New Edition: Don't Call It A Comeback

Sept. 27, 1996 -- The 80's hit machine New Edition staged a comeback reunion this week -- at the top of the "Billboard" charts. The group's new, number one album re-teams Bell Biv Devoe and Ralph Tresvant with both Bobby Brown and the man who replaced him in the lineup in 1987, Johnny Gill. Brown was sidelined with a leg injury the day we dropped in on this New Edition, but the rest of the guys seemed happy to be back.

DJ for 92.3FM: The beat, you're on the air with New Edition.

CALLER: Hey, where's Ralph? And why'd y'all get back together?

RALPH TRESVANT: This is Ralph. And we got back together 'cause we got genuine love for our, you know, what started all of us as individuals and that's New Edition.

MTV: In 1987, after five years of bubble gum hits, the members of New Edition matured a bit and began to branch out into solo projects.

JOHNNY GILL: We had the intentions, every intention of coming back together as New Edition, but we didn't know the

projects were gonna do as well as they did. Once those projects wound down, we got back together and said, "It's time to get it on."

MTV: On "Home Again" -- the first time all members of New Edition, past and present have recorded together -- there is a concerted effort to feature each of the six artists.

MIKE BIVINS: I think it starts out Bobby Brown style and it goes to Ricky Bell style and it goes back to Johnny Gill and to Ralph and to Ron and to myself and I think each one of our personalities comes out while we're doing our part.

MTV: For the first single, "Hit Me Off," New Edition bucked conventional wisdom and went for a more funky groove.

RONNIE DEVOE: A lot of people tend to think that if you come with that astronomical, pop, slow jam, it's gonna be easier for you to hit that number one spot. But we kinda wanted to come out with a bunch of energy to our campaign, you know, just introduce it on an upbeat level. And besides that, all six of us

were on that song, so it was just a perfect way to open up the "Home Again" campaign.

MTV: Apparently so. "Home Again" entered the charts at number one, edging out REM's latest release and satisfying New Edition's bottom line.

RICKY BELL: We might not be getting played as much on the radio as the next artist, but when we look over on the sales charts and we're number one, that's the bottom line. That's what it all boils down to.

TRESVANT: That's who's going to the bank.

MTV: Like their 1990 Video Music Awards reunion, New Edition's 1996 concert tour will feature each of their incarnations.

BIVINS: We gonna start out as New Edition. We gonna go into the five member group, the four member group, the three member, the BBD, the Ralph, the Johnny, the Bobby, then we gonna end with the six man.

MTV: And if the members of New Edition have their way, this isn't the last time you'll be hearing about them.

DEVOE: We want to be mentioned along

with the names like The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, Elvis Presley, Michael Jackson, you know. Until we're mentioned in the same sentence with some of the people like that, then our job is not done, we're still striving.