Friday, February 1, 2008

BOYZ II MEN - Motown a Journey throught hitsville USA


This versatile close-harmony soul unit enjoyed an almost unprecedented level of success during the early 90s, beginning with 1991's US Top 3 debut single "Motownphilly". The original line-up comprised Wanya "Squirt" Morris (b. 29 July 1973, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA), Michael "Bass" McCary (b. 16 December 1972, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA), Shawn "Slim" Stockman (b. 26 September 1972, USA) and Nathan "Alex-Vanderpool" Morris (b. 18 June 1971, USA).
The four men met at the Philadelphia High School Of Creative And Performing Arts, forming the band in 1988. Michael Bivins of Bell Biv DeVoe took the quartet under his wing and brought them, fittingly, to Motown Records. Their debut album was one side dance, one side ballad, and was a huge seller in the USA. By the middle of 1993 the album was still high on the US chart with sales of over seven million copies. The previous autumn, the soundtrack song "End Of The Road" topped the US charts for a mammoth 13 weeks and provided the quartet with a UK chart-topper.

The winning formula was repeated with uncanny accuracy in 1994, with the follow-up album (imaginatively titled II) becoming a huge hit. It spawned three of the best-selling singles in US chart history, with "I'll Make Love To You" (at the top for 14 weeks), "On Bended Knee" (at the top for 6 weeks) and "One Sweet Day" (with Mariah Carey, number 1 for an astonishing 16 weeks). Evolution featured all-star contributions from Sean "Puffy" Combs, Keith Crouch, Babyface and Jimmy Jam And Jerry Lewis.

The quartet set up their own label, Stonecreek, and after a three year hiatus launched Nathan Michael Shawn Wanya onto a market now saturated with a new generation of R&B vocal groups. The quartet's brand of smooth, inoffensive soul, though classy as always, struggled to make a commercial impact in a less discerning and more sexually explicit climate.
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