Boyz II Men
Synopsis of Pop Music
“I'll make love to you,
Like you want me to,
And I'll hold you tight,
Baby, all through the night...”
Vocal-harmony groups have been around since the dawn of pop music, but none of them have ever been as phenomenally popular or as successful as Boyz II Men. This slick quartet from Philadelphia set the music world on its ear in the 1990’s by using their distinctive four-part harmony sound to create a string of record-breaking hits like “End Of The Road” and “I’ll Make Love To You.” In the process, they became the most successful r&b group of all time.
Boyz II Men began its life as Unique Attraction, a group formed by four students at the Creative and Performing Arts High School of Philadelphia. They got their break when they tracked down Michael Bivins of Bell Biv Devoe at a concert. The group won him over with their a cappella rendition of “Can You Stand The Rain,” a song Bivins had done when he was in New Edition. Bivins became their manager and got them a contract with Motown Records. He also talked them into changing their name to Boyz II Men, a moniker taken from an old New Edition song title.
In 1991, Boyz II Men released their first album, Cooleyhighharmony. Their sweet four-part harmony sound was unlike anything else on the radio at the time and its old-fashioned charm struck a chord with listeners everywhere. As a result, the first Boyz II Men single, “Motownphilly,” quickly shot to #1. It was immediately followed by a #2 hit with “It’s So Hard To Say Goodbye To Yesterday,” a remake of the theme song from Cooley High that swiftly became the prom/graduation theme of choice in high schools across the land. Cooleyhighharmony soon became a #1 smash, selling over 7 million copies and earning 15 different awards (including no less than three Grammy awards).
Boyz II Men’s appeal was further aided by their clean-cut, handsome image, which made them a staple of MTV and teen magazines. They scored their next major hit with “End Of The Road.” This contribution to the soundtrack of the Eddie Murphy comedy Boomerang mixed heart-tugging lyrics with the group’s sweet harmonies to create a smash hit. “End Of The Road” went to #1 for eleven consecutive weeks, breaking a record set by Elvis Presley. At the end of 1993, they released Christmas Interpretations and scored a Top-40 hit with their charming interpretation of “Let It Snow.”
In 1994, Boyz II Men reached new heights of success with their second album, Boyz II Men II. It debuted at #1 and would eventually sell over 11 million copies. Its also lit up the singles charts with “I’ll Make Love To You,” a song whose romantic lyrics neatly matched the group’s old-fashioned style. It stayed at #1 for a total of fourteen weeks, matching the record Whitney Houston set with her mega-hit “I Will Always Love You.” It was followed with another #1 hit in “On Bended Knee.” This feat of two consecutive #1 hits put Boyz II Men in the same league as Elvis Presley, The Beatles, The Bee Gees and Whitney Houston.
Boyz II Men released The Remix Collection in 1995 and scored a hit with “Hey Lover,” a remix of an LL Cool J song the group sang back-up on. That year, they also performed for Pope John Paul II during his visit to America. In 1996, Boyz II Men sang at the Closing Ceremony of the 1996 Olympic Games. They also lent their vocals to “One Sweet Day,” a duet with Mariah Carey. When it was released as a single, it topped the charts for 16 weeks, breaking the record they set themselves with “I’ll Make Love To You.”
After their tremendous success, Boyz II Men took a break while they supervised the building of their own Stone Creek recording studio. In 1997, they returned with Evolution and it quickly produced a #1 hit with the forlorn “4 Seasons Of Loneliness.” “A Song For Mama” was written for the soundtrack of Soul Food and later became a Top-10 hit. Evolution was also notable for being the first album by the group to contain tracks that they wrote and produced themselves. In 1998, they launched Groove, their own clothing line, and toured the U.S. They also performed at the Super Bowl that year.
In 1999, Boyz II Men performed a song called “I Will Get There” for the Prince Of Egypt soundtrack. Most recently, they have recorded songs for the sequel to The Nutty Professor. Although they have already achieved more than enough success for an entire career, Boyz II Men will no doubt continue to make hits for a long time because their smooth, engaging sound is the kind that never goes out of style.
Artist Release History1993 - Cooleyhighharmony
1993 - Christmas Interpretations
1994 - Boyz II Men II
1995 - The Remix Collection (compilation)
1997 - Evolution
2000 - Nathan Michael Shawn Wanya
2000 - Ballad Collection (compilation)
Pop Sub Categoriespop
Essential Music AlbumsCooleyhighharmony (Motown)
Boyz II Men II (Motown)
Band MembersWanya Morris vocals
Michael McCary vocals
Shawn Stockman vocals
Nathan Morris vocals