Remembering Robert Louis Debarge, Jr.

Robert Louis DeBarge, Jr.

Born 3/5/1956  ♥ Died 8/16/1995 In Grand Rapids, Michigan

Bobby Emotes

Short Bio & Condolence Cards

There’ll Never Be: A Tribute To Bobby DeBarge
(scroll midway down the page)
Reviewer: David Wayne of Santee, CA United States

Bobby’s legacy is his two children Christian and Bobby III.

Career Highlights

Studio Recordings:

♫ With Switch: Switch, 1978 Gordy; Switch II, 1979 Gordy ; This Is My Dream, 1980 Gordy ; Reach For Tomorrow, 1980 Gordy; The Best of Switch:The Millennium Collection, 2001 Motown

♫ With Smash: Smash, 1979 Source Records #3083 (Distributed by MCA Records)

♫ With DeBarge: Bad Boys, 1987 Striped Horse #SHL2004

♫ Solo: It’s Not Over, A&E CD305 Released Aug 1,1995

Guest Appearances:

♫ “Barry White Presents White Heat”, 1975 RCA #AVS-4317
Track 6 – I’ve Been So Lonely Without You – co-writer
Keyboards? Vocals? (I am not sure of the extent of Bobby’s participation, but Bobby is pictured at a keyboard on the back photo of the LP.)

♫ Bunny DeBarge – “In Love”, 1987 Motown Record Corporation
Side Two-Track 3 – Let’s Spend The Night
Co-writer, co-arranger and background vocals

♫ Devious Steve – “Where I Stay”, 1994 Grand Land Entertainment
Track 8 – It’s a Mad World – featured vocalist w/ Jeffrey Valantine

Note on this album: “This LP is dedicated:
In Loving Memory of Robert DeBarge
March 5, 1956 – August 16, 1995
Redeemed by the Blood of the Lamb”

Song Writing Credits:

♫ for Writer ROBERT LOUIS DEBARGE on ASCAP’s ACE Database website:
Co-writer on: What’s Your Name (Title Code: 5303263457)

♫ for Writer ROBERT L. DEBARGE on EMI Music Publishing web site:
As Solo writer on: All I Need Is You;Best Beat in Town
As Co-writer on:
All Night Love
All to tha G
Always Be With Me
Don’t Take My Love Away
From Your Love
Hold On to My Love
I Call Your Name
I Didn’t Mean It
I Should Have Told You So
I Think I’m In Love
I Wanna Be With You
It’s Not Easy
Let’s Spend The Night
Love Over and Over Again
My Friend in the Sky
No Hooks
Playin’ On Me
Po No Mo
Power to Dance
Take It Back To ’85
The Spot
This Is My Dream
Turn It Out
We Like To Party (Come On)
What’s Your Name
Why’d You Let Love Fall
You And I
You’re The One For Me

♪  ♪  ♪

Some of my Favorite Songs written by and featuring Bobby DeBarge on lead tenor Include:

Switch – My Friend In The Sky from the 1980 LP “Reaching for Tomorrow” . The album charted #23 R&B & #57 Pop.

Switch – Love Over and Over Again from the 1980 release “This Is My Dream.” The album charted  #21 R&B in 1980 and #85 Pop in 1981. The single “LO&OA” peaked the R&B Charts at #9.

Bobby DeBarge – Good Time (1995) from Bobby’s final solo project “It’s Not Over.”

♪ ♪ ♪

TV/Video Appearances (;my personal video tape collection; HistoricFilms.Com & Makaiisa)

♫ With Switch on Soul Train #225. Season 7, Episode 2
Original Air Date 08/27/1977. Jermaine Jackson introduced “Switch” as his new discovery.

♫ With Switch on The Merv Griffin Show
Original Air Date 12/07/1978. “There’ll Never Be” and “I Wanna Be Closer”

♫ With Switch on Soul Train #281, Season 8, Episode 19
Original Air Date 12/23/1978. Lipsynched “There’ll Never Be” and “I Wanna Be Closer”

With Switch on Rock Concert (1979)

With Switch on Rock Concert (1979)

♫ With Switch on Don Kirshner’s Rock Concert, Reel# – VM-1824.
Originally aired in 1970. Live performance of “I Wanna Be Closer” and “There’ll Never Be.”

♫ With Switch on Soul Train #306, Season 9, Episode 4
Original Air Date 10/13/1979. Lipsynched “Best Beat in Town” and “I Call Your Name”

♫ With DeBarge on American Bandstand # 2754, Season 31, Episode 4
Original Air Date 10/10/1987. Lipsynched “Dance all Night”

DeBarge on Punky Brewster #45

With DeBarge on Punky Brewster #45 (1987)

♫ With DeBarge on Punky Brewster #45
Reading, Writing and Rock & Roll. Original Air Date 10/30/87 on NBC

With DeBarge on Soul Train #550

With DeBarge on Soul Train #550

♫ With DeBarge on Soul Train #550, Season 17, Episode 8
Original Air Date 11/07/1987. Lipsynched “Dance all Night” and “I Got You Babe”

This page was last updated 09/20/2007, 12/18/2007, 10/13/2008, 11/28/08
This page is Copyright SonDan 2004-2008 All Rights Reserved

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Published on September 15, 2007 at 3:21 am  Comments (23)  

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23 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. Bobby DeBarge and Switch also appeared on The Merv Griffin Show. Sorry, but I don’t remember what year or episode or remember what song they performed but I do remember is when Merv Griffin introduced the band, he commented that the reason why they call themselves Switch is because while they are playing they will “switch” instruments.. how funny is that? I will try to scour the net to see if I could find some info on this appearance. I’m just another old schooler, graduated Mira Mesa High 1983. Thanks for the Memories!

