ &, so many others that left u feeling good inside. Wow sometimes even as a man im not ashamed to say that i tear up listening to (and im proud to say) oldskool r&b love ballads from the 70's & 80's. Im 53yrs. old today and still understand music from then that spoke about love from the heart which made us as human being know that their is a GOD who endowed us with his great power to love and be loved. Thank u Bobby D as well as others who has left a legacy of letting people know that the love inside each of us is there to be shared with others. GOD BLESS U in the heavenly home where u r truly getting rest with no more hurts & pains partying with real love & may GOD watch over the family as well until we as believers meet one day. 1 love & peace eternal G

Patricia |

From what I've read,Bobby DeBarge contracted aids from a contaminated needle.He was a man who was very much in love with his wife and family and yes,he was an extroadinary singer and is sorely missed.God bless him and his family.

fede |

I learned about bobby too late,its sad we have very few material from him but I believe God purpose for Bobby was start teh path for El to come.If you look at the storyline its clear Bobby had to be the one to start the house,the base of the building cause El is too fragile for that.So he did. I love the song by Bobby"I got you babe" from the Bad boys album.His songwriting composing is a gift from heaven no doubt.
I read somewhere that Berry Gordy said once that the most talented artist he had ever seen was Bobby Debarge,dont know if anybody can confirm this

Beverly |

I am really sad and mad at the world that Bobby is gone but I am happy that I can listen to him on youtube. I just ordered the Best Of Switch and cant wait to get it.. Also El Debarge's new SecondChance CD is DA BOMB. I used to have all of Debarge's Music on vinyl and some CD's from the 80's and for some reason they have disappeared. When I asked my kids about them of course they all pointed their fingers to each other. So I am in the process of replacing everything again. It's a shame that records stores don't carry any of their Greatest Hits CD's. That was very dispointing when I went all over looking the Debarge Music. Of course I found Christina and Chico and that's all. Very disturbing. Ever since I saw El on BET Awards, I have been in a constant frenzy having to listen to something Debarge everyday. Mostly it's Bobby I love listening to him because he has the AMAZINGLY PERFECT voice. El is right behing him and I know every word to every song on EL's new CD. I wish that MOTOWN would put the SWITCH albums back into print. I would love to have all the individual records again..Also would love to see a movie about the DeBarges and hope that El do a remake of some of Bobbys song. I would love a remake of I call your name by SWITCH. Also can't wait for El to headline his own concert and then it will be like old times when I used to go to DeBarge's concerts yaaayy!!

Felecia |

I have just come to realize that Switch was an entirely different group from DeBarge. As I listened to those songs, I assumed that was El DeBarge not Bobby DeBarge. Ironically, the groups are two in the same. Those songs from both groups brings back memories of when I was a child in Birmingham. Those guys were talented ( along with their sister). Surprise to know that one of the original members of Switch is James Ingrams' brother. Hate to hear about Bobby. Truly an American talent that died with little to no fan fare. The music of both Switch and DeBarge still warms my heart. Bad to know these groups did not get the notority they deserved. They were much more talented that most to these modern day groups and singers. Felecia of Birmingham

bluboi |

RIP Bobby, man you were the greatest. August 16, 1995

Rose James |

when did ernestine die? she was the twin sister of etterlene debarge, mother of the singing group

jon |

wow peaches! it's so great hearing from you ;) i wonder what it was like, having all those older brothers and sisters? I'm also the youngest...of two, and a gemini ;)

Anyway, I'm 26, and my parents used to play debarge all the time when i was little.

It wasn't until recently actually, that i rediscovered your family's music via unsung.

When i heard the story of switch and debarge, i was so impressed......i bought all the albums lol

and they were great

I wonder why el and bobby never did a duet? that would've been nice...

anyway, you guys take care....ps-where can i find bobby's final album, i don't see it on amazon anywhere

Darlene Wingfield |

As many others, I too was a really big fan of Switch. Bobby seemed to be everyone's favorite. His voice would make your heart melt. I had heard of he and his brother being arrested, but heard nothing of his death! What a terrible loss. Kevin Archie was at one time our Musician at Paradise Missionary Baptist Church in Sacramento. The new song struck me as I knew it was a Debarge as they have very distinctive voices and I thought it was the older brother (all I could think of was the song All this Love) until they said it was James. I was checking on James because he and Kevin Archie have a new song out, and decided to check on the whole family. I am truly sorry for your loss and will keep the family in prayer. God Bless you all !

James, gotta tell you, wonderful job on the new song!!

Tatiana LaTour |

Wow. I have never heard that before. I hope his children are blessed and well. You only ever hear about his two sons. His story is heartbreaking. Rarely do people survive such severe physical and emotional abuse and become healthy functioning adults. His drug abuse made so much sense. Bless his family and bless his inspirational soul!

s.townsend |


Iheartbobby |

I wish TVone would do a separate story on Switch, they are unsung if you ask me. It seems like from the beginning they were not given the exposure they deserved. Barry Gordy waiting album after album (Which sold millions)before allowing the group to go on tour which is where most artist make the bulk of their money. I love El but he was given a chance to become a superstar. Unfortunately that didnt really happen. Its a shame that Bobby was not given the chance mainly because of his own vices but in addition I believe Motown threw him away and thats when he really fell off the map. I feel like Switch could've been great and Bobby alone would have been great. El is a great lead singer and performer but I feel Bobby had what it took to be a great solo star. It breaks my heart that the world will never know. However on the flip side, I have become somewhat obsessed with getting to know this family and particularly Bobby, I believe contrary to what we may think the most important thing to Bobby was not to be a star but to be happy and with his family living harmoniously. He had stardom and he walked away from it. He left Switch on his own free will, maybe he regretted it later, I'll never know.


