Thursday, June 26, 2008

Have you seen them?

What's happened to the R&B group?!
A while back, you couldn't turn on your favorite video show or sitcom for that matter and not see your favorite R&B group. Now, the only groups you see on TV are Day 26 and Danity Kane and that's because they have their own reality show. A while back, groups were on scripted shows and they liked it!
Remember this?

OK, before I get carried away, lets go back, waaaaaaaaaay back. Back into time. And while we're there, let's highlight some really great groups. First off, let's visit the some famous groups of the 70s. Let me just say that this in no way reflects my age. I wasn't even thought about until late 1981.
Anyway, growing up, my parents exposed my siblings and I to a lot of great music. Of course we heard all the Motown we could stand. But thanks to them, we were also exposed to groups like Kool & the Gang, The Stylistics, The Whispers, Sly and the Family Stone and my personal faves, The O'Jays.

While we were growing up, my mom used to play in softball tournaments on the weekend. She used to load my sister and I into the back seat while she and my step dad fought over whose turn it was to drive and she'd put on the cassette she'd made of her favorite songs.
I don't remember whether or not it was the same tape but for some reason, the first song was almost always, "Backstabbers" or "992 Arguments." My sister and I had to be about nine and 11 sweatin' it out in the back seat of my mom's Pontiac Sun Fire riding up and down the interstates of North and South Carolina to those tournaments.
Our ages are important in this because I don't know sisters who are that close in age who don't argue all the time. Lord knows we did our fair share of arguing and it seems like every time my mom would turn on one of those two songs, we'd stop and start singing.
"Nine hundred and ninety-two arguments, nine hundred and ninety-two, we're just a fighting, nine hundred and ninety-two ..."
And it never failed, we'd scream the last line and point to each other, "I'M SICK OF YOU!"
After that, I can almost guarantee a song by The Manhattans would come on. By that time, we were cool again so we each had a part to sing. Back in the 70s, it seems like every group's member had a part. You had the lead singer who sang every single song. Then you had the dude, or chick, with the deepest or the raspiest voice to do the "rap."
Since I had the raspier voice of my sister and I, I always, ALWAYS, had to do the talking. Well, that's until "Kiss and Say Goodbye" came on and she wanted to do the talking. Wouldn't you?
"This has got to be the saddest day of my life. I called you here today for a bit of bad news. I won't be able to see you anymore because of my obligations and the ties that you have ..."
Come on! Ya'll know that song was the joint! Anyway, we had to take turns doing that part but she always got to sing lead. (I'm still a lil' salty about that.) Anyway, we used to tear those songs up!
While we were learning those songs from my mom's "hey day," we were also learning the songs we were growing up with. Now, I was born in '82, my sister in '79 so we are children of the 80s. With that comes groups like New Edition with both Bobby Brown and Johnny Gill, Levert, After 7, Guy, The Boys and a few others.
Don't act like my siblings and I are the only ones who used to push the coffee table out of the middle of the living room so that we could learn the dances from the "If It Isn't Love" video. Truth be told, we tried to learn the dances to all the Bell Biv Devoe videos too but the camera would hardly ever let you see the WHOLE routine.
And guess what, when groups like Jodeci, Boyz II Men, Hi-Five, EnVogue, TLC, XSCAPE and SWV came out in the early 90s, it only got worse.
We knew all the dance steps to all their videos and wouldn't you know it, we each had our singing parts. When an EnVogue song was on, I got to be Maxine. In TLC, I was T-Boz and in XSCAPE, I was Kandi until she hit that high note in "Understanding." The bottom line is, we had fun - and good music.
What do they have now? Day 26 and Danity Kane. I'm sure they can sing, well, no I'm not because I know NOTHING about them except that on the show, Puffy keeps saying the "Bitchassness is a disease." I couldn't watch.
Whatever happened to groups getting together in grade school or high school or growing up together or chance meetings? Every since that weird-looking white guy put that boy band together on ABC, Puffy, and seemingly the rest of the world, has been fixated on created the "super group." It doesn't happen. Look at what happened to Fatty Koo.
Fatty Koo, a sextet out of Columbus, OH, had the potential to be the best group in music since, shoot, I don't know, since a very long time. Five of the six met on the John Lennon Educational Tour Bus. The bus provides free hands-on programs high schools, colleges, Boys and Girls Clubs, music festivals, concerts, conventions and community organizations.
They later added a sixth member and even had a reality show on BET (gag) called "Blowin' Up: Fatty Koo." That show was non-stop drama because they didn't know each other and they were constantly getting on each others nerves. Their career, as a group, was over before it got started.
It kinda sucks because since they split in '05 or '06, there haven't been any really successful groups. Well, B2K, but after all that nonsense with Chris Stokes and Omarion's success, we forgot about them and they were really pop anyway. The bottom line is we need to get some R&B groups or at least revive the greats.
Since recent photos show that K-Ci and JoJo look like somebodies granddaddies, I doubt seriously we'll be seeing a revival of Jodeci. But, Alicia Keys did revive three of my favorite girl groups from the 90s at this year's BET Awards (double gag).

