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The History

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The Manhattans

Part 4

12/15/07

 

Part 4

In 1985, the Manhattans move into their 20th year in the music business--- a fact that is nothing less than a major achievement in itself! The title of their 11th LP for Columbia Records, ‘Too Hot To Stop It’ takes on new meanings. They are truly American ambassadors of music, taking their show around the world every year, playing to audiences in countries that few acts today even dream of reaching. Touring is an important part of life for The Manhattans, but in combination with their success as a recording group they have created a one-of-a-kind presence. With "Too Hot To Stop It", the Manhattans have concentrated all their energies at work in New York, and the results, after a year and a half of anticipation, were worth the wait. At the helm of the album is producer Morris Brown, whose work on the group’s remake of Sam Cooke’s Classic ‘ You Send Me’ (the first single picked) was already a smash. Brown selected a Scher-Golden composition to open the Album.’ Don’t Say No’ which he co-produced with the songwriting team. Skip Anderson and Steve Williams contributed greatly to the album, as producers of ‘You’re Gonna Love Being Loved By Me’ the B-side of the ‘ You Send Me’ 45 and as producers/arrangers of three of their own originals, ‘Angel Of The night’, ‘C’est La Vie’, and ‘Dreamin’. Blatte and Gottlieb are responsible for writing and producing the title tune that closes the album, Too Hot To Stop It’. Finally to bring the album (and the Manhattans Story) full circle, is this LP’s dedication to the late George “Smitty” Smith (Founding member & Lead singer who passed away in 1971) of he & Sonny Bivins' 1966 Song, “When were Made as One.” Sung in the Acappella doo-wop style that marked this group’s origins.

The Manhattans came to the fork in the road in 1986. The LP ‘Back to Basics’ was the 12th LP under Columbia Records. It included the single, ‘Where Did We Go Wrong’ a duet of Gerald Alston & Regina Belle. Ms. Belle was introduced to the Manhattans by famed DJ & Quiet storm host Vaughn Harper of station WBLS in New York. This would be the last recorded album Gerald Alston would sing on with the Manhattans. After this LP, The Manhattans contract would expire with Columbia Records, and they would leave after 12 LPs and 15 years at Columbia, they said their farewells and moved on to the next phase of there continuing Legacy.


The Manhattans - 1989


In 1988, Gerald Alston would leave to pursue a solo career. His place in the line up would be filled by Roger Harris (a former member of the funk group Cameo). The Manhattans still did their share of touring, but they didn’t record during this year. In 1989, The Manhattans would record under the Valley Vue Records label, based in Van Nuys, California. They released the LP ‘Sweet Talk’, which the first single out of the box was the title track ‘Sweet Talk’. The next single, ‘Why You Wanna Love Me Like That’, faired a little better then the first. The last single from the LP and the last record for the Manhattans under the Valley Vue Label was ‘I Won’t Stop’, released in March of 1989.

 

The Manhattans - 1990


1990 would bring a major reconstruction of The Manhattans. Although they had changed lead singers over the years they never changed the core of the group. Blue would retire, at the request of his Physician. Kenny would also retire and return to college to finish up his Doctorate in Physics). Sonny would continue the vision and legacy of The Manhattans, by creating a new line up that would include: Roger Harris (Lead) Alvin Pazant (bass) Harsey Hemphill (1st Tenor) & Charles Hardy (2nd Tenor). That year, this line up would tour the United States, Canada, & Jamaica.
 

The Manhattans - 1991


In 1991, Roger Harris would leave the group to pursue other interest, and Wade Taylor, would take over as lead vocalist of The Manhattans. They would continue their touring in the United States as well as abroad to countries like: Saipan, Guam, The Cayman Islands and Japan. By now they had signed with Maxi Music Corp. (Gerald Delet's New Management Company). They would also begin recording new material in the studio. Within a few months Wade Taylor would leave and Lee Williams would become the new lead vocalist of The Manhattans. Most may not be aware of the fact that Lee Williams and The Manhattans go back to the very beginning. As lead singer for The Cymbals, his group and The Manhattans were both signed to Carnival Records in the mid 1960's, and were label mates for nearly four years. In fact, it was Lee Williams that The Manhattans first solicited to replace the then ailing lead singer, George "Smitty" Smith, but owing allegiance to his group, he declined the offer. As fate would have it, nearly 30 years later, he would again be presented with the offer to be lead singer for The Manhattans. This time, he would accept.
 


End of Part 4

 

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