This is a tragic story of a family destroyed and children forever damaged by domestic violence and sexual abuse. All young parents should read the story of Debarge, and hopefully learn that child abuse and exposing children to domestic violence damages children and leaves lif-long emotional scars. This is the message the mother of the Debarge children should be preaching.





Aletha Chandler |

Hi my name is Aletha Chandler. i am orginally from the MD area. I had read that an old friend named Kathy Preston was looking for me when i happened to google my name. Well here i am, so if you still have communications with her, please contact me via this venue. Thanks.

Iheartbobby |

Wow, I am a 29 year old just discovering Bobby Debarge. Since I was a kid I always like El Debarge. And get this, I did not know that Debarge was a group of siblings I thought Debarge was one person... EL. Anyway like I said I really liked El and the tone of voice but after watching Bobby on Youtube I have fallen fallen fallen in love with Bobby Debarge and at the same time very sadden to read about his death and how he died. My heart goes out to him. Bobby was an amazing performer I listen to him when I wake up every morning and when I go to bed at night. People my age would probably favor El but after seeing Bobby perform oh my God he is the most mesmorizing performers I have witness in all my adult years.

paulette |

i would like to say i have much love for the whole debarge family.everything they went throught our heavenly father will always be with you even threw the worst of times.mamma debarge you have truly been bless with the new generation of debarges now surfacing i cannot wait but patience is truly worth it may god bless you as always.

Tatiana LaTour |

Bobby DeBarge. I have no coherent words for the inspiration I receive daily from the sweet soul of Mr. Bobby DeBarge. I have to hear him sing every single day. He is like something beautiful in nature that reminds us of God's presence. I write songs with my husband and Bobby is just my dearest inspiration. His lyrics were uncomplicated and tender and his melodies and arrangements were genius. I am writing a tribute song for him right now and it is the hardest song I have ever written because I just don't know when to stop. I have so much admiration to express. It is very eery sometimes because my husband resembles him so much. We just had a record store owner take our picture with the Switch album cover because he could not believe the resemblance. I can't complain there! I dream someday of meeting the DeBarge family and hearing their stories. They are all such magical and gifted folks. But dear Bobby. He was like a mythological creature. So beautiful, rare, and amazing. Bobby sang and the chills came. Burned hot and cold, my soul was sold. Heaven bless your dear soul Bobby DeBarge. You are LOVE!
Love always,

Nina |

Just saw BET's Unsung. Incredible story! They were my favorite group back in the day! I never knew how much suffering they all endured! I am so sorry. I looooved them all! God Bless!

Angie |

First I want to say God be with you and continue to Bless your family. I never knew all this stuff about the DeBarge family, I wish someone would of step in to help this talent family before it came to this. Thank God we have there everlasting music to look back on. I think they should release the last album that Bobby made. Bobby Debarge It's Not Over. The world needs that and so those his family.

Lady D. Powers |

They'll never be, be, be, nah, nah, nah, nah, nah, nah - another like you Mr. Bobby L. DeBarge.

Love Deborah

Angel |

Wow, that unsung special was overwhelming for me, I cried. All that they'd been through and one would never know by watching them perform. Debarge were/are songwriters, singers and musicians. They were/are a triple threat. I'm sorry, but todays performers are helped with computers and no one plays instruments anymore, no one comes close to Debarge, they are TRUE talent. When I listen to them, I go someplace beautiful. Our childhoods can come back to haunt us with a vengeance. God has a way of throwing life lines, so stay strong Debarge, lean on each other. I hope the next Debarge unsung will contain a fierce come-back!!!!


After seeing the special Unsung, my heart and prayers go out to the DeBarge family. Mama Debarge and Bunny may god keep giving you both the help and strength to carry on........listening to some Debarge's music now!

Gigi |

May God bless the entire DeBarge family. After seeing a special on Unsung, a stinging pain entered my heart at the news of Bobby's passing and El's brushes with the law. God put all of us on this earth for a reason. Bobby, as well as the other siblings and their mother were put here to bring joy into the hearts and lives of others through song. Bobby completed his mission and was taken up where he can look over the rest that were left behind. May he guide his family through the storms with his position as "an angel."

wanda |

If i feel like i want to cry or just have a magical emotional "back in the day' moment,all i have to do is listen to bobby debarge. My god what a voice!! His voice was beyond sweet, high pitched, and magical. It was totally Unique. Only el debarge can come close. Bobby lives in my heart. Thank u God for giving us such a gift. I cry every time i hear "i call your name". I pretend he's singing about me!! Switch and Debarge 4 ever and ever!!! I know bobby is in heaven teaching the angels to hit those incredible high notes.

