Boyz II Men Celebrate 20th Anniversary

After 20 years, Boyz II Men haven’t reached the end of the road in their music career. In fact, the group is preparing to celebrate their milestone anniversary this fall with a new album, including reworked versions of their classic hits.

Photo: AP Photo
Essence Music Festival, Louisiana Superdome, New Orleans, La.

“Nothing too extreme or dramatic, but we’ve added a few things here and there,” says Shawn Stockman of their upcoming project.

Boyz II Men brought their Motown-Philly harmonies to the masses when they made their debut with Cooleyhighharmony in 1991; propelled by hits like “End of the Road” and “It’s So Hard to Say Goodbye to Yesterday,” the Philadelphia-based group’s first album sold more than 9 million copies. Their sophomore CD, II, sold 12 million copies.

Stockman says the group – which originally included Wanya Morris, Nathan Morris and Michael McCary – had no idea how huge their achievements were.

“We were so busy just working … we didn’t think too much about how it would impact the world, which is probably a good thing, because it kept us sharp and kept us focused, even to this present day,” he said. “Looking back, it’s a great thing. It’s hard to talk about it because it’s something that we think it’s a great milestone in our careers, but we’re still hungry, and we still feel like we have so much more to contribute, musically and otherwise.”

The group – which became a trio after McCary left – still records and performs regularly. Their last CD, 2009’s Love, had them performing standard love songs.

They have never replicated the sales, or the radio success, of those first two multimillion-selling albums. Still, Stockman says they haven’t stopped being successful.

“It wasn’t the kind of thing where we made flop albums, and someone got on drugs, and then all kind of craziness happened. The industry just changed, and tastes changed,” he said. “We didn’t fall off. … Time and how things have gone in the industry and in life, it kind of preserved us to be able to have some sort of success.”

The trio’s upcoming album, Twenty, will feature new songs and new renditions of some of their best-known work.

“We’ve always been true to our love songs, and the type of music that we do, we feel this type of music is timeless,” he said. “It’s our 20th anniversary, so we wanted to not only give our listeners something new, but our new listeners I guess an anthology.”

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B96 Pepsi SummerBash 2011, Toyota Park, Bridgeview, Ill.

Stockman hopes the group will capture a younger generation, but also a few fans they may have lost along the way.

“We hope that those people that we’ve touched before, we’ll be able to touch again, because they haven’t gone anywhere, they’ve just grown up,” he said.