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New Edition

Featured Artist: New Edition

New Edition is an R&B group formed in Boston in 1978. The group reached its height of popularity during the 1980s. They were the progenitors of the boy band movement of the 1980s and 1990s and led the way for groups like New Kids on the Block, Boyz II Men, Backstreet Boys and 'N Sync. The group recorded mostly as a quintet. At the height of their early popularity in 1983, the group consisted of Ronnie DeVoe, Ralph Tresvant, Bobby Brown, Michael Bivins, and Ricky Bell. Early hits included songs like 1983's "Candy Girl" and 1984's "Cool It Now",and "Mr.Telephone man". Bobby left in late 1985 to embark on a successful solo career. The group continued for a time with four members, but eventually recruited singer Johnny Gill to record their 1988 album Heart Break. The group went on hiatus in 1990, while its various members worked on side projects, such as the group Bell Biv Devoe.

Gill and Tresvant also recorded successful solo albums. All six members of the group reunited in 1996-1997 for the album Home Again, but during the ill-fated follow-up tour both Brown and Bivins quit the group, and the tour had to be canceled. Various reunions have occurred since, usually with the 1987-1990 lineup, though occasionally also including Bobby Brown. Their last studio release was 2004's One Love. As of 2010, two New Edition descendants were recording and touring: Bell Biv Devoe, and Heads of State, featuring Brown, Tresvant, and Gill. On May 3, 2011 New Edition issued a press release on their official website announcing that all six members were reuniting as New Edition to kick off the 30th anniversary celebration of "Candy Girl" with their fans.

Formation Guided by producer Maurice Starr, the group was formed by Bobby Brown, Michael Bivins, and Ricky Bell, then living in the Orchard Park housing projects (popularly known as "The Bricks" as many housing projects are in the Greater Boston area) in 1978. Bell and Brown soon brought their best friend Ralph Tresvant in on the act, who quickly became their lead singer. They would soon meet a young local group manager named Travis Gresham and choreographer Brooke Payne, who would give them the name New Edition to signify they were a new edition of the Jackson 5. After winning second place in their community talent show in 1980, Payne rounded out the line-up by bringing in his nephew, Ronnie DeVoe.[2] 1982-1985: Beginnings The group would perform all around Massachusetts and would eventually land a spot at a talent show which was run by Maurice Starr.

The first prize was $500.00 and a recording contract. Though New Edition came in 2nd place, Starr decided to bring the group to his studio the following day to record what would become 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 on 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 as 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, hired the law-firm of Steven and Martin Machat and sued Streetwise for relief from a contract that was unenforceable as well as materially breached by Streetwise. The Machat's won the legal game and then secured the group a huge recording deal with MCA after holding a bidding war among all the major recording labels. The band, in need of management, signed with Steven Machat and his two management partners Rick Smith and Bill Dern.

The management company was called AMI and AMI proceeds to break the group both in the urban and pop world. MCA, through the production affiliate of AMI, Jump and Shoot, released the groups 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. AMI releases with MCA 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 the year's end, Christmas All Over The World, a holiday EP, was released as well as an oldies album of tunes from the fifties sang by the group with an 80's production style. All overseen and orchestrated by AMI. 1986: The departure of Bobby Brown In December 1985, under pressure from MCA and their management, the group voted 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 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 The management firm of AMI breaks up and agrees to give up their control of the group as senior partner Steven Machat chose to move on and the group did not wish to be with Bill Dern or Rick Smith any longer. Going the road without AMI, 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 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. "Ralph (who was working on a solo album at the time) felt uneasy with Johnny taking Bobby Brown's place. After Ralph and Johnny laid some vocals the two became very close friends and have been that way ever since." 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. 1990–1995: Solo projects Inspired by the substantial success Bobby Brown was having with his multi-platinum 1988 breakthrough album Don’t Be Cruel, after the run of Heart Break, New Edition went on hiatus to pursue side projects away from the group. At the suggestion of producers Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis—Bell, Bivins and DeVoe formed a trio, Bell Biv DeVoe.

