The Manhattans

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The Manhattans
OriginJersey City, New Jersey, U.S.
GenresRhythm and blues
Years active1962–present
LabelsCarnival Records, Columbia Records, King Records
Members
Edward "Sonny" Bivins (original member)
Alvin Pazant
Harsey Hemphill
Charles Hardy
Lee Williams
Past members
Gerald Alston
*Winfred "Blue" Lovett
*George "Smitty" Smith
*Kenny "Wally" Kelley
*Richard "Ricky" Taylor
Roger Harris
Wade Taylor
* = Original members
 
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The Manhattans
OriginJersey City, New Jersey, U.S.
GenresRhythm and blues
Years active1962–present
LabelsCarnival Records, Columbia Records, King Records
Members
Edward "Sonny" Bivins (original member)
Alvin Pazant
Harsey Hemphill
Charles Hardy
Lee Williams
Past members
Gerald Alston
*Winfred "Blue" Lovett
*George "Smitty" Smith
*Kenny "Wally" Kelley
*Richard "Ricky" Taylor
Roger Harris
Wade Taylor
* = Original members

The Manhattans are an American popular R&B vocal group, with a string of hit records spanning four decades. Their best known million-selling songs being "Kiss and Say Goodbye" and "Shining Star" in 1980 (not to be confused with "Shining Star" by Earth, Wind & Fire, which was a completely different song of 1976).[1]

Contents

Early history

The Manhattans, originally from Jersey City, New Jersey, formed in 1962 with members George "Smitty" Smith, Edward "Sonny" Bivins (born January 15, 1942, Macon, Georgia), Winfred "Blue" Lovett (born 16 November 1943), Kenny "Wally" Kelley (born Kenneth Kelley, January 9, 1943, New Jersey), and Richard "Ricky" Taylor. Bivins, Lovett, and Kelley were graduating from Lincoln High School, while Taylor and Smith were graduating from Snyder High School. All five enlisted in the armed forces and came together as a group following their discharges from their respective branches.

The group's first single was "For the Very First Time," released in 1964 by Carnival Records. They continued recording successfully with songs written by various members of the group. In 1968, the group received the "Most Promising Group" award by NATRA. In 1969, the group moved to the De Luxe record label, a subsidiary of King Records, subsequently embarking on a college tour. While playing at Kittrell College in North Carolina, the group met another group, the New Imperials, featuring Gerald Alston, nephew of The Shirelles' lead singer, Shirley Alston-Reeves. They were so impressed with Alston that they asked him to join the group, but he declined.

Misfortune hit the group late in 1970 when George Smith fell down a flight of stairs and later took ill. Unable to perform, the group began to search for a new lead. First they attempted to woo The Cymbals' lead, Lee Williams, but he was unwilling to leave them. The group then renewed their request to Gerald Alston (born November 8, 1951, North Carolina), who accepted and took over the lead spot. George Smith died of a brain tumor on December 16, 1970.

The Manhattans continued recording throughout the 1970s with Alston singing lead vocals. They struck chart gold in 1976 with "Kiss and Say Goodbye," written by Blue Lovett and arranged/co-produced with the group by the Philadelphia-based record producer Bobby Martin, a former member of the MFSB band of session musicians. The song quickly became a #1 chart topper on both the US Billboard Pop and R&B charts. It also became only the second single to go platinum[citation needed], after the RIAA introduced the award in 1976. Taylor left in 1976 to concentrate on his conversion to Islam. He died in 1987 after a long illness. The group continued as a quartet, and found further success in March 1980 with the release of "Shining Star," which reached #5 on the Billboard Hot 100 and #4 on the R&B Chart. Produced and co-written by the Chicago-based record producer, Leo Graham, it received a Grammy Award the following spring.

The group celebrated its 20th anniversary in 1985 with the release of Too Hot To Stop It. It included the Bivins/Smith penned "We Were Made As One," originally recorded in 1966 but covered in an a cappella, doo wop style to emphasize the group's doo wop roots. The album was also dedicated to George Smith.

The group continued until 1988. That year, Alston left to record as a solo artist, scoring with several major R&B hits in the late 1980s and early 1990s for Motown. Roger Harris was recruited as the new lead singer for the group, which moved to the new label, Valley Vue, when their Columbia recording contract expired.

Later history

The group's largest shake-up occurred in 1990, when Blue Lovett left due to health problems, and Kenny Kelley returned to college to pursue his PhD. Bivins, now the only remaining original member, took over management of the group. He recruited new members Alvin Pazant, Harsey Hemphill, and Charles Hardy, bringing the group back to a quintet. Harris proved to be only a short-term lead, however, as he left in 1991, and was replaced by Wade Taylor. Taylor left a few months later. Bivins then recruited Lee Williams, the person whom they had originally wanted to replace George Smith.

