Ok, so I’ll admit that BET’s New Edition Story reignited my love the for the R&B super group. I spent the weekend listening to the music and watching old videos and interviews. From The Breakfast Club interview where Michael Bivins politely calls bull$#%! to Ralph Tresvant's claim that he was asked to be a solo artist early in the game to the articles that claims that Bobby Brown couldn't finish his vocals on "Every Little Step" because he was on a drug bender. I think I may have read and watched everything out there including the infamous Video Soul interview with Sherry Carter. I watched them, but I'm also a read-between-the-lines kinda gal so everything got me to thinking about my favorite group and what details they may have left out of their biopic and why.
What if Ralph did complete the vocals on “Every Little Step”? If it's true that Ralph Tresvant came in to complete the vocals on the hit song he wins the Bro Code Award of the century. Not only did he help him complete a Grammy winning, top selling, single on his most successful solo album, but he kept it a secret for years all while watching him rocket to the kind of solo stardom that he himself was never able to achieve. I certainly think it is possible if the record label needed to finish Bobby's album before starting on Ralph's project. Ralph might have done it for the brotherhood and to get his own project fast tracked. It's possible.
What if the hits on the Heartbreak album had been on Ralph Tresvant’s solo album? In the movie, it seemed like a real sore spot for Ralph that he was asked to shelve his album while they worked on the New Edition Heart Break album. Coincidentally, NE worked with many of the same producers that eventually worked on Ralph's album. Hmm . . . What if the songs they recorded as New Edition were initially meant or could have been for Ralph alone! Think about it, "If It Isn't Love", "You're Not My Kind of Girl", and "Can You Stand the Rain" could have worked for him as a solo artist and could have given him an edge and an image that could made his career skyrocket - street but not too street, smooth but not too soft. For his solo project to follow the success of Bobby's Don't Be Cruel and NE's Heartbreak he had to find a completely different lane or else look like a copycat, hence the sensitive gentleman!
But of course it didn't happen like that which led me to wonder . . .
What if Johnny Gill hadn’t joined the group? Adding crooner Johnny Gill added depth and maturity to the groups sound vocally and added a little balance to the group. It also raised Johnny's visibility, no question. Would we have paid enough attention to Johnny Gill as a solo artist without his New Edition fame? Probably not, he had three albums prior to joining and I only know that for sure because of Google. I had heard of him but I can only vaguely recall "Perfect Combination" with Stacy Lattisaw but that's it. The NE fame gave him the all important street cred and exposure that his awesome talent needed.
New Edition helped Johnny's career, but I think that BBD may have helped New Edition . . .
What if there was no BBD!?! If Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis hadn't suggested to Mike, Ricky and Ronnie that they form a trio, fellas might have missed an important piece of advice - Never trust a big butt and a smile! Or informative instructions like Smack it up, Flip it, Rub it down, oh no! But seriously, without BBD we would not have seen the group branch off into areas that the collective New Edition couldn't really believably go. Hip Hop and New Jack Swing dominated the 90's and BBD ultimately allowed New Edition to stay relevant with fans whose tastes were changing. An offhand suggestion at a party may have helped give them longevity in the ever changing music industry.
Today, the music business has changed even more.
What if Instagram, Twitter, and Social media existed in the early days of New Edition? If it had been around we would certainly have seen videos all of the fights on stage (I can't find them. I looked.), we would probably have known about the internal fights, and it probably would have elevated beefs between them and spoiled the image they were trying to create. Egos fed by Instagram and in-fighting over Twitter would only have made what they had going on even worse! Thankfully for them (and for us) their only communication problem was with The Telephone Man!
And, what if Ralph had been solo child star? In the New Edition Story the journey for the group, at least professionally, begins when Ralph turns down an offer from Maurice Starr to sign as a solo artist. Even though Ralph's signature lead vocals are on most of the group's biggest songs, I wonder if he would have or could have survived 30+ years without the group? Not many can claim such a feat and the story would certainly be different. I for one hate to think about that. New Edition was such a part of my growing up and coming of age and my early adulthood that I am glad that he made the decision . . . if it did really happen like that.
When artists choose to let us in and tell their story, I am certain that for every detail they share there are surely 10 more that they keep to themselves, which is their prerogative :) but still, I can't help but wonder.
Also, check out 5 Reasons why The New Edition Story is a must see for NE4Lifers.
So tell me, what else did the movie make you wonder?
Please LIKE, COMMENT, and SHARE this post! To make sure you're always on the guest list, LIKE Who's Invited on Facebook.
Type your email address in the box and click the "create subscription" button. My list is completely spam free, and you can opt out at any time.
Filed under: Uncategorized