Boyz II Men: Classic 90’s R&B Vocal Group
Boyz II Men is an R & B group from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Founded in 1988 as a quintet, the group would achieve fame as a quartet with Wanya Morris, Michael McCary, Shawn Stockman and Nathan Morris on Motown Records during the early 1990s.
In addition to singing at school, they honed their skills to harmonize singing in corners and on subway platforms, calling themselves Unique Attraction. They got to the backstage of a show at the Philadelphia Civic Center in 1989, where they met their idol, Michael Bivins, who convinced him to listen to his a cappella version of the song “Can you stand the Rain “from the New Edition. Paula Abdul, Cherrelle, Keith Sweat and Kid n ‘Play was also present in this improvised performance. Bivins gave them his phone number, and eventually became his agent, getting them a contract with Motown.
Before the group began recording, Marc Nelson left the group due to personal conflicts, reducing the quintet to quartet and Bivins suggested that they change the name of the band happening to call Boyz II men, name that arose from the title of a song of The New Edition that was in the album Heartbreak.
The band released Cooleyhighharmony in May of 1991. The first single, “Motownphilly”, reached number 3 on the Billboard.
Boyz II Men were also nominated for Best New Artist award, alongside British singer-songwriter Seal, but the Grammy was awarded to singer-songwriter Marc Cohn. Motownphilly was number 1 of R & B Hits and stood as one of the top five pop hits in the US.
In 1992, Boyz II Men teamed up with MC Hammer to tour as a band to do the opening performances. While traveling the country, Khalil Roundtree was assassinated in Chicago.
Future composition of the group called “It’s So Hard to Say Goodbye to Yesterday” was dedicated to him. As a result of this unfortunate experience the song would help to promote the group’s success.
On tour in 1992, Boyz II Men briefly returned to the studio to record the single “End of the Road”, written and produced by Kenneth “Babyface” Edmonds for the soundtrack of Eddie Murphy movie “Boomerang”.
History points out that the song was recorded in less than four hours. This song, released as a single on June 30, 1992, became the biggest hit of Boyz II Men. It reached number one on the Billboard Hot 100 on August 15, remaining for a record of 13 weeks until November 7, 1992.
The renewed Cooleyhighharmony would be reissued in 1993, with “End of the Road” added as a bonus track. At first just appeared in Boomerang as soundtrack. Later, the track entered the collection of singles produced by Michael Bivins, called “East Coast Family, Volume One.”
As far as sales are concerned, Boyz II Men is one of the most successful R & B groups of all time. They have placed five # 1 singles in between 1992 and 1997, and have since sold more than 60 million albums. Three of their number one, “End of the Road,” “I’ll Make Love to You” and “One Sweet Day” (a duet with Mariah Carey) broke records for longer periods of time from a single on # 1 Billboard Hot 100.