A lot of Bostonians around my age have an undying affection for all things New Edition. The iconic and influential Roxbury boy band came to prominence in the early '80s with a string of hits that still induce Pavlovian ass-shaking til this day---you couldn't go a day without hearing "Candy Girl". Riffing off the Jackson 5 a bit, New Edition essentially spawned an archetype that paved the way for a shitload of groups that would later dominate the charts. Big Ron, Bobby, Ricky, Mike and Ralph were our age and fellow city kids so we've always rooted for them and followed their careers. They were superstars from Boston, kids who made it. Damn right, I'm pulling for them.
So I was pretty psyched yesterday when I saw that the city of Boston named a street in Bobby's honor: Bobby Brown Way in Roxbury. It's great to see Bobby get his flowers while he's here. He's a music legend and co-founded a band that helped put the 'bury on the map. Fellow NE member Michael Bivins has a basketball court named after him but it would be better if the city had some greater acknowledgment of the game-changing group as a whole. (BET did a fantastic mini-series on the group four years ago that I wrote about here...)
Brown was an incredible showman who craved the spotlight but he drove the other four guys crazy to the point they booted him from the band. The move put Brown on the path to solo superstardom as his second album "Don't Be Cruel" was a smash, selling 12M+ copies. And you can see and hear why...
He was also the best thing about GHOSTBUSTERS II, incorporating aspects of the movie into an absolute slapper for the soundtrack.
Bobby was at the peak for a good stretch. And then he wasn't. His marriage to Whitney Houston became fodder for tabloids and reality TV. He isn't perfect and has fucked up plenty. He's struggled. But he still marches on.
Brown has been through devastating, unimaginable grief in the last decade. He's seen some shit in his 52 years. And he's still here. Bobby Brown is a survivor and I'm glad he was able to have a day of happiness that recognized his ample accomplishments.
Now let's get that Donna Summer statue going.