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Wednesday, November 12, 2014

The Chart-Topping Success of Boyz II Men

Hello, everybody!  We aren't quite halfway through "YOU NEVER NOVEMBER WHAT YOU'RE GONNA GET" month, but it is fast approaching.

And you want to know what else is fast approaching?  Christmas.  Now, granted, for the American audiences, you still have Thanksgiving to get through.  But in Canada, there are no more holidays.  Remembrance Day is really the final observance that we have for the year before Christmas. 

Well, okay, unless you happen to be Jewish and you celebrate Hanukkah.  The 8-day festivities this year begin on December 16.

Anyway, I thought that before we get on with today's blog post, I would remind you that beginning on December 1, 2014, I will be featuring the 3rd annual "POP CULTURE ADDICT'S ADVENT CALENDAR", where for twenty-five days straight, I will be doing nothing but holiday themed entries.  This will mean that I will be posting Christmas carols, talking about Christmas specials, and attempting to make the Tuesday Timeline entries holiday themed - which is no easy task, let me tell you.

Oh, and during the week of Hanukkah, I will try to incorporate at least a couple of references to the Jewish celebration as well.  After all, I want to try and include everybody.

So, that is what you can expect beginning December 1.  Now the reason why I want to get this out of the way now is because I will not be posting any holiday themed entries (save one for the American Thanksgiving) until the first of December.  Let's be honest.  Stores already have Christmas music blaring non-stop, radio stations have been playing Christmas music since October, and some retailers believe in setting up Christmas trees as early as August.  Believe me.  I understand holiday overload.

So, relax.  November is going to be a great, but slightly unpredictable month.  For instance, I'm posting a Sunday Jukebox entry on a Wednesday.  If that isn't unpredictable, I don't know what is.

And, believe it or not, at the time this song was released, it had tied the record for the most weeks at #1 on the Billboard Charts.  And, even more astonishing, the following year after this single was released, the same group that recorded today's single shattered their previous record by two weeks with a collaboration that they did with Mariah Carey.

The year was 1994.  The group was Boyz II Men.  And the single spent over one quarter of a year at the top of the charts!  That is practically the entire fall season!

I suppose that you want to know what this song is, huh?  Well, here it is.  The #1 hit from twenty years ago.

(Yikes, has it REALLY been twenty years since this song was released?!?  It seems like only yesterday that I was in the eighth grade and this song was playing on PAC 93 all day long!  Boy, do I feel old.)

Ahem...anyway, the song!

ARTIST:  Boyz II Men
SONG:  I'll Make Love To You
DATE RELEASED:  July 26, 1994

No, that isn't a typographical error.  This song really did top the charts for fourteen straight weeks in 1994, first hitting #1 on August 27 and remaining there until December 2!  That is nearly one hundred days at the top!

At the time, they had tied the record for longest run at #1 on the Billboard charts.  The only other artist at that time to have such a long run was Whitney Houston in 1992-1993 for her cover version of Dolly Parton's "I Will Always Love You".

(Funnily enough, the "Macarena" also spent 14 weeks at the top of the Billboard charts in the summer of 1996.)

Of course, being on the top of the Billboard charts is nothing new for Boyz II Men.  After all, if you took all the number of weeks that Boyz II Men spent at the top of the charts total over the last two and a half decades, it would total almost one whole year!

Let's take a look at their first #1 single, "End of the Road" from 1992.  It stayed on the charts for thirteen straight weeks, and at that time had broken the record for most weeks at the top of the charts.  Well, that lasted all of a few weeks because Whitney Houston broke that record in early 1993.  Then came "I'll Make Love To You", which tied Whitney's record in late 1994 - which we will discuss later on in this blog.

Astonishingly, "I'll Make Love To You" was unseated from the top in December 1994 by the single "On Bended Knee" - which was another song by Boyz II Men!  This made Boyz II Men one of only three artists in the history of the Billboard Charts to replace themselves on the top of the singles chart.

(Just so you know, the other two happen to be The Beatles and Elvis Presley.  Pretty good company to share a statistic with, I'll say.)

And, finally in 1995, Boyz II Men performed a song with Mariah Carey entitled "One Sweet Day", which amassed a run of SIXTEEN WEEKS at #1 between late 1995 and early 1996, making it the longest serving #1 song in Top 40 history!

Oh, yeah...the group had one final chart-topper with "4 Seasons of Loneliness" back in 1997 for a week before Elton John's tribute to Princess Diana unseated it permanently from the top spot on Billboard.  But still, you add the weeks all up, and you get fifty weeks at #1 total!  Not a bad achievement, given that this all happened within a five year window!

Anyway, getting back to the song "I'll Make Love To You", I would wager a fairly safe bet that this song is one of the most played at wedding receptions.  And, I wouldn't be surprised if any child born after 1995 was conceived while this song played in background of bedrooms all over the world.

Okay, maybe that was a rather wacky and candid thought.  But I wouldn't be surprised if that was the truth.

The song itself is probably one of the most sensual and passionate songs to be released within the 1990s.  Some might even say that it is one of the most romantic songs ever released.  I don't know if I could agree with that claim, but I can see why lovers all over the world fell in love with it.  These days, love songs are a lot more raunchier, a lot more dirty, and are a lot more offensive than ever before.  I mean, have you ever heard the full version of Rihanna's "Rude Boy"?  Yeah, that doesn't quite have the same effect as Boyz II Men's single, even though both songs are basically about the same thing.

But you know, even if a song is all about sex, it doesn't have to be raunchy.  Rather, Boyz II Men made this song classy, smooth, and sexy without having to go there.

Now, of course some might argue that the world was a very different place in 1994, and yes, they would be correct.  A lot of stuff that people get away with now would definitely be censored or banned in 1994.  But the wonderful thing about "I'll Make Love To You" is that the song still sounds as great now as it did twenty years ago.  It is a song that could be considered timeless for several more years, and unlike some love songs of the past, it does not sound the least bit dated.

No wonder the single ended up winning a Grammy Award in 1995 for Best R&B Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocals.  The single also won two American Music Awards that same year, and is currently listed as the seventeenth song on Billboard's All Time Top 100 list.  And with over one million copies of the single sold in the United States alone, it isn't any wonder how it became so popular.

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