Boyz II Men

  • R&B vocal group from Philadelphia Pennsylvania, formed in 1985. They began as a quartet – tenors Wanya Morris and Shawn Stockman, baritone Nathan Morris, and bass Michael McCary. McCary left the group in 2003 due to health issues, and the group continues today as a trio.
  • Nathan Morris and Marc Nelson started a vocal group in high school in 1985, along with 3 other choir members at the school. The group was named Unique Attraction. In 1987, Wanya Morris joined the group when he became a freshman at the school. The following year, the 3 other choir members graduated and left the group. Nathan, Marc and Wanya recruited Shawn Stockman after hearing him perform a solo in the choir. The 4 members practiced their harmonies in the school bathroom. One day, Michael McCary walked in on a practice and started singing with them. They liked his vocals, and he joined the group.
  • They were inspired by the group New Edition, and they renamed the group Boyz II Men after one of New Edition’s songs. In 1989, they sneaked backstage at a New Edition concert in Philadelphia, to sing for New Edition member Michael Bivins. Bivins and others were impressed, and he gave the group his number. Nate called, and Bivins agreed to manage the group. Before they started recording, Marc Nelson left the group, leaving Boyz II Men as a quartet.
  • They were signed to a recording contract, and their debut album was Cooleyhighharmony, released in 1991. It was a huge hit, selling over 9 million copies, and peaking at #3. The first 2 singles were Motownphilly and a cover of It’s So Hard to Say Goodbye to Yesterday. The songs hit #3 and #2 respectively on the Billboard Hot 100 chart. The album won a Grammy for Best R&B Performance by a Duo or Group.
  • They began a tour in 1992. During the tour, they took time off to record a song, End of the Road, for the soundtrack to the film Boomerang. Originally the song was only on the soundtrack, but it became so big, Cooleyhighharmony was re-released in 1993 with the song included on the album. The song was their biggest hit, their first of 5 #1 singles. It spent 13 weeks at #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart, at the time breaking a longevity record held by Elvis Presley. It won them a Grammy for Best R&B Performance by a Duo or Group.
  • They broke their own record for longevity at #1 twice. Their song I’ll Make Love to You from their 1994 album II remained at #1 for 14 weeks (tying the record set by Whitney Houston for I Will Always Love You in 1992). Then, in 1995, their collaboration with Mariah Carey One Sweet Day from Carey’s album Daydream hit #1 for 16 weeks. This song was ranked first by a Rolling Stone readers poll for Best Collaboration of All Time. It was the most successful song of the 90s, topping the Hot 100 end-of-decade chart.
  • The Boyz II Men album II is their biggest selling record, with over 12 million records sold. In addition to I’ll Make Love to You, the other hit singles from the album were On Bended Knee and Water Runs Dry. The album won a Grammy for Best R&B album, and I’ll Make Love to You won for Best R&B Peformance by a Duo or Group.  
  • Their final #1 song came from 1997’s Evolution album. The song 4 Seasons of Loneliness is the last #1 song ever under the Motown record label.
  • Since 2000, they released 9 more albums, including their most recent, Under the Streetlight, released just last week. In 2003, McCary left the group due to chronic back problems related to multiple sclerosis, and the group has remained a trio since then.
  • Yet another blog about harmony. 1990s R&B was dominated by Boyz II Men. I got hooked on their first hit, Motownphilly. Check out the video – the boys are right out of high school, having fun!

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