Forming New Edition
In 1984, New Edition switched to MCA Records and released a self-titled follow-up album that eclipsed the success of Candy Girl with hit singles such as "Cool It Now" and "Mr. Telephone Man." However, despite the enormous success of their music, the members of New Edition still only received the small salary stipulated in their exploitative contract with MCA. "The most I saw for all the tours and all of the records we sold was $500 and a VCR," Brown said. Believing that they were being treated "like little slaves by people who were only interested in money and power, and not the welfare of New Edition," Brown left the group in 1986 to pursue a solo career.
Personal LifeL.A. Reid and Babyface. The result of their collaboration, released in the summer of 1988, was a radically new R&B album called Don't Be Cruel that took the music world by storm, selling seven million copies on the way to becoming the bestselling album of the year. Brown's high-powered, sexually charged music and live performances earned him comparisons to his childhood idol Michael Jackson. In 1990, Brown recorded "On Our Own," the smash-hit theme song for the movie Ghostbusters II, and in 1992 he released his third album, Bobby, featuring the singles "Humpin' Around" and "Good Enough."
In many respects, Bobby Brown's life reads like a classic cautionary tale about the perils of fame and fortune. For several years from the late 1980s to the early 1990s, he was one of the most popular entertainers alive, a young man many hailed as the second coming of Michael Jackson. Nevertheless, today Brown's name may be more closely associated with drugs and his troubled relationship with Whitney Houston than with his music. Brown's life may yet become a tale of redemption, however; drug-free after years of therapy, he released a single, "Get Out the Way," in early 2011. "I'm doing wonderful," Brown said. "I'm just moving forward with my life and trying to stay positive at all times."