Cynthia |

Wow! I'm speechless....I'm crying cause of all the wonderful stories told about Bobby. It's amazing what an angelical voice can do to someone. My story is very similar, but except it happened on Vandenberg AFB in Lompoc, CA. Back in 1980 when I was 11 yrs old, my friends and I would hang out at the Youth Center and listen to the jukebox and order fries or pizza. I don't know who was putting the songs in this jukebox, but it sure had the best music of that day. Both Rock and Soul....thank God cause I love it all to this day. And we would play video games (ie. Tempest, Ms. Pacman, Galaxy, and this one cheesy black/white double car racing game.) Well, one day I finally got the nerve to ask Jeff Stewart to go against me on the racing game. And let me tell you Jeff was 12 yrs old and was my first crush and I was smitten just to be in his presents. Lucky for me, I was friends with his younger sister Shirley who later joined me and another friend Sherry in a talent contest dancing to Shalamar's "Second Time Around." Well, while we were racing against eachother on the racecar game "Love Over & Over Again" began to play and it couldn't have come at a better time. I can't tell you how innocent and special that one moment was for me. To be next to my favorite guy on the whole base and listen to this song and feel so special for that moment. It was almost more than I could bare. I wanated to reach out and give him a big kiss. He never noticed me, but I sure did of him. I was lucky he gave me a picture of him in his Pirates baseball uniform. I sure became a fan from that moment. Not only of Jeff, but of Switch. Did I forget to tell you we were lucky to also have "I Call Your Name" on side B....me and my friends always made sure to pick Switch. I miss the love and sincerety you get with these songs. I Thank God I grew up when I did. Todays music has no heart or compassion. Where is the love? Thank God we have these songs to hang on to for dear life. I know you're in Heaven, Bobby! God Bless you and everyone who's ever been affected by your loving voice. I'll NEVER forget you, Sweetie!! Thank You and love you for the special memory you gave me.

lene |

Hello I just watched the Unsung special about the DeBarge Family. I miss Bobby so much. It just broke my heart to hear of all the pain he was trying to deal with in his life and then died tragically from AIDS. I wished that he could have know how much he was loved!!!! Pray for El... And that he can over come his pain and heal. Does anyone know how we can write to El, I've been looking on the internet but haven't found him anything yet.

I really want El to have more joy and happiness in his life. If we can pray to God to help him deal with what is causing his emotional pain then he will stop using drugs.


T.J. |

Can someone please make a movie about the DeBarge family already? I think it would be a great opportunity for some Producer/Director.
Chris Brown may be able to play "Chico". I think it may just put "Light-Skinned" and "Good-Hair" brothers back on the map.

Regina Gilbert |

TV One's UnSung will explain everything about the entired DeBarge family.

80s baby |

The older I get the more I appreciate good music. I'm 28 and grew up on the DeBarge's. I must say though that I am so blowed away by Bobby's amazing falsetto, cant nobody touch it, even El and he is one heck of a singer too! I cant explain how I feel right now because I have been reflecting lately and Switch and DeBarge has been in constant rotation where ever I am. His voice, the instrumentation backing the song just does it for me. He has been gone for 13 years but he is still missing because NO ONE can sing it like Bobby could! I cant stop listening to Love Over and Over Again. He kills it on that song to me!

Much love to the DeBarge family...prayers up for El and RIP BOBBY!!!

JD |

Bobby DeBarge ... the voice of an Angel. RIP Brother , we lov ya!

SanJoseCAGurl |

RIP Bobby Debarge.....we all loved your incredible voice. I watched Unsung on BET and the story of you and you siblings lives made me want to cry.

Pumpkin |

I first heard of Switch in 1978 when I was in the 8th grade. Right then and there, I knew I was going to marry Bobby DeBarge. Yes, he was my first love. I found out in 2007 that he died and I was devastated. It was like losing a loved one, it hurt so much. My sister had "I Call Your Name" on 8 track and I still can hear the point in the song when the track changed. He had such a beautiful voice. I pray God's blessing on the the entire DeBarge family. I watched "Unsung" last night on TVOne and it just brought back lots and of memories...

DiscoDiva80 |

I loved me some Switch!!! 1979 oh my, such memories! That's the year my daughter was born.
The entire DeBarge family was blessed with much talent - they sang their asses off. Bobby Debarge will be missed - 'cuz There'll Never Be a Better...

vyniljunkie |

WOW!! I am very surprised at all the reaction to Bobby. Not that he doesn't deserve all this acclaim, he does. It shows me that he had a lot of friends. I met Bobby and Chico when DEBARGE was in Miami performing. They stayed at the Airport Hilton, and visited Club MYSTIQUE every night while here. Bobby seemed so down to earth, Chico seemed pre-occupied by all the women They both surprised me with their knowledge of DISCO music. I am truly sorry he passed away. GOD BLESS.



Natasha j. 1993 |

Aw..... yea we will never for get you MR.BOBBY DABARGE!!!!


WE LOVE YOU 4EVER!!!!!!!!!!

Natasha j. 1993 |

Well sure ya might be thinking what would I know about bobby dabarge well grown up as a kid 2 a very young lady you learn from .People who is leaders and 2 me dabagre's family is my leaders if it wasn't for tommy and bobby I wouldn't learn how music is not just a something for fun.But something out of the heart and thats what I learn and also how u can come 2 a women or man without a come here hoe or b****.. But in a good way and because of them I can share my my music with the whole world!!!!Just like dabagre family did and I hope that one day I could do a song with the dabarge family .And also would like 2 say I don't give a damn what people say I will always love ,ya and I know deep that ya are the best and if ya don't know that.That just hurts my heart .......(Crying)!!!!But all I know it would be nice if ya would make a comeback that would make me feel so happy ....!!I pary that ya will but just they say never give up hope cause there's hope....!!!!!Bye take care live life ....!!!

Natasha j.1993


First, my heart continues to pray for the entire De Barge family. God has truly shinned on this family from up above. Bobby De Barge was and is in his Heavenly home a wonderful,blessed, Unique talented GIFT to his Loving family who were kind enough to share their gifted Angel with the world.

I was actually introduced to Switch by my ex-husband (RIP) who one day fought throuh the freezing Cold blizzard snow of Chicago to a record store in our neighborhood to purchas Switch alblum that featured "They'll never be" back in the early eighties.

