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Johnny Gill

Scored A String Of Chart-topping Hits

When New Edition first hit the airwaves, its five members were between 14 and 16 years old. Their songs were bubblegum-sweet pop: "The Telephone Man," "Popcorn Love," "Cool It Now." They dressed in matching outfits, pumped out in-sync dance steps, and filled pages of teen magazines. They were as well loved for their youth as for their music. However, by 1988 the boys, nearing their twenties, were ready to be considered men. Gill's rich, soulful voice was the perfect vehicle. Most critics consider 1989's Heart Break the group's first foray into mature music. The sultry ballad "Can You Stand the Rain," anchored by Gill's riveting voice, sailed straight to number one on the charts. Three other songs from the album made it into the top five. The album went double-platinum, according to the Record Industry Association of America (RIAA), with confirmed sales of over two million copies.

Despite the phenomenal success of Heart Break, New Edition decided to disband in 1989. Gill joined old pal Lattisaw on the single "Where Do We Go from Here," which landed him right back at the number one slot on the R&B charts. With the backing of Motown he also recorded his most successful album to date, 1990's Johnny Gill. Motown pulled out all stops for the album, hiring the best producers in urban music and sponsoring a massive marketing campaign. It worked. The public sent the album straight to double-platinum status and pushed three singles to number one on the R&B charts: "My, My, My," "Rub You the Right Way," and "Wrap Your Body Tight."

Johnny Gill earned the crooner a Grammy nomination for best R&B male vocal performance, though he lost to Luther Vandross. The album also established Gill as a master of the musical trend known as New Jack. In its early 1990s heyday, New Jack took the classic soul of R&B vocals, added a shot of sexiness, some slick synthesizers, and a hint of rap. With his self-titled album all over the top of the charts, Gill was labeled "the Marvin Gaye of the new-jack soul generation" by Entertainment Weekly.

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Brief BiographiesBiographies: E(mily) R. Frank (1967-) Biography - Personal to Martha Graham (1893–1991) BiographyJohnny Gill Biography - Graduated From Gospel To R, Scored A String Of Chart-topping Hits, Reunited With New Edition