Monday, August 11, 2008

New Edition

New Edition is an American R&B/Pop group formed in Boston, Massachusetts in 1978, that was most popular during the 1980s.

Guided by producer Maurice Starr, New Edition was originally a trio, but first recorded as a Jackson 5-esque collection of five young black teenage singers, including lead singers Ralph Tresvant, Bobby Brown, and Ricky Bell and rappers Michael Bivins and Ronnie DeVoe. Like the Jackson 5 before them, New Edition became a pop phenomenon, and were big enough to have Madonna as an opening act during their early days. In the early 1980s, New Edition sold more units in the United States than any other teen singing group.
The group was formed by Bobby Brown, Michael Bivins and Ricky Bell in 1978, while living at the Orchard Park housing projects (or what the group and residents of the area calls them popularly as "The Bricks") in the Bell soon brought his best friend Ralph Tresvant in on the act, who quickly became their lead singer. They would soon meet a young local group manager/choreographer named Brooke Payne, who would give them the name, ‘New Edition.’ . After winning a talent show in 1980, Payne’s nephew, Ronnie DeVoe, was then recruited into the group. , Payne rounded out the line-up by bringing in his nephew, Ronnie DeVoe.

1982-1985: Beginnings

The group would perform all around Massachusetts and would eventually land a spot at a talent show which ran by Maurice Starr, where the first prize was $500.00 and a recording contract. New Edition came in 2nd place, but Starr decided to bring the group to his studio the following day and would record their debut album, Candy Girl. Recorded in late 1982 and released in 1983, on Starr’s Streetwise Records, the album featured the hits: "Is This The End," "Popcorn Love," "Jealous Girl" and the title track, which went to number one in both the American R&B singles chart and the UK singles chart.

Returning from their first major concert tour, the boys were dropped back off to their homes in the projects and were given a check in the amount of $1.87 a piece for their efforts. Tour budget and expenses were given as the explanation to why they were not paid more. Due to financial reasons, New Edition parted company with Starr in 1984 (Starr responded by promptly creating the group New Kids on the Block; essentially formatted after New Edition, but with white teenagers.) The group, meanwhile, went on to sign a major label deal with MCA Records, which released their self titled second album the same year. Eclipsing their debut album, New Edition spun off the top five hit "Cool It Now," and the top twenty "Mr. Telephone Man," and went on to be certified double platinum in the United States.

Following the success of the New Edition album, the group was dismayed to learn that while they believed they were signed to MCA Records, in truth, they had actually been misled into signing a deal with an outside production company—which had its own deal with MCA. Each group member borrowed five hundred thousand dollars from MCA in order to disentangle themselves from that deal, which would allow them to continue to record for MCA directly. This, however, put the group into liability with the label, and would force them to continually record simply to get out of debt.

New Edition’s third album, All for Love, was released in the latter half of 1985. While not duplicating the success of its predecessor, the album was certified platinum, and spawned the hits: "Count Me Out," "A Little Bit Of Love (Is All It Takes)," and "With You All The Way." The growing popularity of the group led to a guest appearance (as themselves) in the 1985 film Krush Groove, performing "My Secret."

Toward years end, Christmas All Over The World, a holiday EP, was released.

1986: The departure of Bobby Brown
In December 1985, under pressure from MCA and their management, the group was forced to vote Bobby Brown out, due to behavioral problems. Brown embarked on a solo career in 1986, while New Edition continued to promote All for Love as a quartet. In spite of their financial and internal conflicts, New Edition continued to peak. During this era of the group’s evolution, the group (sans Brown) appeared in the episode of Knight Rider titled 'Knight Song', performing “Count Me Out.” As 1986 wound to a close, they recorded a cover of The Penguins 1954 hit, “Earth Angel” for the soundtrack to The Karate Kid, Part II. The song peaked at #21, and inspired the group to record Under the Blue Moon, an album of doo-wop covers.

1987-1989: The introduction of Johnny Gill
After having already lost a member when Bobby Brown was terminated from the group, New Edition’s future became more uncertain when murmurings began to surface that lead singer Ralph Tresvant was eyeing a solo career as well. To pad his potential departure, singer Johnny Gill was voted into the group by Michael Bivins, Ricky Bell and Ron DeVoe in 1987, despite Tresvant’s ultimately deciding to remain in place. A native of Washington, DC, Johnny Gill is the only non-Boston native among the group’s six members. According to IMDB:

New Edition’s fifth studio release, Heart Break—which also featured Gill as the co-lead vocalist—was released in the summer of 1988. Primarily produced by the production team of Jimmy Jam & Terry Lewis, the album was a departure from the group's previous bubblegum sound, and instead took on a smoother, stronger, and more adult resonance. Spinning off five hit singles: “If It Isn't Love,” “You're Not My Kind of Girl,” “Can You Stand The Rain,” “Crucial” and “N.E. Heartbreak”; Heart Break became New Edition’s most commercially successful album up to that point, certified double platinum in the United States, with worldwide sales of close to four million. The success of Heart Break would launch the group on a very successful concert tour as well in the closing months of 1988; with former member Bobby Brown, and Al B. Sure!, as their opening acts.

Main article: New Edition discography

Studio albums
1983: Candy Girl #111 (US); #22 (US R&B)
1984: New Edition #6 (US); #1 (US R&B)
1985: All for Love #32 (US); #3 (US R&B)
1986: Under the Blue Moon #43 (US); #11 (US R&B)
1988: Heart Break #12 (US); #3 (US R&B)
1996: Home Again #1 (US); #1 (US R&B)
2004: One Love #12 (US); #4 (US R&B)
2008: Candy Girl 25th Anniversary Edition
TBA: Eighth studio album

New Edition Biography
Bobby Brown View the Music Artists Biography Online - Biography - Bobby Brown
Ralph E. Tresvant - Biography

External links
Official Site

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