The current line-up of the group is Bivins, Williams, Pazant, Hemphill, and Hardy. They released the CD Manhattans Now in 1994, and in recent years the group has been featured in the play, Girl, He Ain't Worth It. In 1996, they began recording under their own label, Manhattans Entertainment Inc.

For what would be their 30th reunion, former member Blue Lovett decided to return to the music scene with his own Manhattans in 1995, bringing back Gerald Alston as lead vocalist in his group. They are currently a quartet with Troy May and David Tyson, brother of The Temptations' Ron Tyson. In the past, the group also featured Eban Brown, now the lead vocalist for The Stylistics. This group has also released some CDs, including Even Now. This group was featured in two PBS specials.

Alston appeared on Wu-Tang Clan's album, 8 Diagrams, on the song "Stick Me for My Riches" in 2007.

Discography

Studio albums

YearAlbumChart positions[2][3]US
certifications
[4]
Record label
USUS
R&B
UK
1966Dedicated to You19Carnival
1967For You and Yours
1970With These HandsDe Luxe
1972A Million to One35
1973There's No Me Without You15019Columbia
1974That's How Much I Love You16059
1976The Manhattans16637Gold
1977It Feels So Good6812Gold
1978There's No Good in Goodbye7818
1979Love Talk14120
1980After Midnight244Gold
1981Black Tie8621
1983Forever by Your Side10417
1985Too Hot to Stop It17144
1986Back to Basics
1989Sweet TalkValley Vue
2001Even Now83Beemark
2007Reachin' for the SkyKRB Music
2008Men Cry TooS.D.E.G.
"—" denotes the album failed to chart or was not certified

Live albums

YearAlbumChart positionsRecord label
USUS
R&B
UK
1999Live from South AfricaClassic World
"—" denotes the album failed to chart

Compilation albums

YearAlbumChart positions[2]Record label
USUS
R&B
UK
1980Greatest Hits8718Columbia
1990Dedicated to You: Golden Classics, Part 1Collectables
Sing for You & Yours: Golden Classics, Part 2
1995The Best of the Manhattans: Kiss and Say GoodbyeColumbia/Legacy
2000Love Songs
2002Super Hits
I'm the One That Love ForgotCollectables
2008Sweet Talking Soul 1965-1990Shout! Factory
"—" denotes the album failed to chart

Singles

YearSingleChart Positions[3][5]
USUS
R&B
US
A/C
UK
1964"For the Very First Time"
"There Goes a Fool"
1965"I Wanna Be (Your Everything)"6812
"Searchin' for My Baby" (A-side)13520
"I'm the One That Love Forgot" (B-side)135
"Follow Your Heart"9220
1966"Baby I Need You"9622
"Can I"23
"I Bet'cha (Couldn't Love Me)"12823
"It's That Time of the Year"
1967"All I Need Is Your Love"
"When We're Made as One"31
"I Call It Love"9624
1968"I Don't Wanna Go"
"'Til You Come Back to Me"
1969"The Picture Became Quite Clear"
1970"It's Gonna Take a Lot to Bring Me Back"36
"If My Heart Could Speak"9830
"From Atlanta to Goodbye"11348
1971"Let Them Talk"
"I Can't Stand for You to Leave Me"
1972"A Million to One" (A-side)11447
"Cry If You Wanna Cry" (A-side)48
"One Life to Live"1023
1973"Back Up"10719
"Rainbow Week"
"There's No Me Without You"433
"Do You Ever"40
"You'd Better Believe It"7718
"Wish That You Were Mine"19
1974"Summertime in the City"45
"Don't Take Your Love"377
1975"Hurt"97104
1976"Kiss and Say Goodbye"11124
"I Kinda Missed You"467
1977"It Feels So Good to be Loved So Bad"666
"It's You"43
"We Never Danced to a Love Song"9310
1978"Am I Losing You"1016
"Everybody Has a Dream"65
1979"Here Comes the Hurt Again"29
"The Way We Were"/"Memories" (medley)33
1980"Shining Star"542145
"Girl of My Dream"30
"I'll Never Find Another (Find Another Like You)"10912
1981"Do You Really Mean Goodbye?"
"Just One Moment Away"19
"Let Your Love Come Down"77
1982"Honey, Honey"25
1983"Crazy"72463
"Forever by You Side"30
1985"You Send Me"81208
"Don't Say No"60
1986"Where Did We Go Wrong?" (with Regina Belle)42
1987"All I Need"41
1989"Sweet Talk"67
"Why You Wanna Love Me Like That"62
1990"I Won't Stop"79
2001"Nites Like This"
"—" denotes the release failed to chart

References

External links