The year 2023 marks the 40th of anniversary of New Edition’s first album “Candy Girl” (L-R Ralph Tresvant, Ricky Bell, Bobby Brown, Michael Bivins and Ronnie DeVoe). Not pictured is New Edition member Johnny Gill who released his self-titled solo debut 40 years ago (Photo courtesy of Black Promoters Collective).
In March 1983, a tornadic event occurred in R&B that has lasted for 40 years.
Four decades ago next month, Boston boy band New Edition burst onto the scene with their debut single “Candy Girl” on Streetwise Records.
Written and produced by Maurice Starr, who would go on to form another Boston boy band by the name of New Kids on the Block, he envisioned the group as a reincarnation of the Jackson Five for those too young to enjoy “Jackson-mania” in the 1970s.
Numerous hits followed, as well as solo careers and numerous break ups to make ups.
But through it all, Ronnie, Bobby, Ricky, Mike, Ralph and Johnny have always found their way home again to give their fans a bang.
On March 9 in Columbia, S.C., New Edition will kick off their “Legacy Tour,” with special guests Keith Sweat, Guy and Tank, to celebrate their 40th anniversary with their diehard fans that they have dubbed “NE4Lifers.”
Any New Edition fan knows the supergroup must perform certain classics like “Cool it Now,” “Can You Stand the Rain” and “Mr. Telephone Man.”
But with a catalog so vast, which includes spin-off classics like Bell Biv DeVoe’s (BBD) “Poison,” Bobby Brown’s “My Prerogative” and Johnny Gill’s “My, My, My,” inevitably some great tunes will not make the final setlist.
But seeing that the “Legacy Tour” is the celebration of 40 years, can the brothers from Boston and Washington, D.C. add a few unsung gems to the setlist, in addition to some of their newer solo cuts?
Although it is probably too late to change the setlist, RegalMag.com staff created their dream New Edition “Legacy Tour” setlist.
Check it out!
New material from a new album—New Edition has not released an album since 2004’s “One Love” on Bad Boy Entertainment. Although music does not generate the same revenue that it did during their 1980s heyday, the R&B game needs them desperately. Grown folks need true love songs from male singers and not songs by singers trying to be rappers and players. Therefore, why not release a “Legacy” album to accompany the tour?
“All Mine” by Ralph Tresvant featuring Johnny Gill—N.E. fans can anticipate hearing Tresvant’s classic track, “Sensitivity.” But do not sleep on his latest solo joint, “All Mine” featuring Gill. Written by Francesca Richard, Jeffrey Anderson and Gregg Pagani, “All Mine” harkens back to a time when male balladeers put their women on a pedestal via song.
“I’m Still in Love With You” by New Edition—Written and produced by the super duo Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis, “I’m Still in Love With You” is arguably N.E.’s most beautiful ballad. Furthermore, it must be the group’s greatest music video. Many marvel at the vocal chemistry between Gill and Tresvant. But do not sleep on the vocal chemistry shared between Tresvant and Ricky Bell.
“With You All the Way” by New Edition—From their third album “All for Love,” the ballad “With You All the Way” is often forgotten or at least slept on. However, the song was one of their great early love songs. One only must peruse YouTube to see how Tresvant carries the live performances of this song and how his groupmates add to the visual presentation thanks to the great choreography of Brooke Payne.
“Good Enough” by Bobby Brown—From his third LP entitled “Bobby,” the sultry song “Good Enough” is one of the most sensual in the catalog of the “King of R&B.” The video pushed the envelope so much that it had to cause some problems at home with his ex-wife, the late, great Whitney Houston.
“Lost in Love” by New Edition—Back in 1984-85, New Edition’s “Lost in Love” became so big that it is still one of their most popular tracks for day one fans. Although the quintet never made a video for the song, they did perform it constantly on television shows like “Soul Train,” “Solid Gold” and “American Bandstand.”
“Fairweather Friend” by Johnny Gill—Like Brown and BBD, Gill has so many classic solo songs that it probably is extremely difficult to narrow down the list for his solo set. Fans, obviously, want to hear “Rub You the Right Way” and the aforementioned “My, My, My.” However, “Fairweather Friend” is often forgotten during New Edition tours. The track reached number two on the Billboard R&B charts in 1990. Written by Babyface, L.A. Reid and Daryl Simmons, the song is about loyalty and dedication in relationships.
“Perfect” by Johnny Gill featuring Ralph Tresvant—On his “Game Changer II” album from 2019, Gill rekindled the music chemistry he has shared with Tresvant since “Can You Stand the Rain” in 1988. Comedian and director of the “Perfect” video Alex Thomas calls the pair, Two Edition. “Perfect” is a song that all grown folks can relate to as they begin to age and father time starts doing his thing. Despite their women’s maturation, Gill and Tresvant let them know that they are still perfect, naturally.
“Soul of a Woman” by Johnny Gill—This track epitomizes the saying, know thy audience. Although the six members have a large male fanbase that grew up with their music, the heart of their fanbase has always been the lovely ladies. The song features actress Tiffany Haddish as Gill’s lady, who has his sole attention. Gill sang there is nothing like the soul of woman, which encourages a man to keep going, even when he feels like giving up. The song continues N.E.’s brand of praising their woman and catering to them, not putting them down like so many male artists tend to do today.