Shawn Stockman and Nathan Morris of Boyz II Men tell the stories behind their biggest hits
You awkwardly danced to "End of the Road" at your middle-school dances. You sang along to "I'll Make Love to You" on the radio, even if you didn't fully understand the subject matter. "Motownphilly" will always be back again.
After taking a break for several years, the Boyz behind these early-'90s classics -- Nathan Morris, Wanya Morris and Shawn Stockman (bass singer Michael McCary left the group in 2003 due to health issues) -- are back.
Taking time off from their Las Vegas residency, various TV gigs and recording a new album, Boyz II Men perform tonight at 1STBANK Center as part of the Package Tour, which also features boy bands 98 Degrees and headliners New Kids on the Block.
Boyz II Men are the openers on this tour. As such, they perform thirty minutes of their most familiar tunes, and the sound of screaming women is just as loud now as it was twenty years ago, says Stockman and Nathan Morris.
"We were blessed with Ferraris to drive," declares the latter, speaking metaphorically of their song catalogue. "The women fell in love with those cars." We recently caught up with the pair and spoke with them about their biggest hits. Keep reading to see what they had to say.
"It's So Hard to Say Goodbye to Yesterday" (1991)
Shawn Stockman: That was a song from another soundtrack to an old movie from the late '70s called Cooley High, and was actually the inspiration for us naming our first album after that movie. Our manager at the time thought it was a good idea for us to remake it a cappella, because that's how we actually got our deal, by singing a cappella for him.
When we were talking about that being a single, Jheryl Busby, the president of our record label at the time, didn't think it was a good idea. He thought it wouldn't do well and fought us on it, but he gave in eventually, saying, like, "Well, it's your career." So we released it, and it went to number one. He kind of had to eat his words. Being the president of the label, he didn't have to do this, but he came to us and said, "You were right and I was wrong. Congratulations."
Nathan Morris: That was a song that Shawn and I wrote. Our manager suggested that we write a song called Motownphilly, and we didn't even really know what that meant, but we came up with some lyrics about where we got started and where we were going. Every group has an introduction song. We had no idea it would do what it did. That's another one where the video was extremely innovative with the colors and the angles. The beat section was just something that I stuck in because we didn't have anything written for the bridge. I suggested throwing in one of the scales we had learned in high-school choir class, and now that's the signature of the song.