|Released August 20, 1982|
|Recorded November, 1981– April, 1982|
Length 4:40 (album version)3:43 (single edit)
After releasing their lowly-received self-titled album, the group quickly returned to the studio to record their second album. Choosing to add younger brother James and shortening their name to simply DeBarge, the group returned to Motown's recording studios determined to produce a hit.
The song was musically composed by El DeBarge, who also produced the track with Iris Gordy, with lyrics provided by Randy, El and sister Bunny, who composed the much-copied bridge. During the production, Iris Gordy advised El to reach higher notes near the end of the song, causing a concerned El to tell her, "no Iris, stop, you're trying to make me sound like Bobby." Iris retaliated with, "you better thank your lucky stars if you sound even close to Bobby."
El DeBarge nailed the high notes in the first take. Randy DeBarge was the lead singer for the verses, with El singing the bridge and carried on singing until the end of the track. The song also featured a sing-along type unified harmony which was arranged by El and Bunny DeBarge.
"I Like It" was released in August 1982 and became the band's first huge hit, peaking at number two on the R&B singles chart while crossing over to the pop singles chart, where it peaked at number 31, helping to make their All This Love album go gold.
It's remained a covered and sampled track in R&B and hip-hop music since its release with some of its lyrics and melodies interpolated or recalled in other songs. The El-sung bridge, "I like the way you comb your hair/and I like the stylish clothes you wear/it's just the little things you do/that shows how much you really care", has been often repeated.
The original song is deemed a "Motown classic" by fans of the label's sound. R&B trio Jomanda covered it in 1991, while artists such as Nelly, LL Cool J, Beyoncé, Grand Puba and Warren G have sampled the song. In July 1993, Jomanda's cover reached #83 on the Billboard Hot 100 and #69 on the Cash Box Top 100.
In a tribute to Motown acts, Chico DeBarge performed the song at the Soul Train Music Awards in 2009 surprisingly hitting the high notes his brother El had hit in the original recording; Chico is known for singing predominantly in the tenor range.
(De Barge version:)