featuring Gerald Alston
Saturday, September 29 at 8PM at the South Orange Performing Arts Center
Winfred “Blue” Lovett, Richard Taylor, Kenny Kelly, George “Smitty” Smith and Sonny Bivins created the tight harmonic sound that is the signature of The Manhattans, a legendary singing group. Blue was also the group leader and an outstanding songwriter whose compositions with producer Joe Evans gave the group a string of hits on Carnival Records during the mid-1960s.
A significant change happened when 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 incorporate a more contemporary sound leading them to major national success on Starday/King Records with a Teddy Randazzo love song entitled “A Million To One.”
In 1972, Blue Lovett’s “One Life To Live” reached the top 20 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, “There’s No Me Without You,” “We Never Danced To A Love Song” and “Hurt.”
The most notable of these ballads was Blue Lovett’s “Kiss And Say Goodbye,” a platinum selling #1 Pop and R&B hit in 1976. In that same year, The Manhattans recorded “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.
After 17 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. The late 1980s found The Manhattans pursuing individual interests within the industry.
The 30th Anniversary in 1994 brought a new focus on reviving the group. With new members Troy May and David Tyson, a reunion tour was born.
On February 25, 1999 The Manhattans were inducted into the Rhythm and Blues Hall of Fame. In 2003, The Manhattans released their first studio album in fifteen years featuring the beautiful ballad “Turn Out The Stars” which became one of the year’s best songs.
The 56th anniversary of the The Manhattans is 2018. Their music has been the soundtrack for generations and the group is beloved by audiences around the world.