We sat up late that night listening to Switch and I fell in love with their music on that cold snowy Chicago evening and I am still a fan to this date of 11/19/07!! I wonder how many people know that the ENTIRE and I do mean ENTIRE De Barge family are amazingly Blessed with unbelieveable TALENTS from up above Ordained into their Souls by Jesus himslf and planted into their lives by their mom Etherline De Barge who has a voice like an ANGEL! I am a dedicated fan of the entire De Barge family! I noticed a post on this site from the youngest sister of the De Barge family whose name is Carol. Carol has a twin brother who name is Daryll,AKA Younge De Barge. Carol and Daryll are also profoundly blessed by God.

Ms. Etherline De Barge was blessed by God with Ten Beautiful children. She has such a sweet spirit which is why the Lord blessed her womb with ten of the most talented people whose music still chart high on the music circut and airwaves.

Due to the recent arrest of El; I have read some rather distrubing comments posted on sites by people whom I am sure shared a part of making this family the world acclaimed ARTIST THEY ARE!! The Bible say's He WITHOUT SIN CAST the FIRST STONE! who can pick up a pebble? PRAY for EL; he is a human as we all are and we all have and still make mistakes. Thank God through his Son Jesus he thought enough of his world to share his gift " The De Barge family with his world! God Bless You De Barge Family and allwho read this post.

Mitchaleo |

Bobby's decision to sell drugs, and tragic outcome are testimonies to how the music business always has and still does rips off black musicians. Leaving many of them with few alternatives but to resort to a life a crime.

Tom |

I met Bobby, Bunny, Tommy, Randy, Chico and the rest of the DeBarge family - including their mother, their cousins Stanley Hood and Andre Abney - in Grand Rapids in 1974. For a short time, I played in a band with Bobbie (keyboard & vocals), Tommy (bass and vocals), Bunny (vocals), Andre Abney (drums), Michael Johnson (sax). I was the gutar player. We called the band Two and the Family (Michael and I were the only members of the band that weren't family members. Bobby soon left to play with Switch, but the band continued and included another cousin, Stanley Hood on sax. Later Tommy DeBarge and I played in a band that included a host of amazing musicians from East Lansing and Ann Arbor - including Jeanette McGruder who later joined George Clinton's Brides of Funkenststein. We opened a show in Flint for Barry White and the Love Unlimited Orchestra. I'll never forget the day I walked into the DeBarge home and found Bobby playing a Stevie Wonder tune on the piano while his mom and his cousin Andre took turns singing the choruses to each other. The whole family was insanely talented! And Bobby's writing and arranging was absolutely extraordinary.

e |

I loved Swtich, God blessed these guys with some great talent. Too bad there is not enough true R and B "bands" today that play their own music. Wish we could bring them back. God Be with the Debarge family. I will always be a fan! Thanks.

Lauren |

We all love and miss you Bobby.

Bobby was an extrodinary talent. There is no one like him and there will never be another. His brother El is the only one who comes close.

There has been much talk about how Bobby contracted the AIDS virus. All I know is that he did not contract it in prison, regardless of what is said. He found out he had the illness while he was undergoing routine medical tests prior to serving his prison sentence. Therefore he was already ill before he started serving his time.

Sadly upon his release, his health wasn't the best but he was able to complete his last solo album.
Bobby passed away in hospice before the CD was offically released to the public.

Rest in Peace our beloved Bobby. You will never be forgotten.

I will Love you Always...

Tella |

What do say about SWITCH!?!?!?!
Man, they were the end all to be all for me and my girls back in The Day! I'm grew up in Oakland and music and bands were HUGE.
One of my really good friends, Renard Gallo replaced Booby when he left because he sound just like him. Of course, the group was never the same because it wasn't how much the new guys "sounded" or "looked" like Bobby and Thomas, the family/group feeling that you get from people who grew together was gone.
You just can't replace or reproduce that type of sound.

When Bobby passed, it spread like wild fire around California. For us girls, it was like our first boyfriends died. Bobby was the first love for many of us girls in the late 70's and early 80's. He taught us about love, relationships, and how a man should treat a women.

When you wonder what's wrong (really what's right about) some women, blame it on Bobby DeBarge!

Brenda |

I am a native New Yorker. I listen to the group Switch all the time. I just wondered if Bobby Debardge was alive today would he stil be singing or be a big producer. He is greatly missed. He had a lot of talent people today wished they had. Even though it is a long time ago that he died his music will be always in my heart forever. He will never be forgotton.

Tony Quinn |

I was in high school when i first heard " I wanna be closer" and immediately I fell in love with the song and applied it to the girl I had a crush on at the time. Everytime I thought of her, that song came on in my head like a music video. I want to thank Switch and all the other old school artists for making REAL music. Not putting down today's music, but honestly, what do today's artist know about making music about love, something you can slow dance to. It's all about money, cars, bling,bling, bumping and grinding and in the closet and other crap. It has made me listen exclusively to my old school music and love it. I pity this generation that doesnt have EW&F, Switch, Cameo, Shalamar, Lakeside, Alex O'Neal, etc. to have music where you can listen to [ and understand ] the words, without the N-word, B-word, F-word and still enjoy it. Bobby DeBarge was/is one of the best singers in the world. I used to try to sing along and I could never figure how he could hit those high notes. Its amazing! That family is just blessed with beautiful voices. I bought every one of there albums [ even the ones that werent that great ] I was so hurt to find out Bobby died period and to find out it was from A.I.D.S. was equally saddening. I was hoping to hear his voice again. Someone should make a movie about his life. Switch was a great and under-rated group. The fact that they would switch instruments and play everything was fantastic! How many bands today can do that- how many bands can even really play? Most either use samples, machines, or lip-sync. Bobby's voice was iconic and he will always be remembered. And whenever I hear the songs he sang, they take me back to a better time. I will always be grateful for that. My heartfelt sympathy goes out to the entire DeBarge family. RIP Bobby,

elle |

Switch was my all time favorite group, and Bobby was my all time favorite singer. I was blessed to have visited the church the DeBarge family belonged to in Grand Rapids and heard several family members singing gospel as well as pop. Recently,I was playing my "Switch" album relaxing at home one evening, and my children who are all teenagers and their friends who were over came into the family room and loved the music. They asked me to play it over and over and it made my heart glad. Switch sang of love and joy, without the degrading lyrics we find today in rap and R&B. Bobby's beutiful voice touched a group of 17 and 18 year olds in 2007 just like it did for me in 1978. Thank you Bobby for sharing your talent with the world, it still lives on today.

ms iris |

rip.bobby miss you.



