25 years ago, Boyz II Men’s song End Of The Road rode their group’s huge popularity to a then-record breaking 13 weeks at Number One on Billboard’s Pop and R&B charts, breaking a decades old record held by Elvis Presley.
The act featured sweet harmonies mixed with smooth R&B and New Jack Swing. By September 1992, they had already had two smash singles: the up tempo Motownphilly that soared to Number Three, and an a cappella ballad It’s So Hard to Say Goodbye which peaked at Number Two for four weeks. Both songs were from Boyz II Men’s debut album, Cooleyhighharmony (1990), which spent an astonishing 133 weeks on The Billboard Top 100 Chart.
The then-quartet: Michael McCary, Nathan Morris, Wanya Morris and Shawn Stockman made history with this mega-hit song. Just one of the tunes from the soundtrack of Eddie Murphy’s film Boomerang, End Of The Road topped the Hot 100 in mid-August of 1992. By the time this hopeful ballad with its tight-harmonies ended its run as Number One 13 weeks later, it stood as the longest-leading Number One in the chart’s history. It beat the 10-week Number Ones of Debby Boone’s You Light Up My Life (1977), and Olivia Newton-John’s 1981 huge workout anthem Physical.
Boyz II Men had four more Hot 100 Number One Hits during the next five years. After Whitney Houston had 14 weeks at Number One in early 1993 with I Will Always Love You, the Boyz II Men double-powerhouse Mariah Carey duet One Sweet Day (1995), gave back Boyz II Men the record for longest-running Number One that still stands: 16 weeks. The group is the only act with three Number Ones that were Number One for at least 13 weeks.
Boyz II Men is among the music biz elite when it comes to time spent at Number One, with 50 cumulative weeks, ranking fourth behind Presley, The Beatles, and Carey. Plus, when On Bended Knee took the number one spot away from I’ll Make Love to You, Boyz II Men became only the third artists ever (after The Beatles and Presley) to replace themselves at the top of the Billboard Hot 100.
Boyz II Men were influential in shaping the sound of the 1990s with their complex harmonies mixed with hip-hop, and they are still among the biggest names in a cappella and R&B. With what used to be called called “crossover appeal”, Boyz II Men were responsible for a big part of the 1990s movement to take R&B back into the mainstream, like it was in the 1970s.
Boyz II Men, became a trio when McCary left in 2003. They reached the Billboard 200’s Top 40 as recently as November 2014, when their 11th studio release, Collide, was ranked Number 37. They have sold more than 50 million records worldwide.
They continue to perform as a trio. In 2016, the trio appeared in Grease: Live as The Teen Angels, singing Beauty School Dropout. Their new album, Under The Streetlight is dropping next month.