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The Manhattans

The Manhattans were one of those classic R&B vocal groups who manage to achieve incredible career longevity by adapting their style to fit changing times. Formed in the '60s as a doo wop-influenced R&B quintet, the Manhattans reinvented themselves as sweet smooth soul balladeers during the '70s. In doing so, they somehow overcame the death of lead singer George Smith, and with new frontman Gerald Alston became more popular than they'd ever been, landing an across-the-board number one hit in 1976 with "Kiss and Say Goodbye." Under the leadership of Winfred "Blue" Lovett (who also composed some of the group's biggest hits), the Manhattans survived as a viable chart act well into the '80s, over two decades after their formation.

The Manhattans got together not in their namesake location, but in nearby Jersey City, NJ, in 1962. The group was centered around lead singer George "Smitty" Smith and bass (and sometime lead) vocalist Winfred "Blue" Lovett; the other original members were Kenny Kelley, Richard Taylor, and Edward "Sonny" Bivins, the latter of whom sometimes co-wrote material with accomplished songwriter Lovett. In 1964, the Manhattans signed with the Newark-based Carnival label and teamed up with producer Joe Evans; they scored their first hit in early 1965 with "I Wanna Be (Your Everything)," a number 12 R&B hit that established their way with a ballad right from the beginning. It was the first of eight singles for Carnival, a string that continued up through 1967. None were huge hits, but nearly all of them reached the Top 30 on the R&B charts, and are still prized by collectors of vocal-group soul for their aching harmonies, Smith's intense leads, and lack of concession to mainstream pop audiences.

In 1969, the Manhattans signed on with DeLuxe and issued several singles over the course of 1970. Unfortunately, Smith fell ill that year, and the group hired Phil Terrell as a temporary fill-in. Sadly, Smith passed away in 1971; he was replaced on lead vocals by Gerald Alston, who brought a smoother, more pop-friendly sound to the group. That quality soon became apparent when the Lovett-penned "One Life to Live" zoomed into the R&B Top Five in late 1972, giving the Manhattans their first major hit. The following year, they left DeLuxe for Columbia, where their debut single, "There's No Me Without You" (written by Sonny Bivins), equaled the R&B chart peak of "One Life to Live" by reaching number three. Initially working with producer Bobby Martin, the Manhattans' records now fell into line with the sweet, string-laden sound of contemporary '70s soul. The Manhattans hit the R&B Top Ten again in 1974 with "Don't Take Your Love" and 1975 with "Hurt," but their biggest success was still to come.

In early 1975, the Manhattans had recorded a Blue Lovett composition called "Kiss and Say Goodbye," which was released as a single almost a full year later. It became the second platinum single in history (after Johnnie Taylor's "Disco Lady") and their first number one hit in the spring of 1976, not just on the R&B charts, but the pop side as well -- a remarkable feat, considering that they'd never had a single peak higher than number 37 on that survey. While it proved difficult to match the crossover success of "Kiss and Say Goodbye," the Manhattans reeled off a string of Top Ten R&B hits -- "I Kinda Miss You," "It Feels So Good to Be Loved So Bad," "We Never Danced to a Love Song," and "Am I Losing You" -- that lasted into early 1978 and made them staples on the newly emerging quiet storm radio format. Their momentum slowed over the next couple of years, but they came back strong in 1980 with "Shining Star" -- not a cover of the Earth, Wind & Fire hit, but a co-write by their new producer Leo Graham. "Shining Star" reached the Top Five on both the pop and R&B charts, went gold, and won a Grammy -- overall, not a bad haul.