Their 1990 debut album, Poison, went triple platinum. The same year, lead singers Ralph Tresvant and Johnny Gill (who had already recorded as a solo act prior to joining New Edition) also released self-titled solo albums, which also achieved multi-platinum success. Later that year, the group (including Bobby Brown) had a semi-reunion of sorts when they performed at the 1990 MTV Video Music Awards. In 1991, all six members recorded a remix of the Bell Biv DeVoe track "Word To The Mutha!"; Brown, Gill and Tresvant also appeared in the music video. Prior to this, Brown also appeared in the music videos for Bell Biv Devoe's "BBD (I Thought It Was Me)" video, as well as Tresvant's "Stone Cold Gentleman" and "Sensitivity" remix videos. 1996-1997: Home Again reunion By 1996, the members of New Edition had arguably achieved greater commercial success with their own side projects than the group had during its run. However, after having promised fans that there would be a reunion—and still contractually owing MCA Records another New Edition album—the group (with Bobby Brown) reunited to record Home Again, their first new album in eight years.

The album debuted at number one on both the Billboard 200 and R&B Albums chart, and became the most commercially successful album of the group's career, selling over four million copies worldwide. Home Again, meanwhile, produced several hits, including the top ten pop hits: "Hit Me Off" and "I'm Still In Love With You". The ensuing 1997 Home Again Tour, however, would prove disastrous for the group. Despite not having toured together in close to a decade (and over ten years for Brown), old rivalries repeated themselves as if no time had passed. By the middle leg of the tour, both Bobby Brown and Mike Bivins left, ultimately resulting in the tour's end.

Each of the group members again went their separate ways, this time on more hostile terms than ever, resulting in an indefinite hiatus that appeared to be the swan song for New Edition. In November of the same year, Bobby Brown, Ralph Tresvant, & Johnny Gill appeared on Whitney Houston's track "Somebody Bigger Than You and I" featuring singers Faith Evans and Monica for the soundtrack to the film, The Preacher's Wife which stars Houston herself. 2005-present: New beginnings In the fall of 2005, New Edition performed a medley of hits at BET’s 25th Anniversary Special. During their set, they brought Bobby Brown out onstage for an impromptu rendition of their 1985 hit "Mr. Telephone Man". It was later announced on BET and Access Hollywood that Brown has reconciled with New Edition and rejoined the group and will be on the next New Edition album. By January 2006, New Edition announced that the group would launch a new album and tour in 2009. On August 26, 2006, New Edition filmed a concert at the University of South Carolina's Koger Center in Columbia set for a future DVD release, the concert was billed as "Spend the Night with New Edition", a BET special presented by Lincoln with whom the group has advertised. Bobby Brown also made an appearance at the show. Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis are expected to handle 90% of the album's production and writing duties. Also in the works are a bio-book and a biopic (movie) about the group.

In an interview with NJS4ever.com, Bobby Brown spoke about the group's release, as well as mentioning that both he and Johnny Gill were scheduled to release albums in 2008, but neither album materialized. The group (minus Brown) had recorded a new song with New Kids on the Block called "Full Service" for their latest album, The Block. Meanwhile, Brown, Tresvant and Gill have formed a new group called Heads of State, which performed at "The Summit Tour" in 2009. According to Gill, their group name "is inspired by the original name for The Rat Pack called "The Summit" or "The Heads of State". On June 28, 2009, the group performed a medley of Jackson 5 hits in tribute to Michael Jackson on the BET Awards.

Led by Ralph Tresvant, Bobby Brown, and Ricky Bell, New Edition sang and danced through classics such as "I Want You Back", "ABC" and "The Love You Save". On December 20, 2009, Ricky Bell and Johnny Gill joined New Kids on the Block onstage at a House Of Blues benefit show for Toys For Tots in Boston, performing "Full Service" and "This One's For The Children". Johnny Gill confirms that New Edition will reunite once again and will sign with manager Irving Azoff. They are currently signed with Geffen Records and Interscope Records to release a new comeback album. Bobby Brown confirms the possibility of a New Edition/New Kids on the Block concert tour. On July 3, 2011 in New Orleans, Louisiana, all six members of New Edition have reunited at the Essence Music Festival to kick off and celebrate their 30th anniversary tour; which will officially begin early 2012. “This is just the beginning. We’re preparing for a world tour and many other exciting things that we’ll be announcing soon.

The next chapter of New Edition is going to be an incredible celebration to thank our fans for all of their support over the last 30 years,” said Ricky Bell speaking on behalf of the group.

Photo for the slider http://www.newedition20th.com/

 



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