Robert Barisford "Bobby" Brown (born February 5, 1969) is an American R&B singer-songwriter, occasional rapper, and dancer. After success in pop group New Edition, Brown began his solo career in 1987 and had a string of Top 10 Billboard hits, culminating in a Grammy Award. He was a pioneer of New Jack Swing music, a fusion of hip hop and R&B. His second album, Don't Be Cruel, included popular songs such as "My Prerogative". Brown is the ex-husband of R&B singer Whitney Houston and starred in the reality show Being Bobby Brown.
Bobby Brown began his music career as a member of the R&B boy band New Edition which he founded along with childhood friend Michael Bivins. He is the youngest member of the group since the inception. The group's hits with Brown included "Candy Girl", "Cool It Now", and "Mr. Telephone Man". Brown was voted out of New Edition in 1986 when the other four members felt that their careers would be jeopardized by Bobby's lewd, line-crossing on-stage antics. Throughout the All for Love tour, he feuded with Ralph Tresvant and cut in on Tresvant's lead vocals. In 1996, Brown rejoined the group for New Edition's comeback album, Home Again. In the middle of the tour, he engaged in further racy on-stage antics. He extended his solo set and cut into Bell Biv Devoe's time. Once again, he left New Edition. In the fall of 2005, New Edition performed at BET's 25th Anniversary Special. The group performed a medley of its greatest hits, and even brought Bobby Brown on stage for a rendition of "Mr. Telephone Man". It was later announced on BET and Inside Hollywood that Bobby had rejoined the group and would be on the next group album. In January 2006, New Edition announced that the group would launch a new album and tour in 2008. Bobby also appeared at a concert in Columbia, South Carolina that New Edition had filmed for a future dvd release.
After leaving New Edition in 1985, Brown stayed with the group manager Steven Machat and Machat secured from MCA, the groups record label, a record deal guaranteed for Browns solo career if Brown agreed to leave the New Edition. MCA released his first solo album, King of Stage, in 1986. This album included "Girlfriend", a minor hit which went to #1 on the Billboard R&B charts and #57 on the Billboard Hot 100. Other than that, King of Stage did not garner much attention. However, Brown's next album, 1988's Don't Be Cruel with Machat overseeing the entire production and styling of Brown with Louil Silas, MCA's rep, rocketed him to super stardom. Working with the writing/producing team of L.A. Reid and Babyface, as well as Teddy Riley, Don't Be Cruel spawned five Top 10 Billboard Hot 100 singles: "Don't Be Cruel" (#8), "Every Little Step" (#3), "Rock Wit' Cha" (#7), "My Prerogative" (#1), and "Roni" (#3). The album would eventually be certified 8x platinum (8,000,000 units sold).