Warren |

Bobby DeBarge, Well let me start off by saying that he had one of the best falsetto's I've ever heard in my life. Listening to his voice still to this day reminds me of those good old times in the late 70's and early 80's when you go to a basement party and you know somebodies got to play a slow drag song by Switch. Me personally I would always look forward to 2 slow songs by Switch and they would be "I Call Your Name" and "Calling on All Girls". Both songs are from Switch II. My prayers go out to the entire DeBarge family, due to the fact the the lose of a family member as well as a great singer is a very hard pill to swallow. I know that he is up in heaven making sure that all of the notes are sung in the proper format. I was and still to this day a great fan of Bobby DeBarge. I have almost all of the songs he recorded with the group Switch and with his brothers on the "Bad Boys" CD, but I am still to this day searching for his solo CD, "It's Not Over". I have been searching but have been unsucessful with my search and if anyone knows where I can find this CD I would greatly appreciate it, after all it's Bobby DeBarge....nothing else needs to be said. The great voice, and if you don't believe me.... all you have to do is just listen to "Calling on All Girls".... and then you will know what I mean.

jaali hotep |

First of all peace to the Debarge family(Bobby rip)Can anyone tell me how to purchase Tommy of Bunny's new book.

kww |

wow where have I been...I never knew my boy Bobby died...I echo the sentiments of all on here that have shared the good memories they had as young people experiencing the joys and pain of the teen years to the sounds of Switch and Bobby's melodic voice. Right On magazine-posters were the bomb and Soul Train...haha...wow it gets no better...I should start hosting
Right on Magazine parties just so I can reminisce with my fellow peer group from back in the day...sigh...time flies...bless you B.Debarge, the fellow members of Switch and the entire Debarge family!!! Anybody know of Danita parker, cindy cleveland or Aletha Chandler from the Maryland area let me know (Kathy Preston is trying to hook up with you ladies again) I went to Benjamin Stoddard Junior high in Suitland maryland before I moved to Seattle- My dad was in the Army. Sister is Charmaine



carol gates |

Hello all
I am the youngest member of the DeBarge family and would like to first of all thank you for your love and support of my family, especially Bobby.
He played a significant role in where we all are today, he was an example of the true art of singing, and will always be the greatest voice ever heard.
He is missed deeply, but he lives on in each and everyone of us.
We find ourselves blurting out the same melodic tones that he did...
I can still hear his soft caring voice...
I would like to address a comment that was left by Felicia about that Chico will soon find out that talking about his brother will bring uneeded attention...
Well it is a good thing to keep the memory of one whome we loved so dear, there is healing in talking about such things, yes one should be careful in who you share your thoughts with, but it simply is what keeps his brothers voice alive.
The negative you will have with you always , wherever you go , do or say, it is something no one can stop.
We have learned that in the business.
So we cope with it and try to change it by living a positive life before the people who lve and respect us.
We won't reach everyone, but the ones we do touch ...What an awesome gift to affect another soul.

Love Carol DeBarge a.k.a. Peaches

Maria |

I remember when my grandfather brought me the news article about Bobby and Chico getting arrested. I was so hurt and dissappointed. I loved those guys. My grandfather hated my obsession with the family's music - of course nothing was as good as Nat King Cole or Sinatra in his book - anyway, I was even more saddened to hear of Bobby's death. It would have been great to hear him sing again. "There'll never be be be....na na na na na na..." Love you Bobby!

Eva |

As a product of the 70s, the group SWITCH was a very important part of my late teen years. There wasn't a house party, high school dance, club, skating rink, or young girl's bedroom, that you didn't hear the angelic falsetto of Bobby DeBarge. I remember at house parties, and the skating rink, the DJ would just allow the ENTIRE Side One to play, and I still get chills today whenever I hear, I WANNA BE CLOSER. The intro alone is smoldering with such sensuality. Ahhh...the good old, fashioned Slow Drag...now THOSE were the days...when music was performed by 800 people on stage(exaggerating, but you get my drift...lol) all playing an instrument and/or singing and turning it
OUT! :-)

Bobby left us much too young, and with a lot more to give, but while he was here, he brought a lot of joy to so many lives, and so many fond memories of when music was MUSIC! RIP Bobby. You will always be missed.

Alisa |

I have been trying to locate a song sung by switch. I have purchased the best of switch and it was not there. The title is "Something To Remember," I have been trying to find this song for years now with no luck. This song was my all time favorite. I am 37 now and still I have not found this song. Can someone please let me know where I can purchase it.

Tyrone |

As a young man @ 20 in the early 80's Bobby DeBarge was an inspiration to me. I come from a family that had a background of musicians and lead vocalists and to me Bobby and the band "Switch" including El played a part of a time in my life. I often copied the way he dressed and styled his hair to catch the ladies back in the day. Well ya it worked! i was always complimented of my falseto and how much i looked and sounded like Bobby, he was the man of love songs and someone you would want to dublicate.
I'm almost 47 now and i knew he had passed in life but never knew of what, when and why till i finally found this site 10 1/2 years after his death. I'm so sad that someone as gifted as he was got lost in whatever he was mixed up in.
He has been such an inspiration to me in my life that i use him as a singing example to my 4 children who are in their 20's now .
May you RIP Bobby and Thank You for all that you have given me.

