Today’s Song of the Day is “Candy Girl” by New Edition. The album Candy Girl was released on this day in 1983. This title track is New Edition’s first single off of that debut album. If this sounds eerily like The Jackson 5’s “ABC”, it is by design. Their name is taken to mean a ‘new edition’ of the Jackson 5. New Edition was first discovered and mentored by their manager Brooke Payne. He entered them in a local talent show where they met songwriter/producer Maurice Starr who wrote “Candy Girl” for the group, envisioning them as a 1980s answer to the Jackson 5. Ralph Tresvant was positioned as the lead singer, because Starr considered his high tenor as reminiscent of a younger Michael Jackson, while having members Ricky Bell and Bobby Brown sharing alternate leads. The other members were Michael Bivins and Ronnie DeVoe.
In addition to “Candy Girl“, New Edition would go on to have hits with “Cool It Now,” and “Mr. Telephone Man“. Bobby Brown left in 1985 to go on to a solo career. In 1987, Johnny Gill was added to the lineup. In 1990, both Gill and Tresvant released their own solo albums, while the remaining three members formed the trio Bell Biv Devoe. All six members of New Edition reunited in 1996 to record the group’s sixth studio album Home Again. They had hits with “Hit Me Off” and “I’m Still In Love With You” off of that album. The group has had a few stops and starts since then.
They just embarked a new tour in 2022, called The Culture Tour.
“Candy Girl” would go on to top the U.K. charts. MTV controversially wasn’t playing videos by Black artists at the time, but the American network Black Entertainment Television (BET) gave it plenty of airtime, giving New Edition a big boost in the Black community. So the song only peaked at #46 on the Billboard Hot 100, but topped the US Hot Black Singles chart.