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In 1983, five teenagers by the name of Bobby Brown, Ricky Bell, Ronnie DeVoe, Mike Bivins and Ralph Tresvant were signed to Streetwise by producer Maurice Star. New Edition was then formed. Their first single, "Candy Girl" reached #1 in the UK and began a long and prosperous career. Coming from the "Candy Girl" LP came "Popcorn Love" and Is This The End." Their show- stopping live performances established NE as one of the hottest teen acts people had seen since the Jackson 5. In 1984, the group broke ties with Streetwise and signed with MCA. Their second album, "New Edition", produced the hits "Cool it Now" and Mr. Telephone Man." In 1985 " Count Me Out", from the "All For Love" album, peaked at number 2 whilst staying 17 weeks on the chart. Also from the album came "A Little Bit of Love (Is All It Takes)" and "With You All The Way." In 1987, Johnny Gill replaced Bobby Brown, who left to pursue a solo career. "Can You Stand the Rain", which featured Gill, spent 2 weeks atop the R&B charts and remained in the charts for 18 weeks. The album "Heartbreak" was a multi-platinum success for NE and featured "If It Isn't Love" and Boys To Men." It was also the first time they worked with mega-producers Jimmy Jam & Terry Lewis.
Jam and Lewis set the stage for solo projects for Tresvant and Gill and Bell Biv Devoe, which featured Mike, Ricky and Ronnie. In 1990, Bell Biv Devoe released the multi-platinum MCA LP "Poison" which included the title track, "Do Me" and "B.B.D. (I Thought It Was Me)." Gill and Tresvant both released self-titled albums with a couple of hit singles each. Brown enjoyed superstar status after a number of hit singles that saw him become the most successful r&b artist. New Edition has been responsible for spawning five internationally hot acts in eight years, is one of the very few units in pop music history to actually achieve what most successful groups only talk about: to have its individuals find solo success, yet keep the group intact. As if this wasn't enough, Bivins became a successful music executive, discovering and developing through his Biv 10 Entertainment company, the superstar vocal group Boyz II Men, among other acts. Brown has made a fine showing as an actor in films such as "Panther" and "A Thin Line."
"Making another N.E. album with all of us, that was always the plan", said Tresvant, "The record feels like us. It's more than just a collection of grooves. New Edition was all about songs and group participation, and this record has all that."
"The toughest part of making this album was making sure it didn't sound to much like any of our solo projects," says Michael Bivins. "But, at the same time, the great thing about Home Again is that every member makes the music what it is. That's how, after all this time, we can still come together and make a record that has the N.E. vibe."
The germination of Home Again began is 1994, when the members of New Edition, between various solo projects, began discussing the possibilities. "To make another New Edition album was always the plan," says Ricky Bell. "It was just a matter of when. The timing had to be just right.:
Remembers Ronnie DeVoe, "For a while, it was all about 'The Meeting." We'd have one meeting or conference call, get all fired up and everybody would get busy with other things. Then we'd have another meeting to discuss the last meeting. Sometimes it was frustrating."
According to Johnny Gill, there were other creative issues beyond simply getting the group into the studio. "We were concerned that all the guys would have vocal balance on the project. Everyone in the group makes New Edition what it is, so it was important that everyone's talents were felt throughout the album."
And, says Bobby, "When I came on board, it felt like old times. Over the years, a lot has changed. All of us, one way or another, had found success on our own. But once we started laying tracks, it was like, 'Yeah, this is it, this is what we should be doing." However, just because New Edition had reunited didn't mean everything had to magically mesh, and in the beginning, it didn't. Tresvant laughs when he recalls the group's first night in a New York City studio recording "Hit Me Off": "We toasted the session with champagne and everything sounded great. We had fun laying the recording and the vocals, but the next day it sounded horrible. It was the champagne. We had to cut it all over again."
1996's "Home Again" was the first time all six members of NE had recorded together. The album debuted at #1 on the R&B charts and their first single "Hit Me Off" debuted at #1 on the R&B singles chart. "Home Again" was produced by some of the hottest producers in R&B music. They included, Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis, Sean "Puffy" Combs and Chucky Thompson. Home Again is NE as you've never heard them.
It was rumored that Ralph, Bobby and Johnny were going to form a group called the "Stone Cold Gentlemen". But Bobby has come out and said he will not work with New Edition ever again and Johnny Gill has made a group of his own. Featuring Keith Sweat and Gerald Levert, LSG will make a great sound, mainly old school. Ronnie DeVoe said on MTV that after the tour BBD were gonna get back in the studio and that he was also working on his own solo project. Ricky's been making his solo debut for some time now and Ralph said at the concerts that a new album was also along the way. Bobby's new album "Forever" will be released in October. It seems certain that there will not be another NE album for some time.
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