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the manhattans

The Manhattans

The Manhattans comprised of:

George 'Smitty' Smith (lead vocalist - b. 18th December 1939, Florida, U.S.A., d. 16th December 1970)

Edward 'Sonny' Jessie Bivins (tenor - b. Edward Jesse Bivens, 15th January 1936, Macon, Georgia, U.S.A. d. 3rd December 2014, Barking Ridge, Bernards Township, New Jersey, U.S.A.)

Winfred 'Blue' Lovett (bass - b. 16th November 1936, Manhattan, New York City, U.S.A. d. 9th December 2014, Arizona, U.S.A.)

Kenny Bernard Kelley (tenor - b. Kenneth Kelley, 9th January 1941, Jersey City, New Jersey, U.S.A. d. 17th February 2015, Newark, New Jersey, U.S.A.)

Richard 'Ricky' Taylor (baritone - d. 7th December 1987, Kansas City, Kansas, U.S.A.)

and later,

Gerald Alston (b. 8th November 1951, Henderson, North Carolina, U.S.A.)

The Manhattans, originated from Jersey City, New Jersey, (just south of New York City's borough of Manhattan) and were formed in 1962.

Edward Bivins, Winfred Lovett, and Kenny Kelley graduated from Lincoln High School.

Richard Taylor and George Smith graduated from Snyder High School.

The singers performed in several local groups including the Statesmen, the Dulcets and the Dorsets.

All of the ex-students joined the military, serving in Germany, and, on leaving the services, formed the Manhattans.

The Manhattans

the manhattans in 1964

I've Got Everything But You

i've got everything but you - 1964

The group's first single was 'I've Got Everything But You' b/w 'For the Very First Time', which was released in 1964 on the Carnival Records imprint.

Dedicated To YouFor You and Yours

dedicated to you - 1964 / for you and yours - 1965

The Manhattans recorded first for the Newark, New Jersey-based Carnival imprint, releasing 'I Wanna Be (Your Everything)' in 1965.

I BetchaCan I?

i betcha (couldn't love me) - 1966 / can i? - 1966

They released 15 further sides for Carnival, including 'There Goes A Fool', 'I Wanna Be (Your Everything)', 'Searchin' For My Baby', 'Follow Your Heart', 'Baby I Need You', 'Can I', 'I Bet'cha (Couldn't Love Me)', 'It's That Time Of Year', 'All I Need Is Your Love', 'When We're Made As One', 'I Call It Love', 'I Don't Wanna Go' and 'Til You Come Back To Me'.

In 1968 they received the 'Most Promising Group' award by NATRA.

The following year, the group relocated to the De Luxe records imprint of King Records, for which they recorded 11 singles at the label.

Whilst playing at Kittrell College in North Carolina, the group met the New Imperials, (a vocal group featuring Gerald Alston, nephew of The Shirelles' lead singer, Shirley Alston-Reeves).

Gerald was offered a position within the group, which he initially declined, however, a second request was instigated, following the passing of George Smith.

During 1970, George Smith had fallen down a flight of stairs, and became unable to perform, passing away from a cerebral haemmorage on the 16th of December 1970.

The Manhattans

with gerald alston

Gerald accepted the second offer, beginning a 17 year stay with the group.

With These HandsA Million To OneThere's No Me Without YouThat's How Much I Love YouThe ManhattansIt Feels So Good

with these hands - 1971 / a million to one - 1972 / there's no me without you - 1973 / that's how much I love you - 1975 / the manhattans - 1976 - it feels so good - 1977

In 1976, they group ached their biggest record to date with the single 'Kiss and Say Goodbye' b/w 'I Kinda Miss You', penned by Blue Lovett and arranged/co-produced with the group by the Philadelphia producer Bobby Martin, (a former member of the MFSB).

