Maurice Starr

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Maurice Starr
Birth nameLarry Curtis Johnson
Born1953 (age 66–67)
Deland, Florida
GenresR&B, electro, funk, pop, black gospel
Occupation(s)Record producer, musician, songwriter
InstrumentsPiano, guitar
Years active1970s–present
Associated actsThe Johnson Brothers, Jonzun Crew, New Edition, New Kids on the Block, Five Young Men

Maurice Starr (AKA 'The General') (born Larry Curtis Johnson, 1953) is an American musician, songwriter, and record producer. Although he has attempted a solo musical career, he is best known for his work creating songs and albums with pop and soul bands such as Con Funk Shun, New Edition, and the New Kids on the Block.[1]

Early life[edit]

Originally from Deland, Florida, Johnson moved to Boston, Massachusetts, in the early 1970s.


Johnson was a member of The Johnson Brothers (not to be confused with The Brothers Johnson from Los Angeles, California) and the seminal electro group known as the Jonzun Crew with brothers Michael Jonzun and Soni Jonzun. In 1980, Johnson changed his name to Maurice Starr and recorded two R&B albums, Flaming Starr and Spacey Lady. Unsuccessful as a solo artist, and described as "a cross between Berry Gordy and P.T. Barnum,"[2] Starr decided to create a band to perform the songs that he wrote.

In 1982, Starr discovered the band New Edition on his talent show. He co-wrote and co-produced their debut album with the hits, "Candy Girl", "Is This The End", and "Popcorn Love". Subsequent to the album's success, creative differences resulted in Starr and New Edition parting ways. The group continued to produce a number of U.S. Top 10 R&B hit singles throughout the '80s, including the top 5 hit ("Cool it Now") in the Billboard Hot 100.

In 1984, Starr created New Kids on the Block, a band consisting of five male teenagers, brothers Jonathan and Jordan Knight, Joey McIntyre, Donnie Wahlberg, and Danny Wood. Starr intended New Kids on the Block to be a white version of New Edition; he stated "I honestly believe that if they'd been white, [New Edition] would have been 20 times as big."[3] By 1989, New Kids On The Block was the fastest-rising act in the United States. Starr handled the group’s lucrative marketing of posters, T-shirts, and other spin-offs.[2][4][5]

Starr later attempted to repeat his success with artists such as Perfect Gentlemen, Rick Wes, Homework, the Superiors, Heart Body & Soul, Classic Example, Tommy Page and Ana.[2] None of these groups attained anything like the massive popularity of New Edition and New Kids on the Block.

Most recent work[edit]

Starr manages NK5, another boy band he assembled. Like his earlier successful boy bands, he produces and writes the group's songs.




See also[edit]


  1. ^ "White Singers + Black Style - Pop Bonanza". The New York Times. 11 March 1990. Retrieved 17 March 2017.
  2. ^ a b c "Maurice Starr - Biography & History - AllMusic". Retrieved 17 March 2017.
  3. ^ "Starr Maker". Retrieved 31 January 2013.
  4. ^ McKenna, Kristine (9 September 1990). "10 QUESTIONS : Donnie Wahlberg of New Kids on the Block". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 17 March 2017.
  5. ^ Hunt, Dennis (4 June 1989). "Young, Gifted and Sounding Black : New Kids on the Block are the Osmonds with soul, sings their creator". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 17 March 2017.
  6. ^ "Homework". Retrieved 17 March 2017.