At the beginning of the 1980s, the term boy band may not have been in vogue, but it was certainly led off by the creation of New Edition.
Formed in 1978, the band brought together three singers: Bobby Brown, Michael Bivins and Ricky Bell, all who had grown up in Boston’s The Bricks neighbourhood.
Two other buddies were also part of the group early on, but soon left and were replaced with Ralph Tresvant and then Ronnie DeVoe.
The band’s first manager named the five New Edition, an illusion to a new version of the Jackson 5.
The band performed all around Massachusetts and in 1982 entered a talent contest to win money and a recording contract. Organized by producer Maurice Starr, the band came in second, but he decided to give them a chance with a contract.
In late 1982 New Edition recorded the album Candy Girl, which was released in early 1983 with the title track as the lead single.
The album hit number one on the Billboard R&B charts, and included follow up hits Is This The End, Popcorn Love and Jealous Girl. Heading out on the road, the boys of New Edition toured all over the US, but came home to find out they had earned a paltry amount of money.
The band members went to court to break their contract with Maurice Starr, and signed a new contract with AMI and their lawyers. In 1984 the band released their self-titled second album which burned up the charts with the singles Cool it Now and Mr. Telephone Man. The band’s album was certified double platinum.
In 1985 the band released their third album All for Love with the singles Count Me Out, With You All the Way and were included in the film Krush Groove. The band did a special holiday EP, Christmas All Over the World, and released an oldies album of 50s classics.
In early 1986 Bobby Brown was voted out of the group, after band members were pressured by AMI to get rid of him due to bad behaviour. Brown was eventually replaced with Johnny Gill, the only non-Boston member of the group and the band parted ways with AMI before releasing their next album.
Produced by Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis, Heart Break was the band’s biggest success with singles If It Isn’t Love and You’re Not My Kind of Girl. Certified double platinum, the band went on an extensive world tour, and had Bobby Brown as one of the opening acts.
Despite the drama of Brown leaving the group and the involvement of their management in their decisions, New Edition were the balladeers of contemporary radio and music video, and were heard everywhere. Although I wasn’t a big fan of the group, I know most of their songs since they were played endlessly everywhere.
By the end of the decade, the band decided to take a break for solo projects and in the next decade came back with Brown to continue the love affair with their audiences.