New Edition's original members were Michael Bivins, Bobby Brown, Ricky Bell, Ralph Tresvant, and Ronnie DeVoe. Bobby and Ralph knew each other since they were little kids. When they got older, they would DJ at local parties and were known as Click and Clack. Their best known appearance was at the Dealborn Middle School's Halloween party.
Ricky and Ralph met on a basketball team called the "Celtics" that was organized by the Orchard Park Community Center. The first time they performed together was in a middle school play called "Death After School." Ralph got stabbed after school by Ricky, who played the villain. Not long after "Death After School", they joined the drill team together. It was when they were singing a capella of Michael Jackson's "Rock With You" that the drill team captain asked them if they wanted to make a record. Of course they did want to, but they never actually made a record. Ralph one said that they also used to do book reports together, and they were known as the Double R Connection.
Ricky was in a group, founded by Brooke Payne, who picked the name "New Edition" out of a hat. Mike Bivins once said that they formed the group because "We wanted to do things that we didn't have money for like going to the movies or just spending spare change. So, we figured we would go out and work together as a group and get it."
The original members of New Edition were Ricky Bell, Michael Bivins, and Bobby Brown. The three performed around Boston from 1978-79, but they never really got anywhere with it. One day 1980, Ralph and Ricky were playing basketball together when Bobby and Mike came and told Ricky that there would be a practice the next day. Ralph asked him what the practice was for, and Ricky told him about New Edition. He said that they were looking for a fourth member, so they invited Ralph to join. The four sang "Holding On" by LTD at a talent show held at Bobby's sister's house and won first prize of $10.
Ronnie DeVoe, Brooke Payne's nephew, was already in a group called the Dramatics and was recruited to the group in 1980. Together, Ronnie, Ricky, Mike, Ralph, and Bobby performed around Boston.
New Edition's first professional debut was at the Strand Theatre's Hollywood Talent Night in Boston. They sang "The Love You Save" by the Jackson Five. They came in second place, but producer Maurice Starr liked them, so he signed them to his independent label, Streetwise Records. The first song they recorded, "Candy Girl", took two years to produce. But major record companies complained about their voices and thought it was not well made. However, it was released on Streetwise Records, and came out in March 1983. Even though the other record companies didn't like it, the fans, especially girls, sure did!! It topped the charts in the UK and Canada!! Therefore, they had to record a whole album. The album, titled Candy Girl, featured hits like "Is This The End", "Popcorn Love", "Jealous Girl", "She Gives Me A Bang", and of course, "Candy Girl."
In 1984, New Edition left Streetwise Records and signed with MCA Records. It took three months to record New Edition. NE wrote two songs called "Kinda Girls We Like" and "I'm Leaving You Again" on the album. This album had hits such as "Mr. Telephone Man", "My Secret", "Lost In Love", and the #1 hit "Cool It Now." The "My Secret" video had special sports footage with the Lakers and NBA. It was also the first video to use pro sports footage specifically for the video.
That same year, Maurice Starr sued New Edition for their name. He felt betrayed by New Edition for leaving Streetwise for MCA Records, and in a recent Jordan Knight (a former member of New Kids On The Block, who were also discovered by Maurice Starr) biography, he said that he thought he would never trust another group again after what New Edition did but that he did trust New Kids On The Block. Later in the book, he also said that he did not want revenge for New Edition. He did say, however, that he could not listen to New Edition whenever they were on the radio, especially when they were #1 on the charts and doing better than New Kids On The Block.
New Edition must have made the right choice by leaving Streetwise because they lasted a lot longer than New Kids On The Block. New Edition obviously won the case and kept their name. On March 23, 1984 the magistrate, Robert Collins, rejected the argument that the "New Edition" trademark represents a type of " '80s black bubblegum music" conceived by Maurice Starr. He said, "The primary significance of the mark 'New Edition' is not the music but the group. The songs may be written and orchestrated in a unique style, and that unique style may have a name, but it is hard to envision a set of facts where the name would be a mark which belongs to the writer and cannot be used by anyone else."
1985 was a year of photo shoots and a concert tour promoting the self-titled album. However, during this year, New Edition recorded an album called All For Love. Although, their voices were changing that year, the album produced hits such as "Count Me Out", "With You All The Way", and the #1 hit "A Little Bit Of Love (Is All It Takes)." However, "Count Me Out" was the only video released from that album.
Later that year, NE also recorded Christmas All Over The World. Ralph and Ricky penned "The Joy Of Christmas" together, and Ronnie and Mike wrote "Sing Merry Christmas" together on the album. They also remade the Jackson Five's "Give Love On Christmas Day."
They were in two successful Coke commercials, too, which really widened New Edition and Coke's audiences. NE also sang "My Secret" in the movie "Krush Groove."
In 1986, Bobby left the group to pursue a successful solo career. He was known as one of the biggest entertainers in R&B music. During that year, Ronnie, Ralph, Mike, and Ricky recorded Under The Blue Moon which was a collection of cover tunes.
