Tommy DeBarge of R&B group Switch dead at 64

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

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 has gained his wings,” she wrote. The singer also shared the post on her professional Facebook page.

A second post soon followed: “Rest peacefully in Heaven, Dearest Thomas DeBarge.”

A family member of the musician told TMZ that he suffered from liver and kidney failure over the years and recently declined in health.

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

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

The singer and his brother Bobby founded the group, which had impressive influence over R&B acts for years to come, including the group DeBarge, which was made up of the star’s family members.

Tommy and Bobby left Switch in order to mentor their family members in 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 to a subsidiary of the iconic Motown label not long after forming.

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

The band didn’t halt with the DeBarge brothers’ exit, but instead added new members and continued to make music. Bobby would died of AIDS-related complications in 1995 at age 39.

Switch is known to have had an effect and influence on music beyond just DeBarge, with their influence being visible in bands like Tony! Toni! Toné! and Mint Condition.

[Read More…]