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The Manhattans in 1972
|Origin||Jersey City, New Jersey, United States|
|Genres||Rhythm and blues|
|Labels||Carnival Records, Columbia Records, King Records|
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 1976's "Kiss and Say Goodbye" and 1980's "Shining Star".
The Manhattans, originally from Jersey City, New Jersey, formed in 1962 with members George "Smitty" Smith (born Dec 18, 1939, Florida), Edward "Sonny" Bivins (born January 15, 1936, Macon, Georgia, died December 5, 2014), Winfred "Blue" Lovett (born November 16, 1940, New Jersey, died December 10, 2014), Kenny "Wally" Kelley (born Kenneth Kelley, January 9, 1941, 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. Original lead singer 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 1973 with the Bivins-written song [There's No me Without You]. Then their biggest song to date was "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, 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 song "Just The Lonely Talking again", originally recorded by The Manhattans on their 1983 album Forever By Your Side, was later recorded by Whitney Houston on her second studio album Whitney (1987).
The group celebrated its 20th anniversary in 1985 with the release of Too Hot To Stop It. It included the Evans/Smith-penned "When We're 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.
The group's largest shake-up was in December 1990, when Kenny Kelley left to return to college to pursue his PhD. Bivins continued along with lead singer Roger Harris who had replaced Gerald Alston in 1988-89 along with new members. He recruited new members Charles Hardy & Harsey Hemphill, who in October 1990 had auditioned for Bivins but didn't come aboard until after Lovett & Kelly left at the end of 1990. In early 1991 Bivins added Alvin Pazant, bringing the group back to a quintet. Harris proved to be only a short-term lead, and in April 1991 he was replaced by Wade Taylor. Taylor was replaced in July 1991 when Bivins recruited Lee Williams, the person whom they had originally wanted to replace George Smith.
In the 2000s, there were two versions of The Manhattans. One version featured founding member Bivins, plus Hardy, Hemphill, Pazant and Williams. They released the CD Manhattans Now in 1994. In 1996 the group formed their own full service music corporation company called Manhattan Entertainment Inc. In 2003 and 2007 they were featured artists in two theater plays, Girl He Aint Worth It and The Chicken Shack. In June 2013, the group released a single called "Just For Tonite" written by Bivins and Pazant.
The other version of The Manhattans featured original founding member Blue Lovett and Gerald Alston, lead singer on the group's biggest hits. Other members include 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 version of the group was featured in two PBS specials and performed at casinos and theaters across the United States. Alston appeared on Wu-Tang Clan's album, 8 Diagrams, on the song "Stick Me for My Riches" in 2007.
Edward "Sonny" Bivins, co-founding member of the Manhattans, died on December 3, 2014. He sang on every Manhattans hit since the group's inception, and in recent years, led a second Manhattans group. Bivins was 78 years old.
Winfred "Blue" Lovett, the group's bass singer and songwriter, died on December 10, 2014, at the age of 74. His bass voice was heard on many Manhattans hits, including the the spoken word intro to "Kiss and Say Goodbye".
Ownership of The Manhattans U.S. trademark is currently in dispute between the two groups. A trial to resolve the dispute is scheduled for late 2015.
