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Sunday, 27 April 2014

BLACK SOCIAL HISTORY : AFRICAN AMERICAN " SWITCH " WAS AN R&B / FUNK BAND THAT FOUND FAME RECORDING FOR THE GORDY LABEL IN THE LATE `1970's RELEASING HIT SONGS SUCH AS " THERE WILL NEVER BE " " I CALL YOUR NAME " AND " LOVE OVER ^ OVER AGAIN " : GOES UNTO THE " HALL OF BLACK GENIUS "

                               BLACK                SOCIAL             HISTORY                                                                                                                                                                                                 Switch was an R&B/funk band that found fame recording for the Gordy label in the late 1970s, releasing hit songs such as "There'll Never Be", "I Call Your Name" and "Love Over & Over Again". Switch influenced bands such as DeBarge, which featured the siblingsof Switch band members Bobby and Tommy DeBarge.[1][2][3][4]

Biography

Early years

The group, was formed in Mansfield, Ohio in 1976/77, by leader/member Gregory (Greg) Williams when Bernd Lichters came from Germany to help Greg to form the new band, rented a home, buying a van, a Fender Rhodes 88 keyboards and recording a demo tape in Columbus, Ohio. Switch included brothers Tommy DeBarge and Bobby DeBarge from Grand RapidsMichigan, along withAkronOhio natives Phillip Ingram (brother of James Ingram), Eddie Fluellen and Jody Sims (originally from SteubenvilleOhio). Greg Williams, Bobby DeBarge and Jody Sims were initially members of Barry White's group, White Heat. This project had one record release on RCA in 1975, but the group's tenure proved to be short-lived, as Barry White closed his own Soul Unlimited Productions and dropped all of the acts signed to his production company, including White Heat.

Success years

Eventually changing their name to Switch due to their ability to switch to different lead vocalist and instruments during a song, Greg and Jody met and got the attention of Jermaine Jackson, former member of The Jackson 5 and husband of Hazel Gordy (daughter of Motown Chief Berry Gordy, Jr.), who heard the group's demo tape. Within weeks, the group was signed to the Motown Records subsidiary label, Gordy. They recorded and released their self titled debut album some 18 months later in 1978, which featured their first Top 10 R&B hit single, entitled "There'll Never Be".
Their songs were written by Williams, Bobby DeBarge and Jody Sims, often in collaboration with Jermaine Jackson. Though they never managed to cross over into the pop singleschart, they were a consistent presence on the R&B charts through the late 1970s with albums such as Switch II from 1979 (their second release), This Is My Dream and Reaching For Tomorrow in 1980. Their final release on Gordy was Switch V, released in 1981. Songs such as "I Wanna Be Closer", "We Like to Party", "I Call Your Name", "Best Beat in Town" and "Love me Over and Over Again" also became hits for the group.

Later years

Shortly after the DeBarge brothers left Switch to mentor their younger siblings in the group DeBarge, and lead singer Phillip Ingram left to pursue a solo career, Switch took on new vocalist and musicians: singer Renard Gallo, Gonzales Ozen and bassist Phil Upchurch Jr. This configuration of Switch signed with Total Experience (well known home of their contemporaries The Gap Band) and recorded a final album Am I Still Your Boyfriend in 1984, breaking up later that year.
In 1991, Motown released a greatest hits compilation album by the band. A similar version on the 20th Century Masters series released more recently is all that remains in print of this band.
Former lead singer Bobby DeBarge died of AIDS-related complications in Grand Rapids, Michigan on August 16, 1995 at age 39.
Switch has since reunited, featuring original members founder/leader Gregory Williams, Eddie Fluellen, Phillip Ingram, original sessions/on stage guitarist Michael McGloiry, and new members Akili Nickson, Michael Norfleet, James Strong and Derek Organ.

Personnel

  • Gregory Williams (1976–present): vocals, keyboards, trumpet
  • Eddie Fluellen (1977–present): keyboards, trombone, vocals
  • Phillip Ingram (1976-82; present): vocals, keyboards, percussion
  • Michael McGloiry (original session guitarist) (1978-??; present): guitar
  • Bobby DeBarge (1977-81): vocals, piano/keyboards, drums
  • Tommy DeBarge (1976-81): vocals, bass guitar
  • Jody Sims (1976-84): vocals, drums
  • Attala Giles (1981-84): guitar, bass, keyboards
  • Renard Gallo (1982-84): vocals, percussion
  • Gonzales Ozen (1982-84): vocals, percussion
  • Howie Carbaugh (1985-87): drums
  • Christopher Hawkins (1985-87): vocals
  • Anthony Watters (1985-87): guitar
  • Akili Nickson (2003–present): lead vocals
  • Michael Norfleet (2003–present): keyboards, vocals
  • James Strong (2006–present): bass, vocals
  • Derek Organ (2006–present): drums, vocals

Discography

Studio albums

YearAlbumPeak chart positionsRecord label
US
[5]
US
R&B

[5]
CAN
[6]
1975White Heat [A]RCA
1977Pall Mall Groove [B]Polydor
1978Switch37672Gordy
1979Switch II37884
1980Reaching for Tomorrow5723
This Is My Dream8521
1981Switch V17448
1984Am I Still Your Boyfriend?Total Experience
"—" denotes releases that did not chart or were not released.
  • A Album credited to White Heat.
  • B Album credited to Hot Ice.

Compilations

  • The Best of Switch (1991, Motown)
  • 20th Century Masters - The Millennium Collection: The Best of Switch (2001, Motown)

Singles

YearTitlePeak chart positionsAlbum
US
[5]
US
R&B

[5]
US
Dan

[5]
CAN
[6]
UK
[7]
1978"There'll Never Be"36660Switch
1979"I Wanna Be Closer"22
"Best Beat in Town"691665Switch II
"I Call Your Name"838
1980"Don't Take My Love Away"41Reaching for Tomorrow
"Love Over and Over Again"9This Is My Dream
1981"You and I"57
"I Do Love You"73Switch V
1982"Call On Me"70
1984"Switch It Baby"55Am I Still Your Boyfriend?
"Keeping Secrets"61
"—" denotes releases that did not chart or were not released.