  2. Dear B.VERGARA,

    I can’t thank you enough for that bit of information. I will be away from my pc this weekend, but I guarantee you that next weekend I will be trying to hunt down when Switch appeared on Merv’s show and update this tribute page accordingly when my pc and I re-unite. (How did we live without pc’s before?)

    I really appreciate you taking time out of your busy schedule to write me about this. According to my WordPress statistics, this page is one of the most popular on my blog, but as you can see folks tend to not leave comments, so I never know what they think about this page nor have I gotten and additional input.

    I remember the Merv Griffin show vividly. I grew up in the “Variety/Talk Show” era. Staying home from school when sick was meant a day bundled up on the living room couch — taking meds and watching the daytime talk shows.

    I am surprised that Merv had on Switch though. What about “The Mike Douglas Show”? Mike seemed to be a little more “hipper” then Merv (LOL)

    I did just quickly find out that “The Merv Griffin” Show ended on 09/06/78 and even though Jermaine Jackson introduced Switch on “Soul Train” in 1977 they did not have a national chart hit until 1978 when the single “There’ll Never Be” was released and charted #36 Pop and #6 R&B and their first Lp was released and charted #37 Pop and #6 R&B.

    Therefore that leaves a very short window between the 1978 release of the “Switch” chart toppers (I will have to look up those dates) and the end of Merv’s show in 1978 when he would possibly have the group appear. I will check in here when I get a chance to research it further.

    Oh well, if you find out anything more please do let me know. We “Old Schoolers” gotta stick together. 🙂

    Thanks again for stopping by and sharing.


  3. Uh Oh – the plot thickens. There was a late night version of the Merv Griffin show from 2/11/72 to 6/6/86 if this information from WIKI is correct:

    The Merv Griffin Show is a long-running American television talk show, starring singer Merv Griffin. The series ran from October 6, 1962 to June 2, 1963 on NBC, September 20, 1965 to September 26, 1969 in first-run syndication, from September 29, 1969 to September 1, 1972 at 11:30 PM ET weeknights on CBS and again in first-run syndication from February 11, 1972 to June 6, 1986.

    Hmm — this seems to contradict Tv.Com, but it is late and I could be confused so I am off to bed. B.VERGARA you really got me on the run now 😉

  4. Switch appeared on The Merv Griffin show 12/7/78. I actually have that performance. They did “There’ll Never Be” and “We Like To Party”. Jodie led on WLTP and Bobby was on drums! All the guys looked great!

  5. A big hug to you Makaiisa for solving the Merv Griffin mystery. My research yielded nothing so you have saved the day! (LOL) I have updated my “Tribute” page accordingly and plan to try to really make the time to add the long awaited music to the page as well now that the days are shorter and the nights are longer.

    I do have one additional question though — were they singing live to the Merv Griffith Orchestra, or to a track or just lip synching?

    Again, my sincere thanks for your input and taking time out to share that information.

    From one Switch fan to another —



  6. Thank you for putting this together. Bobby was the star of the o so talented Debarge family, he had it all. He was supposed to be Michael Jackson. I love El also, but he wasn’t Bobby. I do not believe that I am being negative by saying that either, just telling the truth. Wasted talent,it’s so sad. I guess to whom much is given, much is expected. Thank you again.

    • I humbly thank you for you comments Mark. I figured if just one person who had never heard Bobby sing discovered him here — then I would have done something right on this blog. His life choices should not in anyway detract from celebrating and honoring the talented song writer, singer and musician that was Bobby DeBarge.

      Thanks again for checking in Mark.

  7. is there a SWITCH dvd or live peformance videos?

    • To my knowledge there is nothing available for sale to the public John. I am hoping and praying that now that Don Cornelius has sold the “Soul Train” archives — that at least those performances will soon make it to DVD. If anyone has heard of any video release in the pipeline for the public both John and I would like to hear from you. In the meantime I will continue to keep my eyes and ears open as I have been doing for a long, long time now.

  8. Hello to everyone on this board I am twenty years old and I have listened to the debarge’s music and i love it. i play the crap out of “there’ll never be” and the group debarge’s song song “I like it”. I just wanted to let you all know on you tube there is a video of a switch performance. just type in switch and there’ll never be/I wanna be closer.

  9. Welcome Nikki. I am so glad to know that Generation X and beyond are listening to and appreciating classic old school music such as that of Bobby DeBarge and Switch. Glad to have you here at OSML.