Further hits followed including the Top Ten R&B hits, 'It Feels So Good to Be Loved By You' b/w 'On The Street (Where I Live)', 'We Never Danced to a Love Song' b/w 'Let's Start It All Over Again', and 'Am I Losing You' b/w 'Movin'.

Ricky Taylor left the group in 1976, after converting to Islam.

He later passed away in 1987 following a long illness.

There's No Good In GoodbyeLove TalkAfter MidnightBlack TieForever By Your SideToo Hot To Stop

there's no good in goodbye - 1978 / love talk - 1979 / after midnight - 1980 / black tie - 1981 / forever by your side - 1983 / too hot to stop - 1985

The remaining four group members continued as the Manhattans, and in March of 1980 released and charted with 'Shining Star' b/w 'Summertime In The City', (reaching number 5 on the Billboard Hot 100 Chart and number 4 on the R&B Chart).

The Manhattans' last major hit came with the 1983 dancer, 'Crazy' b/w 'Gonna Find You', although they continued to release recordings for Columbia.

Back To BasicsSweet TalkOne Life To LiveEven NowReaching For The SkyMen Cry Too

back to basics - 1986 / sweet talk - 1989 / one life to live - 1994 / even now - 2001 / reaching for the sky - 2007 / men cry too - 2008

In 1988, Gerald Alston departed the group to pursue a solo career, seeing Roger Harris becoming the new lead singer for the group, who relocated to the Valley Vue imprint when their Columbia contract was completed.

Kevin Lunsford became the lead guitarist for the Manhattans between 1998 to 2003.

In 1990, Blue Lovett left due to health problems, and Kenny Kelley returned to college to pursue his PhD.

Edward Bivins, was the only remaining original band member at this point, leading to his recruiting of the new group members Alvin Pazant, Harsey Hemphill, and Charles Hardy joining Roger Harris who remind lead singer.

Roger Harris, however, he left in 1991, and was replaced by Wade Taylor, who also stayed for a short period.

Edward Bivins then recruited Lee Williams, the person who was an early replacement choice back in the days that Gerald Alston was undertaking the lead vocal role circa 1970.

The Manhattans latest incarnation features Sonny Bivins, Lee Williams, Alvin Pazant, Harsey Hemphill, and Charles Hardy.

They released 'One Life To Live' in 1994, and in 1996, they began recording under their own label, Manhattans Entertainment Inc.

Blue Lovett reformed his own version of the Manhattans in 1995, re-enlisting Gerald Alston as lead vocalist in his group (also featuring Troy May and David Tyson, the brother of The Temptations' Ron Tyson).

Sadly Blue Lovett and Sonny Bivens passed away within a week of each other in December 2014.

In February 2015, Kenneth Kelley passed away.

The group released the album 'The Legacy Continues' in 2021.


the legacy continues - 2021

Real Player


Dedicated To You (Carnival Records 1964)

For You And Yours (Carnival Records 1965)

With These Hands (Deluxe Records 1970)

A Million To One (Deluxe Records 1972)

There's No Me Without You (Columbia Records 1973)

Summertime In The City (Columbia Records 1974)

That's How Much I Love You (Columbia Records 1975)

The Manhattans (Columbia Records 1976)

It Feels So Good (Columbia Records 1977)

There's No Good In Goodbye (Columbia Records 1978)

Love Talk (Columbia Records 1979)

After Midnight (Columbia Records 1980)

Black Tie (Columbia Records 1981)

Follow Your Heart (Columbia Records 1981)

Forever By Your Side (Columbia Records 1983)

Too Hot To Stop It (Columbia Records 1985)

Back To Basics (Columbia Records 1986)

Sweet Talk (Valley Vue Records 1989)

One Life To Live (Sony Distribution Records 1994)

Even Now (Beemark Records 2001)

Live In Concert (Classic World Records 2002)

Reachin' For The Sky (KRB Records 2007)

Men Cry Too (S.D.E.G. Records 2008)

The Legacy Continues (Self Released Records 2021)

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