I could write an entire article about the disappearance of the R&B group (matter of fact, I think I will at some point), but back in the late Eighties, there was no shortage of solid multi-member units. Check out the list of nominees for Best Album by a Duo, Group of Band at the 1989 Soul Train Music Awards. You had Guy’s influential debut album, which set the stage for the burgeoning hip-hop/R&B fusion. There was “Who?”, the solid debut from a trio out of Oakland named Tony! Toni! Tone!. LeVert followed up on their breakthrough hit “Casanova” with their third album, called “Just Coolin'”, and New Edition returned with a new member and a grown-up image. Producers Jimmy Jam & Terry Lewis used some of the same magic they’d worked on Janet Jackson with “Control” and turned the former “Candy Girl” singers into the modern-day Temptations thanks to jams like “If It Isn’t Love” and “Can You Stand the Rain”. The stellar efforts of producers and artists won N.E. their very first Soul Train Award, and the clip is memorable for a couple of reasons.
-The presenters (the late Jam Master Jay is joined by protege DJ Hurricane of Afros/Beastie Boys fame as well as Johnny Kemp)
-The fashion choices (with a special spotlight on Michael Bivins)
N.E. has been back in the news lately, as on-again/off-again member Bobby Brown is apparently now back on, and one gossip site reported that Bobby’s return would coincide with the departure of founding N.E. member Mike Bivins. Allegedly, Johnny Gill was working behind the scenes to oust Biv from the group, a rumor that has vehemently been refuted by Gill himself as well as the other members of New Edition on their Twitter page. This group has had as much drama over the years as they have had hits, so this is nothing new. Fortunately, though, for fans such as myself, the rumors of Bivins’ ouster are false.