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U.S. 12-inch vinyl single
Single by Boyz II Men
from the album Cooleyhighharmony
ReleasedApril 30, 1991
RecordedFall 1990
GenreNew jack swing
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 1991 song by American vocal harmony group Boyz II Men, released as their first single from their debut album, Cooleyhighharmony. The single 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 accompanying music video for the song was filmed in various locations in Philadelphia, the group's home city in December 1990. Two new jack swing groups, Another Bad Creation and Bell Biv DeVoe (of which Bivins was a member), are mentioned in the first verse: "Boyz II Men, ABC, BBD, the East Coast Family." Both groups appear briefly in the video, as does Sudden Impact, a short-lived, all-white R&B group organized by Bivins. Questlove of The Roots also makes a brief appearance in the video.

The song title etymology involves a combination of two of the group's main musical influences: 1960s Motown and 1970s Philly soul.

The song was featured during the 2016 Democratic National Convention, as the convention took place in Philadelphia, the city that the song is named for. The song has also been featured in several films and television series including House Party 2, Full House (in the 1991 episode "Gotta Dance"),[1] Kids Incorporated (covered by the titular group in the 1992 episode "The Commercial"),[2] Hangin' with Mr. Cooper (in both the 1992 pilot episode and the 1995 episode "Talent Show"), and It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia (covered in the 2013 episode "The Gang Gets Quarantined",[3] in which the main characters repeatedly rehearse an a cappella version of the song in order to try to win a spot opening for Boyz II Men in concert while an flu epidemic is sweeping Philadelphia).

It is also a featured song in video game radio station CSR on Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas (2004). The song was sampled by contemporary hip hop group A Tribe Called Quest for their penultimate album The Love Movement on the track "Give Me". The track was covered by The Trammps for their "Disco Inferno" compilation.

Track listing[edit]


See also[edit]

Let's Stay Together by Guy


  1. ^ Full House Motown Philly
  2. ^ Kids Incorporated - Motownphilly (1992)
  3. ^ Archived at Ghostarchive and the Wayback Machine: "It's Always Sunny - The Gang sings "Motown Philly" by Boyz II Men". YouTube.
  4. ^ "Official Singles Chart Top 100". Official Charts Company.
  5. ^ "Top 60 Dance Singles" (PDF). Music Week. 26 December 1992. p. 24. Retrieved 30 September 2020.
  6. ^ "Boyz II Men Chart History (Hot 100)". Billboard.
  7. ^ "Boyz II Men Chart History (Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs)". Billboard.
  8. ^ Nielsen Business Media, Inc (December 21, 1991). "1991 The Year in Music & Video: Top Pop Singles". Billboard. Vol. 103, no. 51. p. YE-14.
  9. ^ "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 American Radio History.