Despite its breakup-to-makeup relationship, '80s boy-band New Edition has proven it can stand the rain.
Michael Bivins, Ricky Bell, Ronnie DeVoe, Johnny Gill, Ralph Tresvant and even Bobby Brown have reunited to celebrate the 30th anniversary of "Candy Girl" with a nationwide tour that kicked off in February.
"Candy Girl," the group's debut album, was released in February, 1983. It spawned three No. 1 hits, including the first single of the same name. The track peaked at No. 46 on the Billboard Hot 100 singles chart and No. 1 on the R&B singles chart and solidified the group as a teen pop phenomenon.
On Friday, all six members will perform their classic hits during a two-hour concert performance at the Huntington Center.
"We're going to go and do what we do," said Gill. "We take you on a journey from the beginning, to where we are today."
And just where is New Edition today?
"Bobby and Ralph are working on new music. Everyone has their own projects they're working on," said Gill, who released his sixth solo project, "Still Winning," in October. "We all have visions and our own taste and it's important that we have time to work on other projects.
"After the tour, we'll possibly look at recording new music [as a group]."
New Edition formed in Boston in 1978, making them the frontrunners of the boy-band movement of the 1980s and 1990s, and paving the way for groups such as New Kids on the Block, Boyz II Men, Backstreet Boys, and 'N Sync.
The band recorded mostly as a quintet. In 1983, at the height of their early popularity, the group consisted of Ronnie DeVoe, Bobby Brown, Ricky Bell, Michael Bivins, and Ralph Tresvant. Their early hits included the singles "Candy Girl" (1983), "Cool It Now" (1984),and "Mr. Telephone Man."
In 1985, Brown left to embark on a successful solo career. The group continued with four members and eventually recruited Gill to record the 1988 album "Heart Break," which became New Edition's most commercially successful album up to that point, spinning off five hit singles: "Can You Stand The Rain," "If It Isn't Love," "You're Not My Kind of Girl," "Crucial," and "N.E. Heartbreak."
There's nothing new about New Edition, but the hit songs and popular dance moves the group was known for in its prime are enough to keep the fans coming out to see the all-grown-up boy band.
"We're still moving. It's not any easier doing it, but we get it done," Gill said with a laugh. "The fans come in full and they enjoy it. They have fun, singing and dancing right along with us."
In 1990, New Edition went on hiatus, with all members pursuing side projects. Bell, Bivins, and DeVoe formed Bell Biv DeVoe and hit the charts with "Poison" and "Do Me." Gill and Tresvant recorded successful solo albums.
Despite their achievements individually, New Edition reconnected in 1996 to complete "Home Again," an album they'd promised fans. The album produced several hits, including "Hit Me Off" and "I'm Still In Love With You" and a 1997 Home Again Tour. The tour ended abruptly after Brown and Bivins quit the group.
"We've had our ups and downs, but we've been able to come together and do something most groups haven't been able to do," Gill said. "There aren't a lot of groups that still have their original members."
Various reunions have occurred since then, usually with the 1987-1990 lineup with occasional appearances by Brown, who had married Whitney Houston. New Edition's last studio album was 2004's "One Love." In 2010, band members again pursued solo projects, touring and recording as Bell Biv Devoe and Heads of State, featuring Brown, Tresvant, and Gill.
"Everybody needs their space, but we're brothers. We're joined at the hip," Gill said. "[New Edition] is the mother tree from where it started. This is what the fans want from us."
The New Edition 30th Anniversary Tour concert is at 8 p.m. Friday at Huntington Center, 500 Jefferson Ave. Tickets are $49, $57, $67, and $91.50 and are available at the box office and ticketmaster.com.
Contact RoNeisha Mullen at: firstname.lastname@example.org or 419-724-6133.