Brown's second solo album, Don't Be Cruel, not only served as a springboard to mainstream success, it also cemented his standing as the R&B superstar of his day. My Prerogative was the standout track, a global top 10 hit and US No 1, thanks to its unmistakable new jack swing drum beat. From this point, Brown's personal life began to overshadow his career, and so began his evolution into his most famous role: the incorrigible ex-husband of Whitney Houston.
Bobby Brown becomes R&B's first superstar
20 June 1988: Number 20 in our series of the 50 key events in the history of R&B and hip-hop music
Rosie Swash is a senior national news editor for the Guardian. She is deputy editor of the Guardian's Rights and Freedom series