The Manhattans' last major hit came with 1983's "Crazy," which put them in the R&B Top Five for the final time; they bade farewell to the Top 40 in 1985 with a cover of Sam Cooke's "You Send Me." That year Richard Taylor left the group, which carried on as a quartet for a few years; Taylor passed away in December 1987. Gerald Alston signed with Motown as a solo artist in 1988, upon which point the group finally parted ways with Columbia and recorded an album for the small Valley Vue label before disbanding. Alston and Lovett reunited in 1993; with new members Troy May and David Tyson, they toured regularly into the new millennium, with the occasional recording appearing on a small label. ~ Steve Huey, Rovi
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Selected Discography

Comments

mimivo.mm
If you find true love, you better hold on.
Classic on it's own...... Luv u Manhattan... :)
Its Tubby another lowrider song kick a** i thought it was sunday oldies day here in elpaso i always heard oldies growing up at lowrider shows
love the early Manhattens
This is music not the crap now
This what music about singing about LOVE not calling you girl B**ches and Hoes
When you turn and walk away don't look back
YEP!! YEP!!
Tony means to me
Glittery hearts
Tony means to me
Wedding bells
Tony means to me
Ring on my finger
Tony means to me
A lolliby
Tony means to me
A flower
Tony means to me
A candy cane
Tony means to me
A sweet poem
Tony means to me
The sky n stars
Tony means to me
An angel from heaven
Tony means to me
Everlasting love
Tonys got it going on
Tonys my boyfriend
LOL BOO.
This is a great song! I can play this song for hours
MY MOTHER TOLD ME STORIES ABOUT SEEING WHEN SHE WAS A TEEN- AGER AT THE LATE OLD REGEL ON THE SOUTHSIDE OF CHICAGO THANK U SEXXY SMOKEY HAPPY BELATED BIRTHDAY SMILE...
MARY WELLS LOOKS MY SECOND COUSIN SMILE.. R.I.P MARY WELLS THANK U FOR THE NICE MUSIC FROM MOTOWN KNOWN AS LOVE SONGS SMILE..
THANK TO MY AUNT R.I.P LOVE THEM SMILE..
I I have been listening to Manhattan for years I love you u Gerald your own I love you voice is so beautiful the best new member you gave a good ride thank you
Big props to the Brooklyn mix master crew I won't forget you zack Tim Kevin Virgil Ceecee vandy c god father rock disco richie mike and the rest of my boys god bless
MY AUNT USED PLAY THE MAHATTANS SONGS WHEN I WAS GROWING UP ( R.I.P) MY SWEET LOVIN G AUNT LOVE YOU SMILE.. ALSO I LOVE THE MANHATTANS ALSO KEEP THE GOOD WORK.. TOO SEXXY...
R.i.p. Richard Taylor.
Don't forget to watch them tomorrow night on TVOne.... #Unsung I love these guys....
edalexx
I'm sitting with my Organo Gold Cup of Coffee...and nothing is satisfying than The Manhattans
edalexx
Kiss and Say Goodbye has to be the best of all on one recording.
edalexx
The Manattans have always been my heartfelt group of a lifetime.
Beautiful Song
Blue's voice just does something to me ;)
The song I KINDA MISS YOU touches the very soul of a person who has loved and loss. It makes a person wonder if love will ever exist in this world for them. TRUE LOVE that is.
This song reminds me of my dad!!! The day I said goodbye I love you daddy
Hey sang it then! Love this hurr..... brings back old loves!!
Hey ...they are my inspiration
Skyline Club-Hanau-G e r m a n y !
Do you have the album, It Feels So good?
hannanator_1
I had the Manhattan Experience at The Woodland Club in Giessen, Germany in 1985 for $2.00. Gr8 show!
Good song..
Every time I hear Gerald singing, I think of Sam Cooke... Very similar singing voices. Love me some Manhattans.. . Blue, Gerald, Kenny and Sunny are still hangin on in there... Hope there's a reunion in the making, since they are at that age... #Talent
This song makes me cry.....:(
Love this song
Ok wooo supers done.so turn it up Pandora..lol
WAIT A MINUTE.... THIS IS A SONG ABOUT HAVING AN AFFAIR. MAN!! THAT IS STUPID. but this is a really good song.
Kiss and Say Goodbye. Let's just kiss and pretend like we're saying goodbye but we're really not. Please? :::__)) Thank you. I appreciate that very much.
Love "shining star"
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