Pebbles

Although dance-pop singer Pebbles scored several hit singles on her own during the '80s, she became best-known as the manager (and creator) of one of the genre's biggest hit machines the following decade. Born Perri Arnette McKissack in Oakland, California, on August 29, 1964, the singer (who is the cousin of R&B singer Cherelle) got her start in the early '80s as a backup singer for percussionist/band leader Bill Summers and the funk outfit Con Funk Shun, helping co-pen one of the latter band's hits, "Body Lovers." By the end of the decade, however, McKissack was ready to strike out on her own, going by the name Pebbles and signing a recording contract with MCA. The singer's self-titled 1988 debut featured contributions from both Babyface and Michael Sembello (as well as renowned producer L.A. Reid, who Pebbles would eventually marry), and spawned a pair of Top Five hits, "Girlfriend" and "Mercedes Boy," pushing the album to platinum status stateside.