Even though they missed a few notes (Miss Keys included) it was still good to see all the original members back together, especially EnVogue. I swear, they got gone too quickly. I wish they would get back together and do a tour or something. I think as fans, we deserve to have great groups to see perform.
***On a side note, I see why Miss Keys prefers to sit behind a piano and not dance. She can't.***

Who did I miss? Who were your favorite groups?


TravelDiva said...


I don't know why groups aren't hot anymore. All time favorites - New Edition/BBD and Jodeci. I also enjoyed the Jackson Five, Mint Condition, Intro, Brownstone, En Vogue, SWV, Jade, TLC, Destiny's Child, am a closet New Kids on the Block fan, N Sync had some good tunes too, Total, etc.

Unfortunately, I saw K-Ci and Jo Jo last year--Dreadful. K-Ci forgot the words to Lately or Stay--it was one of their big hits, so I was disgusted. And worse--they sounded terrible. So disappointing for someone who thinks Diary of a Mad Band was one of the greatest cds.

Smarty Jones said...

I can't believe I missed Brownstone. I was just listening to "5 Miles to Empty" the other day. That used to be my jam!!!
Why you gotta be in the closet about NKOTB? They had some good stuff, especially when they were younger. Even Sunshine Anderson sang about her and some dude "Hangin' Tough like New Kids on the Block!" LoL.
And Total, OMG, Total. I miss them. I think I liked all their stuff. And what 'chu know about Intro? I thought I was the only one. I wore that CD out and now I can't find a replacement. I've been Googlin' that thing for at least two years.

gem1lle said...

ummmm.. what about my boys 112?? can't forget them.. cupid, still in love, crazy over you... i miss dem boys

Smarty Jones said...

Gem1lle!!! What's up chick?!
You're right, I can't believe I left out 112. My favorite song for years was "Playa" from their "Part III" CD.
While we're on the subject, I also need to mention Dru Hill, Silk, Destiny's Child and Immature.
Don't look at me side eyed either, ya'll know Immature was the -ish, especially when "Never Lie" came out. I used to have the biggest crush on Romeo and LDB. Batman was never 'that dude' to me.

PCD (Pretty Circle Drawer) said...

ok, you couldn't tell me i wasn't going to grow up and marry hakeem from the boys! anyhoo, boys 2 men are like energizer bunnies to me. even tho they've changed lineups, their sound is so pure and i'll always love them...its a shame i have to miss them at bb king's next month :-(

TravelDiva said...


Yeah, 5 miles to empty, grapevyne and If you love me--classics! Total--I don't think they were the best vocalists, but there cd was HOT. I heard kissin' you the other day and was groovin'.

LOL on NKOTB. Point taken.

Smarty Jones said...

LoL @ PCD, girl, I think everybody had a crush on at least one of The Boys. I liked Hakim too. They're living in Africa now singing under the name The Suns of Light and they look the same, just enlarged.