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Boyz II Men Biography


Home > Music > B > Boyz II Men > Biography


Birth Place: U.S.
Years Active: 1988 – present
Genres: R&B, Soul, New Jack Swing


Boyz II Men is an American Contemporary Rhythm & Blues vocal group best known for emotional ballads and complex, intricate ''a capella'' harmonies. Based on record sales, Boyz II Men is the most successful R&B male vocal group of all time, having sold more than sixty million albums worldwide. In the 1990s, Boyz II Men found fame on Motown Records as a quartet, but currently the group is a trio signed to Decca Records, with members Nathan Morris, Wanya Morris (no relation), and Shawn Stockman (former member Michael McCary left the group in in 2003 due to his ongoing battle with scoliosis). The group won four Grammy Awards in the 1990s, and the trio was nominated for two Grammys in 2009.

Boyz II Men formed at the Philadelphia High School for Creative and Performing Arts in 1988 as a quintet. Boyz II Men's first album, “Cooleyhighharmony,”was released on Motown in 1991 and was executive-produced by Michael Bivins. “Cooleyhighharmony” achieved major success, eventually selling over nine million copies and winning the Grammy Award for Best R&B Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocals at the 1992 Grammy Awards. Boyz II Men were also nominated for Best New Artist. "Motownphilly" and "It's So Hard to Say Goodbye to Yesterday" were number 1 R&B hits and top five U.S. pop hits.

While touring during 1992, Boyz II Men returned briefly to the studio to record the single "End of the Road", co-written and produced by Kenneth "Babyface" Edmonds, for the soundtrack to Eddie Murphy's film “Boomerang.” "End of the Road" would become Boyz II Men's greatest commercial success and their signature song. The track remained at number 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 for an unprecedented thirteen weeks, breaking the previous record of eleven weeks set by Elvis Presley with "Don't Be Cruel"/"Hound Dog" in 1956. The song catapulted Boyz II Men from successful R&B singers toward worldwide acclaim.

After releasing a Christmas compilation, Christmas Interpretations in 1993, Boyz II Men returned to the studio for their highly anticipated sophomore effort. In 1994, “II” was released. “II” sold more than 12 million copies in the United States alone, becoming one of the best-selling albums ever released by an R&B group act, and one of the biggest albums of the decade. Several of II's tracks became major singles, among them Jimmy Jam & Terry Lewis’ "On Bended Knee", and Babyface's "I'll Make Love to You" and "Water Runs Dry".

"I'll Make Love to You" broke "End of the Road's" 13-week record at number 1, by spending 14 weeks at the top of the chart (a feat equaled earlier that year by Whitney Houston's cover of "I Will Always Love You"). "On Bended Knee" replaced "I'll Make Love to you" at number 1, making Boyz II Men only the third act ever to replace itself at number 1 on the Hot 100, after Elvis and The Beatles. At the 37th Grammy Awards on March 1, 1995, the group won two Grammy Awards: Best R&B Album for II and Best R&B Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocals for "I'll Make Love To You".

Boyz II Men's third studio album, “Evolution,” was released during 1997 to mixed reviews and sold three million copies, far below the stratospheric success of II's (12 million copies) and Cooleyhighharmony (9 million). Only one of Evolution's singles, the Jam/Lewis-penned "Four Seasons of Loneliness", reached number 1 on the Hot 100 chart. The second single, the Babyface-helmed "A Song for Mama" (the theme song to the Babyface-produced film Soul Food) was a Top 10 success, but the follow-up "Can't Let Her Go" underperformed.

Their only studio LP album for Universal, 2000's “Nathan Michael Shawn Wanya,” was chiefly written and produced by the group itself, in an attempt to update their sound and ward off critics who questioned the group's reliance on Babyface's hit-making songcraft. While the critics were more receptive to Nathan Michael Shawn Wanya than they had been to its predecessor, the LP sold only 500,000 copies in the US, 1 million copies worldwide, and although its two singles, "Pass You By" and "Thank You in Advance" received media attention, neither became hits.

Signing a new deal with Arista Records in 2002, Boyz II Men began recording the “Full Circle” album, and recruited Babyface for a new single, "The Color of Love". “Full Circle” was the last Boyz II Men album to include bass singer Michael McCary.

Their first album as a trio was the 2004 covers compelation “Throwback, Vol. 1.” 2007’s “The Remedy” was the first full-length studio album of new original Boyz II Men material as a trio. The first single of the album was “Muzak.” A second album of covers this time focusing on Motown classics “Motown: A Journey Through Histville USA” was released in 2007. The album debuted at #8 in the UK charts. On the US Billboard 200 chart, it debuted at #27, selling about 42,000 copies in its first week. The album received two nominations for the 51st Annual Grammy Awards (Best R&B Album and Best R&B Performance By A Duo Or Group With Vocals for “Ribbon In The Sky.”) A third covers album “Love” followed in 2009 selling 15,000 copies its first week.