  10. Thank you for this informative site/message board. has a great story about the Debarge family titled, “The Rise and Fall of the DeBarge Family.” It was written in August 2007. Bobby DeBarge was very talented and unfortunately also very tormented. Again, thank you for this site.

    • Hi Darryll,

      Welcome to OSML and you are more than welcomed. This site is a labor of love for me since I enjoy listening to and talking about music more than anything else in the world. It is one of my major passions.

      As I recall the Vibe article was quite interesting — but even more informative was the TvOne “Unsung” Documentary on DeBarge that aired in November 2008. If you didn’t see it, do check out the TvOne website for repeat airing dates and/or you may view it on YouTube (if it hasn’t been removed) in it’s entirely.

      This documentary was done with family participation so I think you will find in very riveting and revealing.

      Thanks again for your participation here and best wishes to you and your loved ones for a wonderful New Year!

  11. Thanks for this site. I have been a huge DeBarge fan ever since my dad played their records back in the day. I love this family and I seriously think the world of them.

    I was so happy that I was able to watch the Switch performance on YouTube when they were on Don Kirshner’s Rock Concert. This was my first time seeing them perform, so that was a real treat. There was something about Bobby that just made you like him a lot during his performances. He seemed like a real cool dude who unfortunately had terrible demons that took over his life. : (

    • You are welcomed Kasey and thank you for your visit and your input. It is most appreciated. In line with you comments I too get the feeling that Bobby had a great sense of humour in spite of everything else going on in his life. Hope to see more of you hear. Also check you email when you see this reply.

      Happy New Year!

  12. Thank you for this website. I have always loved El Debarge and when I watched the TVOne Unsung documentary on the family I was blown away to find out that the lead singer of Switch was the older brother of El and the Debarges–I LOVE “THERE WILL NEVER BE”. And whoever said Bobby’s voice was magical is SPOT ON. When you listen to him sing you’re instantly mesmerized by how beautiful and flawless his voice is–and how charismatic he is. And the most compelling thing about it is that it’s also effortless–regardless of the note he’s hitting he just does it with beauty and ease. Their story is a really sad one, however, I pray that Bobby has peace now and that all of the future generations of the Debarges have the wisdom of their ancestors to guide them. This world is quantifiably different (and worse off) without Bobby and without El making their beautiful music. I sincerely wish all of the family peace, self and family forgiveness, joy and the spirit of the Lord. Thank you Debarges for your beautiful and innate music ability. No other music group before you or afterwards has left such a magnificent impact on music. We all love you. May God be with you always.

    Peace, love and forgiveness…

    • Hi MonieLuv,

      Thank you for sharing your love of the musical talents of Bobby DeBarge and his family. I agree wholeheartedly with your comments and truly do appreciate your participation here.



    • Hello again Monie Love,

      I thought that you might want to know that Eldra is doing well and has written another letter to his fans. You may see what he has to say to us at the following links:

      March 2009 Letter from El page One

      March 2009 Letter from El page Two

      Special thanks to both the DeBarge Network and Yahoo’s DeBarge Family Group for keeping fans abreast of Eldra’s status.

  13. Man, I can’t find any videos for Switch in concert nowhere. Nikki if you are still tuning in let me know if the YouTube video is still where you found it. A great performing group like this should be shared with their fans. I’ve been thinking about doing some interviews with old skool groups and posting the videos on YouTube for everyone to enjoy and remember them when they were at their best.

    Much Love

  14. Hey! Bobby DeBarge was one of the most talented musician-singer of all times. The group “Switch” was so talented. I got a chance to meet Bobby in Hollywood at the “Peoples Tree” when DeBarge was a part of Motown. Bobby was so cool and down to earth! His legacy is strong and to this very day people still talk about Bobby DeBarge and his music!!

    • Wow – what a honor you were given to meet Bobby in the flesh. I am sure it is a memory that you have cherished!
      Welcome to OSML Gina and thank you so much for sharing that “special event” in your life.

  15. This was a very nice read. I enjoyed the site.Not often I see one like this. The list of Bobby’s songs brings back alot of memories. Most of them I remember. Thanks for the trip in the Way back machine. And if you don’t know who I’m look on the back of “This is my Dream”

    • Hi Tommy,

      I am glad you found my Bobby Page to read and enjoy. Thank you for the kind words.

      I guess you can tell I love the “oldies” and a day doesn’t go by that I don’t listen to them. The classic ballads that Bobby DeBarge composed and/or sang are some of the most endearing love songs ever (Sorry Smokey R. — but it’s true).

      Please stop by the page any time so you don’t have to go so long without your “Bobby fix” (LOL)

      I went to check my LP as you suggested and see that you were lucky enough to be right in the mix of things for “This Is My Dream.” I bet you could really tell some some stories and if you ever get the urge I am all eyes and ears. I am sure the readers here would love it. 😉

      BTW Was Mr. John Upshaw your Dad?

      Again, please don’t be a stranger.



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