One of the most talented, captivating and influential artists of the 1980s (and period) turned 55 today. Click inside to celebrate his legacy with a gallery of the biggest hits of his career!
Robert Barisford Brown Sr. was born in Boston, Massachusetts. He grew up in Roxbury’s Orchard Park Projects as one of eight children. After witnessing one of his childhood idols James Brown perform in Boston at the age of three, Brown knew that he wanted to become a singer. He went on to join the church choir, where he recognized and developed his singing abilities. These singing abilities would lead Brown to starting the group that would change his life forever.
In 1981, alongside childhood friends Michael Bivins and Ronnie Bell, Brown founded R&B/pop group New Edition. Raplh Tresvant and Ronnie DeVoe eventually joined and completed the group. After gaining exposure from performing at talent shows around the Boston area, the group signed a deal with Arthur Baker’s Streetwise Records. New Edition released its debut album Candy Girl in 1983. Although the group gained traction with their first album, it was their second release, New Edition, that made them pop sensations. After Bobby was featured on New Edition’s next album All for Love, he left the group in early 1986. It wasn’t until 1996’s Home Again that Brown would reunite with New Edition again. It turns out that going solo was the best possible move for Brown’s career.
After leaving New Edition, Brown signed a deal with MCA. Despite his lead solo single “Girlfriend” reaching #1 on the R&B charts, his debut album King of Stage didn’t perform well. After the relatively disappointing showing, Brown began to work with Babyface, Antonio “L.A.” Reid and Teddy Riley, who were considered some of the best producers and songwriters of the time. These producers helped to compose his most successful solo album of his career, Don’t Be Cruel. The album went on to sell over 12 million records worldwide, making it the highest selling album of 1989. The following year, Brown won his only Grammy Award for Best Male R&B Vocal Performance for the album fourth single “Every Little Step.” Although Brown only released three more solo studio albums after Don’t Be Cruel (Bobby, Forever, The Masterpiece), he has remained one of the most controversial, influential and well loved artists of all-time. He is noted for being one of the pioneers of new jack swing: a fusion of hip hop and R&B. He is also lauded for his bravado, unique style and willingness to unapologetically be his authentic self. All of these things contributed to Bobby Brown being who he is today, a living legend. To celebrate his legacy, check out a gallery of some of his biggest hits throughout his career! Let us know your favorites and if you think we forgot any in the comments. HAPPY 55TH TO THE BAD BOY OF R&B!
1. Candy GirlSource:dakwa4life
2. Cool It NowSource:New Edition
3. Mr. Telephone ManSource:New Edition
4. Hit Me OffSource:New Edition
5. I’m Still In Love With YouSource:New Edition
6. Don’t Be CruelSource:Bobby Brown
7. My PrerogativeSource:Bobby Brown
8. RoniSource:Bobby Brown
9. Every Little StepSource:Bobby Brown
10. On Our OwnSource:Mostly Simpsons
11. Rock Wit’chaSource:Bobby Brown
12. Humpin’ AroundSource:Bobby Brown
13. Good EnoughSource:mysterious murasame
14. Get AwaySource:Bobby Brown
15. She Ain’t Worth ItSource:Amherst Records
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