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New Edition reached its height of popularity during the 1980s. They were the progenitors of the boy band movement of the 1980s and 1990s and led the way for groups like New Kids on the Block, Boyz II Men, Backstreet Boys and 'N Sync. The group recorded mostly as a quintet.
During the group's first bout of fame in 1983, its members were Ricky Bell, Michael Bivins, Bobby Brown, Ronnie DeVoe, and Ralph Tresvant. Early hits included "Candy Girl," "Cool It Now" and "Mr. Telephone Man". Brown left in late 1985 to embark on a solo career. The group continued for a time with its remaining four members, but eventually recruited singer Johnny Gill, who would be introduced on their 1988 album Heart Break. The group went on hiatus in 1990, while its various members worked on side projects, such as the group Bell Biv Devoe. Gill and Tresvant also recorded successful solo albums.