Girlfriend

Album: Pebbles (1987)
Charted: 8 5

Songfacts®:

  • This song is about infidelity. The singer is urging her friend to dump a man who treats her poorly and is unfaithful. Pebbles didn't write the song, but explained that she could relate to it because it was something she had been through.
  • Released in October 1987, "Girlfriend" was Pebbles' first single, but it was the last song recorded for her debut album. Signed to MCA records on the strength of her demo for "Mercedes Boy" (which she wrote), the record company had the production team of L.A. Reid and Babyface drop by to meet her. The album was almost done, but when Reid and Face heard her work, they asked her to try singing a song they had written for Vanessa Williams: "Girlfriend." She nailed it, and since negotiations for Williams to record the song weren't going well, the producers had Pebbles do the song.
  • With a crazy hook filled with synth and strings, this was a very clever production that was just right for the '80s. L.A. Reid explained that he also wanted the lyrics to be very streetwise, saying, "At the time, rap music, which is sort of the storybook of ghetto life, didn't have such an appeal. So the little things that we used that were sort of street at the time seemed to be so hip."
  • The "To believe or not to believe" refrain is a play on the famous line from Hamlet: "To be or not to be, that is the question." It's not every hit song that paraphrases Shakespeare.
  • Reid and Babyface were in a group called The Deele when this was recorded. They sang backup on the track, and before they come in with the "To believe" line for the third time, Pebbles says, "Deele, sing!"
  • This is the part where we tell you about Pebbles and L.A. Reid. Sparks flew when they were working together on this song, and Reid was impressed that she could hold her own in the studio (she co-produced the album). In 1989, they got married, and for a few years they were an R&B power couple, with Pebbles forming a production company and becoming TLC's manager, and Reid forming LaFace records with Babyface. They bought a nice house in Atlanta and were part of many Pop and R&B hits of the early '90s that came from the city. It got ugly in 1995, when Reid and Pebbles divorced and TLC sued her, claiming their bankruptcy was caused by her mismanagement. Reid continued his record mogul ways, which Pebbles started going by Sister Perri Reid and in 1998 formed the Ministry of Women of God.
  • As Sister Perri, Pebbles used the phrase "Girlfriend, I'm Saved" in her ministry. Here's the Girlfriend T-shirt.

Comments: 3

  • Barry from Sauquoit, NyOn May 28, 1988, Pebbles performed "Girlfriend" on the Dick Clark ABC-TV network Saturday-afternoon program 'American Bandstand'...
    At the time "Girlfriend" was at #53 on Billboard's Hot Top 100 and working it's way DOWN the chart; five weeks earlier it had peaked at #5 {for 1 week} and it stayed on the Top 100 for 20 weeks...
    And on the same 'Bandstand' show she also performed "Mercedes Boys, it was at #34 on Hot Top 100 and working it's way UP the chart; six weeks later it would peak at #2* {for 2 weeks} and it spent 18 weeks on the Top 100...
    And both songs peaked at #1 on Billboard's Hot R&B Singles chart; "Girlfriend" for 2 weeks on April 14th, 1988 and "Mercedes Boy" for 1 week on May 15th, 1988...
    Pebbles, born Perri Arlette McKissack, will celebrate her 53rd birthday in three months on August 29th {2017}...
    * The two weeks "Mercedes Boy" was at #2, the #1 record for both those weeks was "The Flame" by Cheap Trick.
  • Keith from Philadelphia, PaThis song was given to Vanessa Williams first she even recorded it, but for some reason it was given to Pebbles.
  • Jennifer Harris from Grand Blanc, MiThis song reminds me of a late friend of mine,named Mary Allman,her ex-fiancee cheated on her.I believe.Before she died She gave back his ring,and she bought a dress to the CMH dance.
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