RELEASE DATE: April 10, 2009
In R&B there may be nothing more enduring than the male vocal group. In the nineties no group kept that legacy alive better, or more successfully, than Boyz II Men. Over the first blast of their career, Boyz II Men set the creative standard for post hip-hop R&B, selling more than 35 million albums worldwide, earning four Grammy® Awards and other accolades. With a pulsating sound - what they called “Hip-Hop Doo Wop” - seamless smoothed out harmonies, and collaborations with pop/R&B’s preeminent songwriters and producers, including Babyface, Daryl Simmons and L.A. Reid, Boyz II Men revived urban music. And it all kicked off with
—from the liner notes by Amy Linden
Motown and Hip-oSelect.com present a new, 2-CD Expanded Edition of the group’s now-classic debut album, featuring rare remixes not heard since their original release, the album in its original 1991 sequence and two unreleased tracks, all in a beautifully designed package.
Discovered by New Edition member Michael Bivins, who was then forming Bell Biv Devoe and creating his own management and production company, Boyz II Men were a modernized version of the Motown Sound: fresh harmonies, tight choreography, a great look, and songs with rich melodies and hooks. They were a smash out of the box with the hip-shaking “Motownphilly,” then came right back a hip, acappella version of the ballad “It’s So Hard To Say Goodbye To Yesterday,” a Seventies Motown chestnut first made popular by G.C. Cameron in the film Cooley High—the inspiration for the album title.
CooleyHighHarmony would eventually score five hit singles, NAACP Image, Soul Train Music and American Music Awards, and a Grammy® for Best R&B Vocal Performance by a Duo or Group. But the album’s life was hardly finished, as Boyz II Men contributed to two soundtracks: First was Boomerang, starring Eddie Murphy, which featured their “End Of The Road,” which became at the time the longest-running No. 1 Pop hit of all time. Then came The Jacksons: An American Dream, the TV mini-series on the heralded Motown stars, which included a throwback cover of “In The Still Of The Night (I’ll Remember).”
Boyz II Men’s success was a problem for Motown, since those tracks were not on the original LP, so the album was reissued in 1993, completely re-sequenced with the new tracks and with new artwork.
CooleyHighHarmony: Expanded Edition restores the album’s original sequence, placing the later bonus tracks at the end of disc one. Disc two gathers up several more remixes, with most not included on the group’s 1995 set The Remix Collection, as well as two of “Under Pressure” that were previously issued only in Germany. Another highlight of the set are two newly discovered tracks from the sessions, produced by Troy Taylor and Charles Farrar, a.k.a. the production team The Characters, who had contributed “Little Things” and “Your Love” to the original album.
The set includes a photo gallery of Nate, Wanya, Shawn and Michael, several outtakes from their LP session shoot, an essay by journalist and former VH-1 personality Amy Linden, the original track annotations and additional info—a fitting tribute to a modern classic.