|1966||Dedicated to You||—||19||—||—||Carnival|
|1967||For You and Yours||—||—||—||—|
|1970||With These Hands||—||—||—||—||De Luxe|
|1972||A Million to One||—||35||—||—|
|1973||There's No Me Without You||150||19||—||—||Columbia|
|1974||That's How Much I Love You||160||59||—||—|
|1977||It Feels So Good||68||12||—||Gold|
|1978||There's No Good in Goodbye||78||18||—||—|
|1983||Forever by Your Side||104||17||—||—|
|1985||Too Hot to Stop It||171||44||—||—|
|1986||Back to Basics||—||—||—||—|
|1989||Sweet Talk||—||—||—||—||Valley Vue|
|2007||Reachin' for the Sky||—||—||—||—||KRB Music|
|2008||Men Cry Too||—||—||—||—||S.D.E.G.|
|"—" denotes the album failed to chart or was not certified|
|Year||Album||Chart positions||Record label|
|1999||Live from South Africa||—||—||—||Classic World|
|"—" denotes the album failed to chart|
|Year||Album||Chart positions||Record label|
|1990||Dedicated to You: Golden Classics, Part 1||—||—||—||Collectables|
|Sing for You & Yours: Golden Classics, Part 2||—||—||—|
|1995||The Best of the Manhattans: Kiss and Say Goodbye||—||—||—||Columbia/Legacy|
|I'm the One That Love Forgot||—||—||—||Collectables|
|2008||Sweet Talking Soul 1965-1990||—||—||—||Shout! Factory|
|"—" denotes the album failed to chart|
|1964||"For the Very First Time"||—||—||—||—|
|"There Goes a Fool"||—||—||—||—|
|1965||"I Wanna Be (Your Everything)"||68||12||—||—|
|"Searchin' for My Baby" (A-side)||135||20||—||—|
|"I'm the One That Love Forgot" (B-side)||135||—||—||—|
|"Follow Your Heart"||92||20||—||—|
|1966||"Baby I Need You"||96||22||—||—|
|"I Bet'cha (Couldn't Love Me)"||128||23||—||—|
|"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"||96||24||—||—|
|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"||98||30||—||—|
|"From Atlanta to Goodbye"||113||48||—||—|
|1971||"Let Them Talk"||—||—||—||—|
|"I Can't Stand for You to Leave Me"||—||—||—||—|
|1972||"A Million to One" (A-side)||114||47||—||—|
|"Cry If You Wanna Cry" (A-side)||—||48||—||—|
|"One Life to Live"||102||3||—||—|
|"There's No Me Without You"||43||3||—||—|
|"Do You Ever"||—||40||—||—|
|"You'd Better Believe It"||77||18||—||—|
|"Wish That You Were Mine"||—||19||—||—|
|1974||"Summertime in the City"||—||45||—||—|
|"Don't Take Your Love"||37||7||—||—|
|1976||"Kiss and Say Goodbye"||1||1||12||4|
|"I Kinda Miss You"||46||7||—||—|
|1977||"It Feels So Good to be Loved So Bad"||66||6||—||—|
|"We Never Danced to a Love Song"||93||10||—||—|
|1978||"Am I Losing You"||101||6||—||—|
|"Everybody Has a Dream"||—||65||—||—|
|1979||"Here Comes the Hurt Again"||—||29||—||—|
|"The Way We Were"/"Memories" (medley)||—||33||—||—|
|"Girl of My Dream"||—||30||—||—|
|"I'll Never Find Another (Find Another Like You)"||109||12||—||—|
|1981||"Do You Really Mean Goodbye?"||—||—||—||—|
|"Just One Moment Away"||—||19||—||—|
|"Let Your Love Come Down"||—||77||—||—|
|"Forever by You Side"||—||30||—||—|
|1985||"You Send Me"||81||20||8||—|
|"Don't Say No"||—||60||—||—|
|1986||"Where Did We Go Wrong?" (with Regina Belle)||—||42||—||—|
|1987||"All I Need"||—||41||—||—|
|"Why You Wanna Love Me Like That"||—||62||—||—|
|1990||"I Won't Stop"||—||79||—||—|
|2001||"Nites Like This"||—||—||—||—|
|2013||"Just for Tonite"||—||—||—||—|
|"—" denotes the release failed to chart|
- Roberts, David (2006). British Hit Singles & Albums (19th ed.). London: Guinness World Records Limited. p. 346. ISBN 1-904994-10-5.
- "Manhattans, legendary group with Jersey City roots, to be spotlighted in TV documentary". NJ.com. 2014-01-31. Retrieved 2014-07-29.
- "The Dead Rock Stars Club 2014 July To December". Thedeadrockstarsclub.com. Retrieved 18 December 2014.
- "The Manhattans Founding Member Dead At 74". Black America Web. Retrieved 18 December 2014.
- "Gerald Alston and Winfred Lovett dba "The Manhattans" v. Mark Bivins and Edward J. Bivins". Tsdr.uspto.gov. Retrieved 18 December 2014.
- "US Albums Charts > The Manhattans". Allmusic. Retrieved 2010-06-25.
- "UK Charts > The Manhattans". The Official Charts Company. Retrieved 2010-06-25.
- "US Certifications > The Manhattans". Recording Industry Association of America. Retrieved 2010-06-25.
- "US Singles Charts > The Manhattans". Allmusic. Retrieved 2010-06-26.