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DeBarge

Biography

The similarities between DeBarge and The Jackson 5 are almost eerie: a sibling act formed in a small Midwestern city that signed to Motown and gradually saw its family dynamic dissolve into a superstar lead singer (Eldra, or "El") and his less successful (and scandal-ridden) brothers and sister. Their commonalities make sense: Motown (already home to brothers Bobby and Tommy, who were in the group Switch) groomed Bunny, James, Mark, Randy and El to follow in the Jacksons' footsteps. For a period in the early '80s, the plan seemed to work. Their first few albums spawned a slew of hit singles like "All This Love," "I Like It," "Love Me in a Special Way" and "Time Will Reveal." In 1986, El began to branch out on his own, recording a successful self-titled solo album (followed by several less successful efforts and, later, time spent in jail on a drug conviction). That, in combination with an aging fan base, led to the group's dissolution. But that wasn't the last of the DeBarge family: the group reunited for a gospel album in the 1990s, El began working on solo material again in 2010 and James' daughter Kristinia carried on the family business with her own hit solo album in 2009.
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