IRA D. |

I am 32yrs young and boy do I remember Switch! My sisters were in love with all of them and probably broke a few of moms glasses trying to impersonate Bobby and later on El. Switch's Ultimate collection is in constant rotation in my car and it on't ever go anywhere. I have long appreciated what all of the debarge's have done for the face of music as a whole. I am from the east coast and they still had the "best beat in town" when it was time to roller skate. Bobby while I will never meet you in person or anyone else in the fam. please know you are and will always have a gift and a place in my heart that have so many memories attatched to the musical explosion you gave birth to. Chico carries the torch but with his his own style that I'm sure you influenced.RIP Friend in the Sky

Felicia |

May Bobby always be remembered as the total icon that he was. the fact that he was involved in a few troubling situations should never take away or overshadow his true talent. May he and his family always be blessed. Chico will one day come to the realization that to talk about his brother is to bring much uneeded media attention to his brother's name.
Rest In Peace forever. And Happy belated Birthday!!

judy |

hey! i am a big fan of switch i use to date jody sims when i was 20 he was 29. i remember went i first met him in the hawthorne mall @ sam goody record store wow! he was so cute! he was like my summer love. later i got to really know him i met his mom and his mom meet mine. back in the summer of 1979 i invited jody and his mom to my mom job she worked at lapl in downtown los angeles she really enjoyed it. later jody took me to magic mountain i have a cartoon picture of us wow i hope you get to read this jody i really would like to hear from you. i even remember when you took me to motown studio to watch you record one or your song that was a really great summer for me and i will never forget it. also i am really sadden about bobby debarge dying of aids. i also had a uncle died of aids may both of them rip God Bless there Souls. Jody if you happen to read this please write bach i really want to here from you!

Michael Kelly |

When Bobby and Chico were released, I had the pleasure of meeting them at a recording studio I owned and Managed called Executive Sound Services & Productions, across from the Chinese Theater on Hollywood Blvd. I was amazed at the unique styles of thier individual production work. Bobby's was more "old school" ala Leon Sylvers and Chico was more "Current stylings" Both were awesome producers. Other members of the family dropped by and helped out. I didn't know it at the time but Bobby was dying of Aids and was very sick and edgy. He passed about a month after finishing his last album. ~ Mike Kelly

Doreen Van Lee |

I was a fan of both Switch and DeBarge. They are one of the great singing families of the century.
When I heard of Bobby DeBarges death I was devastated. I tried surfing the 'net early to get information on Bobby DeBarge but I couldn't find much until now. I haven't heard anyone talk much about Bobby's death. But he is in the heart's of a lot of people. I am praying for the DeBarge family.

Ernestine Thompson |

I was sad to hear about Bobby death years ago i was suprised that someone with a great talent and voice like bobby would be gone so soon so young today is Dec 1st AIDS AWARNESS DAY i hope someday there would be a cure for this disease which is now a epidemic especially among the minority race i will always think of Bobby powerful voice and great talent may Bobby rest in peace love always Ernestine
Thompson always will be in heart.

craig |

I first kiss was by switch. I was 12 years old and my oldest brother Michael (RIP-cancer) played,There never be. I play switch music everday and at my job. Everytime I play switch songs, I think about my brother. Think you Bobby and swith, for giving music that will last through time. RIP Bobby we will always remember you.

Mona |

I am so sad to hear that Bobby passed away. Back at age 16...my friend Juli and I were in a record store...and saw the switch album. Bobby was so fine, we had to buy it. Then Switch became a part of us...we were away at boarding school in Albuquerque and would listen to their music by the hour. When we were living back in Colorado...Switch came to Denver on Friday night...then to Colorado Springs on Sunday night. Friday night we had 4th row seats...we were trying to run up to the stage to take pictures and see him closely...but the guards kept pushing us back... On Sunday night at the Air Force Academy we were right up at the stage singing along with Bobby. Those are two of the best memories I have. We always loved Bobby!!! Sad to hear he's gone. But his music and the memories will live on thru his music. I'm listening to I Call Your Name, now...and it takes me back to the time. What a good feeling!!! Love ya...and thanks Bobby

renee f |

i am originally from the detroit area and love to Listen to old school when people actually sang even though i grew up in the hip hop era I was devastated to find out of Bobby DeBarge's death. Its like losing a favorite uncle. Im glad I've found this so I'm able to express my feelings with people/fans who feel the same way. R.I.P. Bobby you will be missed. But your music lives on as long as there are people listening....

kim |

My first concert was the group SWITCH. Growing up, I had all their albums and no other group could compare to them. Their songs will live on. The song "There Never Be", was a great hit, like many of their songs. Bobbby didn't just get involved with Switch, he brung us The Debarges, then El went solo, Chico went solo. All this sprung from Bobby/Switch. I'm 39 and I still love Switch, Debarges, and El's music. I have my own home, but my room at my parents, still show signs of the love that had for found out about Bobby's death. Rest in peace Bobby. You're not forgotton.

