BOYZ II MEN
R&B vocal quartet, inspired by Motown and Philly, whose aching, tremulous harmonies lifted some of the biggest pop hits of the 1990s.
On August 27, 1994, Boyz II Men started a 14 week run at No.1 on the US singles chart with 'I'll Make Love To You', a No.5 hit in the UK. The record- breaking 14 week stay came to an end when they knocked themselves from the top with 'On Bended Knee'.
I always have enjoyed the vocalizations of Boyz II Men and consider them to be an exceptional R&B group. As with many of their fans, I have to admit that could not possibly name any of the group's individual members; a fact that I contribute to their mellifluous four-part harmonies; so perfectly blended!
However, I had not realized, until doing my research for this post, that the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) has deemed them the most commercially successful R&B group of all time! Indeed, during the first half of the '90s, the group had an amazing string hits; which proved for them to be impossible to repeat!
The group's big break came in 1989, after having snuck backstage at a Bell Biv DeVoe concert and impressed Michael Bivins with an a cappella version of New Edition's "Can You Stand the Rain." Bivins at the time was an aspiring music producer and he offered Boyz II Men a deal on the spot!
Soon afterwards, Boyz II Men entered the studio to record their debut album, Cooleyhighharmony, for the legendary Motown Records. At this time, they called their sound "hip-hop doo wop," although their vocal harmony, even then, was more reminiscent of the R&B sound of the '60s and '70s. Cooleyhighharonty was released in 1991.
The first single from Cooleyhighharmony, the dance track "Motownphilly," quickly climbed the charts and went Top Five on the pop charts and #1 R&B charts. Their a cappella ballad "It's So Hard to Say Goodbye to Yesterday," a cover of a song from the film Cooley High, also hit the pop Top Five and topped the R&B charts, and went gold. The album would go on to wen the group a Grammy for the Best R&B Vocal Performance by a Duo or Group.
Briefly entering the studio in between concert gigs, Boyz II Men cut a smooth Babyface ballad called "End of the Road" for the soundtrack of the Eddie Murphy film Boomerang. Released as a single, it became not just a blockbuster, but one of the biggest hits in history; it spent 13 weeks at number one on the pop charts, an incredible run that broke the record of 11 weeks Elvis Presley had held ever since 1956 with the double-sided single "Don't Be Cruel"/"Hound Dog." "End of the Road" won a slew of awards and cemented Boyz II Men's star status beyond any doubt; while crafting their next album during 1993, the group released a couple of placeholders: a Top Five cover of the Five Satins doo wop classic "In the Still of the Nite," from the TV movie The Jacksons: An American Dream, and the holiday album Christmas Interpretations. (Also that year, Whitney Houston's "I Will Always Love You" broke "End of the Road"'s record with 14 weeks at number one.)
"Honor the past, don't just remember it." Dizzie Gillespie
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