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US 12-inch vinyl single
Single by Boyz II Men
from the album Cooleyhighharmony
ReleasedApril 30, 1991
Songwriter(s)Dallas Austin, Michael Bivins, Nathan Morris, Shawn Stockman
Producer(s)Dallas Austin
Boyz II Men singles chronology
"It's So Hard to Say Goodbye to Yesterday"

"Motownphilly" is a song by American vocal harmony group Boyz II Men, released in 1991 as their first single from their debut album, Cooleyhighharmony (1991). The song was a success, peaking at number three on the Billboard Hot 100. Michael Bivins, who co-wrote the song, provides a guest rap during the bridge. The song's title is a portmanteau of two of the group's main musical influences: 1960s Motown and 1970s Philly soul.

The accompanying music video for the song was filmed in various locations in the group's hometown of Philadelphia. Two new jack swing groups, Another Bad Creation and Bell Biv DeVoe, are mentioned in the first verse. They appear briefly in the video, as does Sudden Impact, a short-lived R&B group organized by Bivins. Additionally, Questlove appears briefly as a drummer, due to his previous relationship with the group from high school.

Critical reception[edit]

Dele Fadele from NME wrote, "Floating on a cloud through the chequered history of soul, yet inherently modern, Boyz II Men are plotting the new musical map. From Detroit to Philadelphia, this is East Coast style and sass in abundance, mixing and matching MFSB strings, House synth-bass, raps and the ghost of several songs rolled into one. Somewhere in the ever-shifting mix you learn their tale and, if I were Bell Biv DeVoe, I'd prepare to be usurped."[2]

Track listings[edit]



Certifications for "Motownphilly"
Region Certification Certified units/sales
United States (RIAA)[15] Platinum 1,000,000^

^ Shipments figures based on certification alone.

Release history[edit]

Release history for "Motownphilly"
Region Date Format(s) Label(s) Ref.
United States April 30, 1991
  • 7-inch vinyl
  • 12-inch vinyl
  • CD
  • cassette
Motown [citation needed]
Japan August 21, 1991 Mini-CD [16]
United Kingdom December 7, 1992
  • 7-inch vinyl
  • 12-inch vinyl
  • CD
  • cassette


  1. ^ a b c Pitchfork Staff (September 27, 2022). "The 250 Best Songs of the 1990s". Pitchfork. Retrieved October 21, 2022. ...the track, which features classic soul harmonies over a new jack swing beat, as well as a totally gratuitous doo-wop showcase at the end.
  2. ^ Fadele, Dele (November 9, 1991). "Singles". NME. p. 22. Retrieved May 2, 2023.
  3. ^ "Boyz II Men – Motownphilly". ARIA Top 50 Singles. Retrieved May 16, 2023.
  4. ^ a b Lwin, Nanda (2000). Top 40 Hits: The Essential Chart Guide. Music Data Canada. p. 49. ISBN 1-896594-13-1.
  5. ^ "The Irish Charts – Search Results – Boyz II Men". Irish Singles Chart. Retrieved May 16, 2023.
  6. ^ "Boyz II Men – Motownphilly" (in Dutch). Single Top 100. Retrieved May 16, 2023.
  7. ^ "Boyz II Men – Motownphilly". Top 40 Singles. Retrieved May 16, 2023.
  8. ^ "Official Singles Chart Top 100". Official Charts Company.
  9. ^ "Top 60 Dance Singles" (PDF). Music Week. December 26, 1992. p. 24. Retrieved September 30, 2020.
  10. ^ "Boyz II Men Chart History (Hot 100)". Billboard.
  11. ^ "Boyz II Men Chart History (Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs)". Billboard. Retrieved October 7, 2022.
  12. ^ * Zimbabwe. Kimberley, C. Zimbabwe: singles chart book. Harare: C. Kimberley, 2000
  13. ^ "1991 The Year in Music & Video: Top Pop Singles". Billboard. Vol. 103, no. 51. December 21, 1991. p. YE-14.
  14. ^ "The Year in Music: 1991 – Top R&B Singles" (PDF). Billboard. Vol. 103, no. 51. December 21, 1991. p. YE-18. ISSN 0006-2510. Retrieved October 24, 2020 – via World Radio History.
  15. ^ "American single certifications – Boyz II Men – Motownphilly". Recording Industry Association of America. Retrieved October 7, 2022.
  16. ^ "モータウンフィリー | ボーイズ・II・メン" [Motownphilly | Boyz II Men] (in Japanese). Oricon. Retrieved August 30, 2023.
  17. ^ "New Releases: Singles". Music Week. December 5, 1992. p. 25.

External links[edit]