R&B Switch’s Tommy DeBarge dead at 64

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Tommy DeBarge, best known as a member of the R&B group Switch, has passed away. He was 64 years old.

DeBarge’s sister, Etterline “Bunny” DeBarge, shared the news on Facebook on Thursday, sharing a video featuring a still image of her brother playing guitar.

“Tommy won his wings” she wrote. The singer also shared the post on her professional Facebook page.

A second post soon followed: “Rest peacefully in paradise, dear Thomas DeBarge.”

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A family member of the musician told TMZ he has suffered from liver and kidney failure over the years and has recently lost his health.

The media reports that he was hospitalized a few weeks ago and died on Thursday.

DeBarge and his band mates rose to fame in the 1970s with hits like “There’ll Never Be”, “I Call Your Name” and “Love Over & Over Again”.

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The singer and his brother Bobby founded the group, which had an impressive influence on R&B groups for years to come, most notably the DeBarge group, made up of the star’s family members.

Switch member Tommy DeBarge, DeBarge mentor and brother of singer Tommy DeBarge, has died aged 64.
(Reuters)

Tommy and Bobby left Switch to guide their family members through DeBarge, which became known for hits like “I Like It”, “Time Will Reveal” and “A Dream”.

Switch was created in 1976 by Gregory Williams and also included Phillip Ingram, Eddie Fluellen, and Jody Sims. They were signed with a subsidiary of the iconic Motown label shortly after their formation.

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Their self-titled debut album, released in 1978, included “There’ll Never Be”, which reached number 36 on the Hot 100 display panel. The song was their only top 40 hit.

Switch live on Soul Train (Tommy DeBarge, Eddie Fluellen, Bobby DeBarge, Jody Sims, Phillip Ingram, Gregory Williams) circa 1970.

Switch live on Soul Train (Tommy DeBarge, Eddie Fluellen, Bobby DeBarge, Jody Sims, Phillip Ingram, Gregory Williams) circa 1970.
(Reuters)

The band didn’t stop with the release of the DeBarge brothers, but instead added new members and continued to make music. Bobby would die of complications from AIDS in 1995 at age 39.

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Switch is known to have had an effect and influence on music beyond DeBarge, their influence being visible in bands like Tony! Toni! Your! and new condition.


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