When we think of Greatest of All Time instantly Michael Jordan, Muhammed Ali and Michael Jackson come to mind, but there could a strong case made that New Edition can be in the conversation as well. Ralph, Ronnie, Bobby, Ricky, Mike, & Johnny coming from the Orchard Park projects of Boston broke ground in 1982 with their first single “Candy Girl,” although Gill would not join the group until 1988.
The Jackson 5 were the original true boy band, but New Edition took it to another level. Some would argue that ‘NSYNC, Backstreet Boys, Boys II Men were best boy band ever based on album sales, but these groups and others got the blueprint from them. However most of these groups either broken up or did not have the mainstay like New Edition.
Their debut album Candy Girl released in 1983 included several chart topping hits like Jealous Girl, Is This The End, and Popcorn Love causing the album to go platinum. In 1984 they signed with MCA to release their sophomore album New Edition. They broke the sophomore jinx with Cool It Now and Mr.Telephone Man scoring them a number 1 album. Brown’s departure was a blessing in disguise because if he wasn’t kicked out who knows where they would be. Johnny Gill would join the group in 1988 for the Heart Break album, thus making them a quintet again.
Bobby Brown would release his sophomore classic Don’t Be Cruel spawning hits like My Prerogative, Don’t Be Cruel, Every Little Step, & Roni.With Brown’s solo success it may have fueled Ralph Tresvant to embark on a solo career as well. So in 1990 Ralph released his platinum self-titled debut containing hits like Sensitivity and Stone Cold Gentleman. Johnny Gill would soon follow in that same year with four chart topping singles like Rub You The Right Way, My,My,My, and Fair Weather Friend among others. Thus leaving Ricky, Mike, and Ronnie to form B.B.D. or Bell Biv DeVoe.
B.B.D would release Poison in 1990 and the album would go on to sell 4 million copies and the would give us the club anthem Poison. They would not stop there also other hits include Do Me, When Will I See You Smile Again? and She’s Dope. They had a major influence in the Hip Hop culture by wearing boots, graffiti coveralls, and sports jerseys.
I think no other group of individuals has been successful as a unit and would go on to be successful as solo artists as well. They continue to sell out shows whether its B.B.D., New Edition, or the Heads Of State (Bobby Brown, Ralph Tresvant, & Johnny Gill). Collectively New Edition has gone on to sell over 35 million records.