Sunday, June 8, 2014

TAKE TWO: BOBBY BROWN


Bobby Brown has had a bad boy reputation since his teenage years with the bubble-gum soul group, New Edition, through his time as a popular solo act and beyond. Brown grew up on the tough streets of Boston where he was surrounded by gangs and committed petty crimes. He redirected his life when he focused on music. An early version of New Edition was formed when Brown was nine that included friends, Michael Bivens, Ricky Bell and Ralph Tresvant. The group's manager, Brooke Payne later brought in his nephew, Ronnie DeVoe to complete the act and New Edition signed with producer, Maurice Starr in 1982. After their successful first single, "Candy Girl", many other hits followed including "Cool It Now" and "Mr.Telephone Man".

Due to his unhappiness with the financial compensation and jealousy over excessive attention paid to other members of the group, Brown either left on his own or was fired from New Edition (largely depending on who you ask) in 1986. Brown decided to embark on a solo career and released his debut,"King of Stage" later that year. Despite a number one hit, "Girlfriend" on the r&b chart, the album didn't get much traction and was largely ignored. For his follow-up, Brown was paired up with some of the top producers working at MCA Records at the time; Teddy Riley, "L.A." Reid and Babyface. Released in 1988, "Don"t be Cruel" became a massive hit with five singles that not only reached the top ten on the r&b chart but all those songs crossed over to the top ten on the U.S. pop chart. The album went on to sell over seven million copies, won the artist a Grammy for Best Male R&B Vocal Performance and helped usher in the New Jack Swing sound that ruled throughout the nineties. The following year, Brown was asked to contribute songs to the sequel of "Ghostbusters" and the single, "On Our Own" made it up to number two on the pop chart.

After reaching such major commercial success and marrying the "Queen of Pop", Whitney Houston in 1992, you would think Bobby Brown would be enjoying his achievements. However, his demons resurfaced and the rest of Brown's personal and professional life was messy and squandered due to drug abuse, arrests and jail time. Brown has recently clean-up his act (somewhat)and has reunited with New Edition on several occasions with the first time being at the 1990 MTV Music Video Awards. He continues to tour with the group.

Here are two of my favorite songs from Bobby Brown:

"Don't Be Cruel" - Bobby Brown (1988)

"Roni" - Bobby Brown (1988)

As a bonus, here is Brown with New Edition in an early video for their debut song, "Candy Girl"

TAKE TWO: TEDDY PENDERGRASS

Back in the '70's, if you wanted to create a sexy mood, all you had to do was turn down the lights, pop open a bottle of wine and...