Happy Birthday, El DeBarge!
Within the grand tradition of music families exists the DeBarges. Like the Jacksons and the Pips before them, this family has a star. He goes by El DeBarge. The essential DeBarge -- the "El" is short for Eldra Patrick DeBarge -- celebrates his 54th birthday today (June 4).
The DeBarges were known as one of the acts that kept Motown rolling in the '80s; they had eight Billboard Hot 100 hits, and "Rhythm of the Night" is their most easily identifiable song. By the late '80s, the group fell apart thanks to drug-related arrests and tabloid attention (James' marriage to Janet Jackson in 1984 was annulled a year later).
El DeBarge ended up becoming the star to emerge from the wreck. He blew up a year after his brothers' 1985 peak with "Who's Johnny." The single, an example of '80s cheese, was featured in the '80s film Short Circuit.
The singer also had the privilege of working with DJ Quik and George Clinton. However, he wasn't free from the drug problems that ravaged his family. It wasn't until the late '90s when drugs derailed El's career, and in the 2000s, he was arrested multiple times for drug possession.
Despite the crippling setbacks, El is still touring this late in his career. In 2010, he released Second Chance, his first album in 16 years. The project received critical acclaim, earned a Grammy nomination for Best R&B Album and proved his career was still far from over.
Watch El DeBarge's "Second Chance" Video
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