While the majority of people are out looking for holiday gifts for their loved ones on the busiest shopping day of the year, the friends and relations of former En Vogue vocalist Dawn Robinson are out looking for last minute birthday gifts. Born on this day in 1968 in New London, Conn., Robinson would go on to join En Vogue, a group that single-handedly reinvented the R&B girl group in the late '80s. Oakland, Calif.-based producers Denzil Foster and Thomas McEllroy, who had previously worked with such acts as Timex Social Club and Tony! Toni! Tone!, assembled the group with the idea of starting an R&B vocal group to sing over the New Jack Swing beats that were such the rage in 1988. After a short audition process, Cindy Herron, Maxine Jones, Terry Ellis and birthday girl Robinson were selected, and the group was named Vogue. Their one appearance under that moniker was on Foster and McEllroy's concept album FM2.
The group's name was changed to En Vogue and they set about recording their debut, Born To Sing, in 1989. Released in 1990, it hit #21 on the pop charts, with the single "Hold On" climbing to #2. The 1992 Funky Divas was the group's real breakthrough. It reached #8 on the pop charts and contained songs that touched on elements of hip-hop, rock, pop, doo-wop and reggae. "My Lovin' (You're Never Gonna Get It)," based on a sample from James Brown's "The Big Payback," reached #2 and the hard rockin' protest song "Free Your Mind" kicked and screamed its way into the #8 slot. In 1993, the group performed guest vocal duties on Salt-n-Pepa's "Whatta Man" and released an EP entitled Runaway Love. The foursome sang "A Change Is Gonna Come" with First Brother Roger Clinton at MTV's Inaugural Ball in 1995 and, later that year, landed a quick appearance in Batman Forever. The group's last outing as a foursome came in the form of "Don't Let Go (Love)," which first appeared on the soundtrack of 1996's Set It Off. Robinson left the group earlier this year, just before recording for EV3 got under way.
Other birthdays: Gary Troxel (The Fleetwoods), 58; Bruce Channel, 57; Clem Curtis (Foundations), 57; R.B. Greaves, 53; Beeb Burtles (Little River Band), 49; David Jaymes (Modern Romance), 43; and John Spinks (Outfield), 42.