Friday, October 14, 2011

Celebrating Boyz II Men

They are what legends are made of, compared often to The Temptations, The Four Tops, Smokey Robinson and the Miracles, and mentioned in the company of Elvis Presley, The Beatles, and Mariah Carey; Boyz II Men are the epitome of soul. The best selling R&B group of all time, Boyz II Men will release their first album containing new material in nine years on October 24th. The album is entitled Twenty, it contains twenty tracks and celebrates the 20th anniversary of when they released their first album, Cooleyhighharmony. The album will contain rerecorded tracks of their previous hits as well as new music which anyone who is a Boyz II Men fan is beyond excited to hear.

Boyz II Men is Nathan Morris, Wanya Morris (no relation), and Shawn Stockman. Michael "Bass" McCrary, an original member of the group retired in 2003 as a result of his ongoing battle with scoliosis. They all grew up in the city of Philadelphia, and all were raised by their mothers with the involvement of their fathers being inconsistent. Many of them talk about losing friends to the streets, some being killed, some going to jail. Going to the High School of Creative and Performing Arts in Philadelphia was a Godsend. It saved their lives, and it turned them into music stars.

Many artists who have followed Boyz II Men have been inspired by them, they've sung their songs and been influenced by their stories. They met in high school and although they started singing together, they weren't all friends at first, but music was the common bond, and ultimately, it's what brought them together. How exactly did they get their record deal? They snuck backstage at a Bell Biv DeVoe concert, bumped into Michael Bivins and sang for him. He told them he was going to try to do whatever he could to get them a record deal.

Their big break came when they recorded End of the Road written by Babyface, L.A. Reid, and Daryl Simmons for the Boomerang soundtrack. That song became one of the biggest selling singles of all time and Boyz II Men's first number one single in 1992. The song remained at number one for 13 weeks breaking a record previously held by Elvis Presley.

Boyz II Men later broke their own record with One Sweet Day, a duet they did with close friend Mariah Carey. One Sweet Day still holds the record for the most consecutive weeks at number one on the Billboard Hot 100 for 16 weeks!

With singles off their II album, I'll Make Love to You and On Bended Knee both reaching the number one spot on the Billboard Hot 100, Boyz II Men became the third artist (the other two are The Beatles and Elvis) to replace themselves at the number one position on the Billboard Hot 100. Because of this, Boyz II Men are the only artists that have stayed at the number one spot cumulatively 50 times, just fourth behind Elvis Presley, The Beatles, and Mariah Carey. They also hold the numbers one, three and four spots for 3 of the longest running singles in music history with One Sweet Day, I'll Make Love To You and End of the Road. These achievements were enough to earn Boyz II Men recognition as Billboard Magazine's most successful musical group of the 1990s.

In a business where artists come and go, Boyz II Men have continually proven to fans and critics that they are here to stay. Those who are not Boyz II Men fans may look at what I have written here as a shameless plug, and maybe it is. However, what I will say is that for all those out there who aspire to sing, look at Boyz II Men and be truly proud that music is something you want to be a part of. These men are more than just musicians but they are role models to anyone who has a dream. Dreams come true. Dreams are not free; there are many sacrifices that go along with them. Being in the music business for 20 years and still being relevant is what makes them so special. Years from now, Boyz II Men will be remembered and not just for the music, but for who they are as people. So I just want them to know that as a longtime fan, I congratulate them on 20 years and here's to 20 more. They are proof that nice guys really can finish first.

This is a preview of what you will be able to find on Twenty; go pick it up on October 24th.

My Boyz II Men Playlist:

It's So Hard to Say Goodbye to Yesterday
Uhh Ahh

End of the Road

In the Still of the Nite
Let it Snow
You're Not Alone

I'll Make Love to You
On Bended Knee

One Sweet Day w/ Mariah Carey
Water Runs Dry
Hey Lover w/ LL Cool J
Brokenhearted Brandy and Wanya Morris

4 Seasons of Loneliness
A Song for Mama
Can You Stand the Rain

Pass You By

The Color of Love

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