Monday, July 30, 2012

New Edition - Candy Girl

For better or worse (mostly worse), New Edition created the template that would be used by boy bands during the 1980s and 1990s.  Unlike many other boy bands, though, New Edition was an actual group, and the members -- Ricky Bell, Michael Bivins, Bobby Brown, Ronnie DeVoe and Ralph Tresvant -- all grew up in Boston.

The group was spotted by promoter Maurice Starr at a talent show, who signed them to a recording contract in spite of the fact that they came in second.  Star modeled the band after the Jackson 5 (in fact, the name signified that they were a 'New Edition' of that group) and actively shaped their sound and image -- for example, he co-wrote "Candy Girl" and played guitar and synthesizers on the Candy Girl album.

"Candy Girl" was a success -- it peaked at #46 on the charts (and also became a #1 hit in the UK).  However, in an infamous story, the boys (they were 13 to 15) were dropped off after their first tour and handed checks for $1.87 each (they rest was spent on tour expenses, they were told).  Unsurprisingly, the band lawyered up, eventually firing Star and signing a lucrative contract with MCA.

From there, New Edition would go on to much larger success, with four consecutive gold or platinum LPs.  Later, both Bobby Brown and Bell Biv DeVoe found solo success, and in Bell Biv DeVoe's case, became one of the originators of what became known as New Jack Swing.

Maurice Starr would quickly move on and form a white version of New Edition, which he named the New Kids on the Block.

While "Candy Girl" is not groundbreaking, it is a solid updated version of the Jackson 5 sound.  The video (which I don't ever recall seeing on MTV) is the band singing and dancing around Boston, I believe.  And yes, they guys were really young back then.

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