Guided by producer Maurice Starr, the group was formed by Bobby Brown, Michael Bivins, DeMaris Williams, and Ricky Bell in 1978, while living at the Orchard Park housing projects (or what the group and residents of the area calls them popularly as "The Bricks"). Bell and Brown soon brought their best friend Ralph Tresvant in on the act, who quickly became their lead singer.
They would soon meet a young local group manager named Travis Gresham and Brooke Payne, who would give them the name, 'New Edition.'. After getting second place in their community talent show in 1980, Payne rounded out the line-up by bringing in his nephew, Ronnie DeVoe.
Originally inspired by The Jackson 5, New Edition burst onto the scene in 1983 becoming a pop phenomenon, big enough to have Madonna as an opening act during their early days. In the early-mid 1980s, New Edition sold more units in the United States than any other teen singing group in history.
Bell Biv Devoe
After closing the doors for 1980's R&B act, New Edition, Bell, Bivins, and DeVoe went on to form Bell Biv Devoe, at the suggestion of producers Jimmy Jam & Terry Lewis. Upon accepting the idea, MCA records wrote down the name "Bell Bivins Devoe", but Bivins suggested they remove the "ins" from his name and just call the band "Bell Biv Devoe." With help from Public Enemy producers Eric Sadler, Hank and Keith Shocklee, and several others, Bell Biv Devoe released their debut album Poison in 1990, on MCA Records. The album has been credited as pioneering the "New Jack Swing" sound of the early 1990s, combining hip-hop, funk, soul, and pop music. This fusion of styles helped to expose them to a fan base who prefer a harder edge sound, while at the same time helped pave the way for future R&B acts. Poison reached number 1 on Billboard's R&B/Hip-Hop chart, and its title track, along with its second single, "Do Me!", both reached number 3 on Billboard's Hot 100 chart. Shortly thereafter, Richard Wolf and Epic Mazur were responsible for the remix of "Do Me!" (which hit Number One on the dance charts). Poison also spawned other significant hits which include "B.B.D. (I Thought It Was Me)?", "When Will I See You Smile Again?", and "She's Dope!". Poison sold over three million copies, and was followed up by a remix album titled WBBD-Bootcity. Richard Wolf and Epic Mazurhelped create BBD's premiere album, blending rhythm, blues, pop, and rock, and Poison achieve triple Platinum success.