The Manhattans Biography

Formed in 1962 in Jersey City, New Jersey, USA, about 10 miles south of New York City’s borough of Manhattan, this enduring soul group enjoyed its greatest success during the 70s. The original members were lead vocalist George Smith, bass singer Winfred ‘Blue’ Lovett (16 November 1943), tenor Edward Bivins (b. 15 January 1942), tenor Kenneth Kelley (b. 9 January 1943) and baritone Richard Taylor (b. 1940, d. 7 December 1987). Specializing in smooth ballads, the group recorded first for the Newark, New Jersey-based Carnival label, on which they placed eight singles on the US R&B charts, beginning with 1965’s ‘I Wanna Be (Your Everything)’. In 1969, they changed to DeLuxe Records, on which they recorded their first Top 10 R&B hit, ‘One Life To Live’, in 1972.

The previous year, Smith died, and was replaced by Gerald Alston (b. 8 November 1942). The group left DeLuxe for Columbia Records in 1973, where their now-sweetened soul style resulted in a string of Top 10 R&B hits, including the 1976 number 1 ‘Kiss And Say Goodbye’, which also made number 1 on the pop charts, and 1980’s ‘Shining Star’ (number 4 R&B/number 5 pop). After 1983’s number 4 ‘Crazy’, the group’s chart popularity waned, although they continued to release recordings for Columbia. Taylor left the group in 1976 and was not replaced; he died in 1987. Alston left in 1988 for a solo career, following which the group switched to the Valley Vue label. Lovett and Alston were reunited in 1993, and alongside new members Troy May and David Tyson have carried the Manhattans flame into the new millennium.

Source: The Encyclopedia of Popular Music by Colin Larkin. Licensed from Muze.

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