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The Manhattans


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Jersey City, New York NJ, United States

A long running male vocal group from Jersey City, New Jersey, with roots in the doo-wop era. They first formed as the Manhattans, circa 1963, and hit the charts on Carnival Records in the mid 60’s, maintaining chart popularity well into the the 1980’s when their hit “Shining Star” topped the charts.

THE MANHATTANS were originally: Winfred “Blue” Lovett, Richard Taylor, Kenny Kelley, George “Smitty” Smith and Sonny Bivins. The quintet reportedly took it’s name not from the big city across the water from New Jersey, but from the cocktail known as the Manhattan featuring whiskey, vermouth, and bitters. Still, the name suggested class, something the Manhattans have epitomized throughout their long career.

Between 1970 and 1973 they recorded for Starday/King Records , and by 1973 they were signed to industry behemoth Columbia where their career finally took off.

After 10 years of lower charting singles, the 1976 hit “Kiss and Say Goodbye” was the group’s biggest hit to date and led to a performance at Jimmy carter’s 1977 inaugural. In 1980 they won a Grammy for Shining Star written and produced by Leo Graham. In the mid 1980’s female singer Regina Belle was briefly added to the lineup, singing on the Bobby Womack-produced single, “Where Did We Go Wrong” (a duet with Gerald Alston). She also contributed to The Manhattans 1986 Columbia Records album, “Back To Basics” before signing as a solo artist.

Two versions of The Manhattans have soldiered on to today.


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