In 1983, DeBarge released [[In a Special Way]], which spawned the hits "[[Time Will Reveal]]" and "[[Love Me in a Special Way]]" and in 1984, the band became a sensation while touring for [[Luther Vandross]] on the singer's Busy Body tour. Though the group enjoyed much success and appeared to be a family unit, there was growing tensions between El and his brothers mainly because of Motown's push to have El become the only noted star of the group, repeating a pattern that began with [[Smokey Robinson]] and [[The Miracles]]. By the end of the tour, El DeBarge was mainly called to handle the production of DeBarge's next album, [[Rhythm of the Night (album)|]], without much help from his siblings.
Rhythm of the Night became the group's best-selling album ever though some contended that El DeBarge was the only member present on the album with the exception of the [[...|title track]], which became a top five hit in several countries including the US and UK becoming the group's and El's [[signature song]]. In late 1985, he appeared on in the Season 7 episode, "Doo-Wah" as himself and performed his single "You Wear it Well" with [[Lisa Welchel]], [[Kim Fields]], [[Mindy Cohn]] and [[Nancy McKeon]] singing backup. In 1986, El DeBarge left the group and began his solo career with the release of his [[El DeBarge (album)|self-titled debut album]], which spawned the hits, "[[Who's Johnny]]" and "[[Love Always]]". Three years passed, however, until DeBarge released his second album, [[Gemini (El DeBarge album)|]] in 1989. The album was a failure and DeBarge's contract with Motown was terminated in 1990 and he signed with [[Warner Bros. Records|Warner Bros.]]. In the meantime, DeBarge was featured on the [[Quincy Jones]] single, "[[The Secret Garden (Sweet Seduction Suite)]]", alongside [[Al B. Sure!]], [[James Ingram]] and [[Barry White]], released in 1990.