Synopsis of Pop Music
"Cool it now, you've got to slow it down,
Slow it down, you're gonna fall in love..."
Few r&b groups have achieved the same level of staying power and influence as the onetime kiddie supergroup New Edition. What started as an informal singing group made up of five elementary-school kids eventually became a hit-making combo whose slick blend of pop hooks and r&b rhythms paved the way for future ‘boy bands’ like New Kids on the Block and N’Sync. New Edition also spawned an endless array of successful solo careers and side-groups that dominated both the pop and r&b charts during the late 80’s and early 90’s.
The group’s members formed New Edition during their middle school years and quickly became a popular (and prize-winning) attraction at local talent shows in Boston. They were seasoned vocalists by the time they caught the eye of Maurice Starr, the same producer who would later mastermind the success of New Kids On The Block. He got the boys a residency at New York’s Copacabana club and sent them into the recording studio. The result was “Candy Girl,” which wrapped the boys' soulful but sweet voices around a bubblegum-soul confection. It hit #1 on the r&b charts and also went to #1 in the U.K.
In 1983, New Edition followed their first success with another major r&b chart hit, “Popcorn Love,” and a full album called Candy Girl. The next year, they crossed over to the pop charts with their bouncy Top-5 hit “Cool It Now.” It was a solid entry in their bubblegum-soul style that was given additional spice by a brief rap section near the end, thus making it one of the first songs to bring rap to the pop airwaves. They also hit big with “Mr. Telephone Man,” a song written by Ray Parker, Jr., the man behind the #1 movie tune “Ghostbusters.” Meanwhile, the group’s self-titled second album entered the Top-10 on the album charts.
In early 1986, New Edition hit the Top-40 with “A Little Bit Of Love” from their successful All For Love album. They scored a massive hit later in the year with their cover of the doo-wop classic “Earth Angel,” which was featured in the film The Karate Kid, Part 2. This hit was also included in the album Under The Blue Moon, which was composed entirely of updated oldies covers like “Earth Angel.” It was also the last album with founding member Bobby Brown, who went on to a solo career and was replaced by Johnny Gill.
New Edition’s next album was Heart Break, produced by star r&b producers Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis—the men behind the controls for Janet Jackson’s megahit Control album. Their cutting-edge r&b production style helped the group score a Top-10 hit with “If This Isn’t Love.” The group also hit #1 on the r&b charts with “Can You Stand The Rain.” After this album, the group decided to split up, with Johnny Gill and Ralph Tresvant pursuing solo work while the rest of the group formed the trio act Bell Biv Devoe.
All the members of the group found major success on both the pop and r&b charts. However, they pleasantly surprised by reuniting in 1996 for the Home Again album. It debuted at #1 on the album charts and spawned two major crossover-hit singles in “Hit Me Off” and “I’m Still In Love With You.” The latter was so popular that it was also released in a Spanish-language version. The album’s massive success and the group's continuing popularity proved that New Edition was one of the few 'boy bands' with serious staying power.
Artist Release History1983 - Candy Girl
1984 - New Edition
1985 - All for Love
1986 - Under the Blue Moon
1989 - Heart Break
1991 - Greatest Hits, Vol. 1
1996 - Home Again
Pop Sub Categoriespop
Essential Music AlbumsGreatest Hits, Volume One (MCA)
Band MembersBobby Brown (1983-87) vocals
Johnny Gill (1987-89) vocals
Ricky Bell vocals
Ralph Tresvant vocals
Michael Bivins vocals
Ronald DeVoe vocals