After the Under The Blue Moon album, NE looked for a member to fill Bobby's place. But they didn't want anybody from the streets. They wanted someone with some status. They were friends with Johnny Gill, who had a few albums on his own already. On the "Past and Present" video, Ralph said that they had always joked that if Johnny could hit a certain dance step right, he could join the group. This time, however, he really did join the group.
Heart Break, New Edition's first album with Johnny, was released in 1988. It spawned hits such as "N.E. Heart Break", "You're Not My Kind Of Girl", "If It Isn't Love", "Crucial", and "Can You Stand The Rain." They also made appearances on shows such as Soul Train and The Arsenio Hall Show. They had a very successful tour with opening acts Bobby Brown and Al B. Sure! But in 1989-1990, they decided to go their separate ways. History is about to be made......
Ricky Bell, Michael Bivins, and Ronnie DeVoe formed the very successful Bell Biv DeVoe. Their debut album Poison spawned the hits "When Will I See You Smile Again?", "B.B.D. (I Thought It Was Me)!", "Do Me!", and the title track, just to name a few. Johnny Gill released another solo album with the smash hit "My, My, My." Ralph Tresvant was the one everyone thought would be the first to go solo, but he ended up actually being the last. He had a song called "Sensitivity" that was #1 on the R&B charts for 20 weeks and #4 on the Pop charts for 20 weeks. Other hits included his duet with Bobby Brown called "Stone Cold Gentleman" and the ballad "Do What I Gotta Do." He also appeared in the movie "House Party 2" and sang a song called "Yo, Baby, Yo!" on the soundtrack. Bell Biv DeVoe also did a remix of a song from the Poison album called "Let Me Know Something?!" on the soundtrack.
With their solo projects, New Edition introduced a new sound to the music industry called New Jack Swing. This sound was a mix of hip-hop and R&B. Today, almost every artist uses this sound in their music, including people like TLC and the Backstreet Boys.
The next few years weren't as big for the branches of New Edition, so they got back together again for a reunion. They all had said during their solo interviews that they would reunite, but some people think they just did it for money. Home Again, their reunion album, which was released in 1996, wasn't an overnight project. The group got back together in about 1994 and began recording. The members were busy doing interviews for their latest solo albums and working on the project at the same time, so even fans began to wonder if it was really going to happen. Some people think that the reason the album came out so late was because they had fights or other problems. According to Johnny Gill the only problem was really just getting all the members together at the same time for meetings or recording sessions. Johnny also says that the reason the album came out late was that, "There are families, there are kids, there are other obligations that we all had. We've always believed that things happen in a sense when they're supposed to happen."
The first single from the album was released in 1995 and was called "Hit Me Off." It became number one on the R&B charts. Although it didn't last long, Home Again was also #1 on the album charts.
The next single was "I'm Still In Love With You." This became a crossover top 10 hit. In fact, it was so big that New Edition even recorded a Spanish version of it called "Siempre Tu" in early 1997.
In 1996 and 1997, New Edition went on tour, with Keith Sweat, Blackstreet, and 702 as their opening acts, to promote the reunion album. Fans have said that while it was great tour, it wasn't as good as the Heart Break tour. They had to cancel a few shows due to family problems, members getting sick, etc. Mike and Bobby were both absent on the second half of the tour in the summer of 1997 for unknown reasons. Although there were rumors of fighting among the members, Ralph has said that he does not remember the fights.
In November of 1998, New Edition released Lost In Love: The Best Of Slow Jams. This album contains hits from New Edition, Bobby Brown, Ralph Tresvant, and Bell Biv DeVoe, and also "Old Friends," which was recorded for the reunion album but was one of the songs not featured on it.
One of the sad things about New Edition is that most people do not recognize what they have done for the music business, especially Pop and R&B music. If New Edition was never discovered, some of the hottest groups would probably not be here such as New Kids On The Block, Boyz II Men, the Backstreet Boys, *N Sync, and 98 Degrees.
After seeing New Edition's success, Maurice Starr got the idea of creating a white New Edition, which turned out to be New Kids On The Block. The (airplane) pilot for New Kids On The Block was inspired to discover a group of his own, so he founded the Backstreet Boys. When the Backstreet Boys made it big in the United States, the same person decided to make another group, *N Sync. New Edition member Michael Bivins discovered Boyz II Men when they snuck backstage at a Bell Biv DeVoe concert. The members of 98 Degrees heard about what Boyz II Men did, so they tried the same thing at a Boyz II Men concert.
While many people refuse to admit it, New Edition is really the father group of boy bands. Some may argue that the Jackson Five were really the fathers, and while that is not completely wrong, New Edition has always had their own sound and even started a sound used by most groups today. Their style of music - beat box meets Motown - is what separated them from the Jackson Five.
NEWS: New Edition on 106 & Park airing August 2 ~ Performance September 4th at the Tom Joyner Family Reunion in Orlando ~ New single and album release date CLICK HERE for more information and other current news.
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NEW EDITION GALLERY (OVER 100 PICS!)
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