Troymetris Wright |

Ok I may be a lil younger than the usual fan base of both groups. But i can certainly remember listening to there music as a very small child. Both my parents were very young when they had me Im talking 15/16. And i can still remeber looking in the album chess and seeing a SWITCH album. Funny i alwasy thought El Debarge sang THERE NEVER BE! You go BOBBY "RIP". Im a singer as well and for the longest time i was so scared to use my falsetto voice i didnt think men were suppose to sing like that. But now i know that's ok and actually a very talented effort to do so.Actually it really is a god giving talent becasue most men cant do it. But I was very influenced by the Debarges music Most recently I was maybe 18 around the time that Chico came back out love his voice kinda different from the rest of the brothers. he sings more like me i guess. Or i sing more like him in a sense.But Im very saddened to learn of Bobby SR death. But im grateful most family loose more members but the are very blessed to only loose 1. But never the less i don think it 's important to be remembered as big time slling artists but to be remembered as pioneers and ground setters thats what i think of the Debarge family Groundbreakers and thats enough for me. Props to them !

DeBarge#1Fan |

I too grew up in Washington State. (Kent to be specific) When I was about 10 I realized that all of my favorite songs over the years had been sung by the same family: The DeBarges. I adored the song "There'll Never Be" and as a preteen wall papered my room with pictures of Bobby and El and later, Chico. I thought I was over it when someone recently told me she saw El in DC and I started crying! Now thinking about Bobby's tragic death, Im in tears again. He was a blessing in this young girl's life. Also sheltered in an all white area when the racial lines were thick in the music industry, it was so inspiring to listen to and learn about this beautiful musical family. I love them to this day.
RIP Bobby. There will never be another like you...Love Always, Maria.

LuLu |

I guarantee you we all knew the voice of Bobby Debarge. Roller skating in Cincinnati at Roller World and USA to "the Best Beat in Town" and "I call Your Name" and There'll never Be" are some of the fondest memories of my life. I loved Switch, still do after 20 something years, as well as Debarge and all it's members. We have not forgotten them. We are still groovin' to their awesome music. There is nothing like it today. I was in my 30's when I first fell in love with their voices and now my daughter is in her 30's and loves them. They hold a special place in my heart and always will. God bless them all.

Arnold's Angel |

I didn't know the DeBarge's. I don't live in that area. My story will probably be boring to most of you, but to me, it's a big part of my life. I grew up in Washington state, where the white people outnumbered people of any other race by 10 to 2 (back then, this was true). So the term "sheltered" was definitely applicable to my upbringing. I bring this up because it bears on the information to follow.

It wasn't until I was 18 years old, and started going to an under age dance club called Arnold's, tucked away in a dark warehouse building, that I discovered music in a personal way. I had heard music before, of course, but the majority of it was very white, very boring, and nap inducing, except for the heavy metal rock bands like Kiss... white men in make up. Go figure. hehe Get what I'm saying? So there I was, at Arnold's, first dance club, first time dancing, period. I stood at the edge of the dance floor, and this song came on... it was like magic. The singer's voice was so beautiful that I felt like I was caught up in a dream, from the moment I heard it. The dj stepped out of his box, and walked up to me, asking for a dance. Now remember... I'd never danced before, never been to a club before, and never heard music like this before. I'd only been at the dance club for 15 minutes. He took me out on the floor, held me close, and danced with me, on what felt like a cotton candy floor. The song was "I call your name." and the group was Switch. The singer, of course Bobby DeBarge.

I have never forgotten that moment. Ever. It was one of the sweetest moments in my life up to that point, and remains a beautiful memory for me. I was just a nobody (in my own eyes), and on that night, I became a somebody. I learned to love music. I still love music. I love all kinds of music now (blues, jazz, classical, alternative, and all of that classic pop/disco/rock from that era). It's all because of that one night at Arnolds, that dj that asked me to dance, and Bobby DeBarge's voice. I still have that Switch album on vinyl, tucked away in a box, up in my closet. My son saw it when we moved into this house about 3 years ago, and asked me "Who's that?" I didn't explain in detail, as I have here, but I smiled and he said "ok, I don't want to know." Some things are best kept in a mother's head. hehe

I had to post this after I read somebody else's post in this thread, who actually knew Bobby DeBarge and was surprised to find that somebody in Boston, Mass knew who he was. I live on the pacific coast, in a small city in Washington state. If I knew who Bobby DeBarge was (before the birth of grunge, when Washington became known for our own style of music), the chances that most of the rest of the world knew him are pretty good.

Scott Hudson |

Many an after school day was spent with my friends singing songs by Switch. Bobby DeBarge's voice to me was unreal with some of those notes he hit ( you try singing the ''A better love'' part from ''There'll Never Be'' and see what I mean.

Dez Durham |

I first herd Switch when I was about 14 years old. I lived in Albuquerque New Mexico. My first slow dance and kiss was at a club I snuck into and I bet you know the song that was playing! You guessed it. There'll Never Be ! When I first heard Bobbies Falsetto Voice I new I had to get every song he and his group ever sang. His son Bobby Jr. is still singing and I bet hes going to make his own mark on the music scene. Im a writer myself and I m thinking about getting more involved with him. He has a great personality and he is very talented. Keep your eyes open and your ears listening for him. I have a feeling that Bobby Sr. left behind more than just great songs! RIP Bobby Sr. and thanks for teaching me how to sing Falsetto through your wonderful songs.

BK |

Switch, Bobby Debarge...wow! What can I say. When "They'll Never Be" came out, I was a 17 year old drummer living in the Richmond, VA area. I was so influenced by the versatility of those guys. They were giants to me. The falsetto voices of Bobby and Tommy, and seeing Switch live on stage when the group came to town with Cameo. Wow! Here's to Bobby D. When music was made with real instruments, and not just some dude in the studio rapping dumb, thug lyrics over a sampled track. When music was always about having a good time. Rest in peace brotha. Gone, but never forgotten!

