by Jack Houston
Rarely does a teen pop group beget solo success for all of its members. For every Justin Timberlake and Michael Jackson, there’s a Chris Kirkpatrick or Tito Jackson destined to linger in the shadows. And then there’s New Edition.
Formed in Boston in 1982 by producer Maurice Starr, New Edition posted three No. 1 R&B hits (“Candy Girl,” “Mr. Telephone Man” and “Cool It Now”) before all five of its members went onto successful solo careers. Johnny Gill lent his deep baritone to several new jack swing hits, while lead singer Ralph Tresvant obtained lover man status with 1990’s “Sensitivity.” Ricky Bell, Michael Bivins, Ronnie DeVoe found success as Bell Biv DeVoe, and Bobby Brown became a fixture on the charts and in the tabloids thanks to hits like “My Prerogative” and his marriage to Whitney Houston.
This year, all six members hit the road to mark their 30th anniversary, and there’s already talk of returning to the studio to record a new album. “2012 is going to be an incredible year for us,” DeVoe told Billboard. “Of course, we want to get to the 40th and 50th, too, but we just feel like our road to the 30th is going to be special because of all these different things that are in front of us. It’s just gonna be an incredible ride.”