The Manhattans are one of those classic R&B vocal groups who managed to achieve incredible career longevity by adapting their style to fit changing times. Featuring the original lineup of Winfred "Blue" Lovett, Richard Taylor, Kenny Kelley, George "Smitty" Smith, and Sonny Bivins, the group enjoyed a string of hits on Carnival Records during the mid-'60s. When Smith became ill in 1970, Phil Terrell stepped in as temporary lead singer until a permanent replacement could be found. In the fall of that same year, Gerald Alston took over as lead singer. More a pop singer than either Lovett or Smith, Alston's incorporation into the group enabled The Manhattans to break out of their mold as doo-woppers and achieve major national success as soul balladeers on Starday-King Records with A Million to One (1972). In 1972, Lovett's "One Life to Live" reached the Top 20 on the R&B charts.
With Alston handling all lead vocals and Lovett providing smooth spoken introductions, The Manhattans moved to Columbia Records in 1973, where they collaborated with producer Bobby Martin on a string of hit ballads, including Lovett's "Kiss And Say Goodbye," a Platinum-selling No. 1 pop and R&B hit in 1976. In that same year, the group teamed up once again with producer Randazzo to record "Feels So Good," "You're My Life," and "There's No Good in Goodbye." In 1977, they performed at President Jimmy Carter's Inaugural Ball and since then have received their share of Platinum and Gold singles, albums, and other industry kudos, most notably a 1980 Grammy for "Shining Star," written and produced by Leo Graham.
The late 80's found The Manhattans pursuing individual interests within the industry. After 16 years with Columbia Records, lead singer Gerald Alston took his turn as a solo artist with Motown Records, while Blue Lovett, due to doctor's concerns regarding his health, decided to turn his attention towards producing and grooming new artists. In 1993, however, all that changed. With their 30th anniversary approaching in 1994, it was the perfect time to reunite. Alston and Lovett, along with new members Troy May and David Tyson, put together a reunion tour. In 1999, the group was inducted into the Rhythm and Blues Hall of Fame, and in 2001 they released Even Now, their first studio album in almost 15 years. Fast approaching their 50th anniversary, The Manhattans continue to tour regularly and release new albums, the latest of which is 2008's Men Cry Too.
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