Jenell |

Oh, My Goodness! I just loved Switch. Bobby especially with his angelic voice. My cousin and I listened to Switch all the time. My uncle owned a record store where we would listen to music for hours at a time. Switch was our favorite group. That was many years ago but my cousin and I reflect back on those days even now because we will always, always hold a very dear and special place in our hearts for Switch and DeBarge. RIP Bobby! We will love you always!

warren |

Ive just started listening to Debarge music in search of some easy listening music and I cant believe how talented they are. I grew up in the rap and hiphop era witch seems to be getting old fast. I appreciate their music because it puts me in another place in time. RIP Bobby!

Imani |

I just bought Switch's Utlimate collection on the internet. Although I am way too young to have been around when they were popular, whenever I hear them or Debarge, it brings up fond memories of my parents in their heyday singing "There'll Never Be..." at get togethers with friends. Switch and Debarge reminds us of a time when family and friends were important. Although things aren't the same today, the musical legacy that was created will live forever. Long live Switch. RIP Bobby!

Kadena D. Duncan-Lawrence |

One of a kind voice. You will never be forgotten. Rest in Peace Mr. DeBarge!

Victor Williams |

I am very proud of Bobby and his contributions to the world of Music, I am proud to be from the same neighborhood, city and state, that gave him his footing to walk the walk that he so graciously walked. God created the Universe with the use of vocal tones that being said it's fair to say that The voice is the primary instrument, and Bobby played his with the same ferocity that Miles used when he played his trumpet, That Thelonius used when he played his piano, YES, and the list of Truly great artiste goe's on and on and Bobby Debarge sits very comfortably in that company. The World never really got to know the extent of his Genius, for he was not only a Great Vocalist but probably an equally great composer and arranger. I grew up on the corner of Benjamin and Dunham in Grand Rapids,MI. The Debarge family a 60 second sprint from my front door, as a child I always thought great singers and musicians came a dime a dozen becuz my hood seemed to be flooded with them, Bobby and crew just the brightest of the bunch was'nt till I was a teenager when I finally got off the block, far away from home in Boston, Mass. that I realized the effect that Bobby and his siblings had on the World, silly me, I was actually shocked to find people outside of Grand Rapids knew who they were, the little girl I was goin to see had the evidence on her bedroom wall. I say that to say this, it was Bobby and his siblings that gave me the pride and confidence to go after my dreams in life, If they could make out the hood then so could I. Although We are far from being perfect. I love you Bobby for perfecting your gift. May God have mercy on your soul.

elle |

Bobby was born Mar. 5, 1956.

vanesa |

i am being involved with bobby's son, he is now 15 years old and is going to be 16 in august. Him, his brother christian and his mother are doing fine. bobby is following in his fathers footsteps with the singing career. he is doing very well. i have been with him for 6 months already. may he rest in peace "BOBBY DEBARGE".


I remember Bobby He was A friend of mine way back in the day. He used to go with a girfriend of mine named Terry I was very young I think I was 17 at the time they had a small studio in Grand Rapids I remember going there once or twice one time was my birthday and the four bothers sang for me. I remember it clear I was imbarassed . however it was the biggest thing that had happened in my life up untill that point. I remember Bobby
as sweet , nice and from time to time offering words of encouragment . I remember the day he had to go to prison as well he came over to my friend and I apartment just hours away from lock up I remember him in the door way
saying his good-byes to my friend and I ran into my room and got a new penny from a jar I gave it to him I told him it was for good luck and that he needs to be safe my friend closed the door and that was the last time I saw him over the years I would think about him in passing you know whatever happened to. but, never followed it up untill today when I heard somthing on t.v. about the Debarge famliey so I looked the name up on the internet and this is what I find He died....... funny the way life goes. he may have made bad choices but he had a good heart in my opion. sorry to see you go bobby but your always there as a part of my life hope you didnt lose that penny .

twilyt |

Just want to remember Robert Louis De Barge Sr on his upcoming B-day March 5, 2005 '56.. HAPPY BIRTHDAY BOBBY RIP MAY YOUR SOUL NEVER BE FORGOTTEN!! You and Chico may have made mistakes in life but i will always remember the love U shared w/the world in yr music. We fans will pay tribute to U on the airwaves on yr beloved B-day!!! Peace to yr family may God be with yr loved ones.... R.I.P., Twilyt

carameldelite |

When I heard of Bobby's death I was devestated. I really loved him in the group Switch. they are one of my all time favorite groups.

I really think that chico debarge did a wonderful job on the two cds he did put out when he got of of jail. I miss him, he should come back out. And capricornnoir, I saw chico debarge performing at a club in NY and did a few dedications to his brother. Trust me, he has not forgotten his brother.

Capricornnoir |

I just found this: Bobby and Chico DeBarge were arrested and convicted of cocaine trafficking charges in 1988.

Bobby DeBarge died on the 16th of August 1995, from the AIDS virus.

That is all it said, I would still like more info if possible.

Capricornnoir |

I know that Bobby DeBarge tragically died of aids before his time, but Chico Debarge is the one who spent time in prison for cocaine trafficking, and then reestablished his career after he served his time, and the only thing I have heard him talk about in interviews is his mistake of getting caught up in the drug trafficking. I have never heard him speak of his brother Bobby. If what you are saying is true then they must have been prosecuted at the same time, for the same crime, and both served time. However I have never heard this about Bobby, only that he died of aids. If you can direct me to any information about this I would appreciate it.

pumpmug |

heavy stuff....

god bless him....

MarMic_oldschool |

R.I.P.Bobby,God Bless your family,children.Heaven has a Angel you with your great voice...

starrwalker |

In our lifetime we are blessed to share time and space with angels and even though we cannot keep them on earth we can keep them in our hearts.


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