New Edition is a legendary R&B group that has been making music since the 1980s. They are known for their harmonies, dance moves, and hits such as “Candy Girl”, “Cool It Now”, and “Can You Stand the Rain”. In this blog post, I will explore the history, achievements, and legacy of New Edition, and why they are still relevant today.
New Edition was formed in 1978 in Boston, Massachusetts, by five childhood friends: Ralph Tresvant, Bobby Brown, Ricky Bell, Michael Bivins, and Ronnie DeVoe. They were inspired by the Jackson 5 and other Motown groups, and started performing at local talent shows and clubs. They caught the attention of producer Maurice Starr, who signed them to his label and gave them their name. Their debut album, Candy Girl, was released in 1983 and became a huge success, selling over a million copies and spawning three top 10 R&B singles.
However, the group soon faced problems with their contract, which paid them very little royalties and gave them no creative control. They left Starr’s label and signed with MCA Records in 1984, where they had more artistic freedom and a bigger budget. Their second album, New Edition, was another hit, featuring the classic songs “Cool It Now” and “Mr. Telephone Man”. The group also became teen idols, appearing on magazines, posters, and TV shows.
But fame also brought challenges and conflicts. Bobby Brown, who was the most popular and rebellious member of the group, felt overshadowed by Tresvant’s lead vocals and wanted more solo opportunities. He also clashed with the other members over his behavior and attitude. In 1985, he was voted out of the group by the rest of New Edition. He went on to pursue a successful solo career, becoming one of the biggest stars of the late 1980s and early 1990s with his albums King of Stage and Don’t Be Cruel.
New Edition continued as a quartet, releasing their third album, All for Love, in 1985. The album was less successful than their previous ones, but still had some hits like “Count Me Out” and “A Little Bit of Love”. The group also ventured into acting, starring in the movie Krush Groove and the TV series Knight Rider. In 1986, they released a Christmas album called Christmas All Over the World.
In 1987, New Edition made a major change in their sound and image. They recruited Johnny Gill, a former solo artist and friend of Bell’s, to replace Brown as the fifth member. They also teamed up with producers Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis, who had worked with Janet Jackson and Prince. The result was their fourth album, Heart Break, which was a mature and sophisticated masterpiece of new jack swing. The album sold over two million copies and spawned five top 10 R&B singles, including “If It Isn’t Love”, “You’re Not My Kind of Girl”, “Can You Stand the Rain”, “N.E. Heart Break”, and “Crucial”. The group also embarked on a sold-out tour with Al B. Sure! and Keith Sweat.
Heart Break was the peak of New Edition’s career as a group, but it also marked the beginning of their hiatus as they pursued solo projects. Tresvant released his self-titled debut album in 1990,
which featured the number one hit “Sensitivity”. Gill also released his second solo album in 1990,
which included the smash “My My My”. Bell, Bivins, and DeVoe formed a trio called Bell Biv DeVoe (BBD), which blended R&B with hip hop and rock. New Edition are considered one of the pioneers of the new jack swing genre and have sold over 20 million records worldwide.