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When Bell Biv DeVoe's Michael Bivins discovered a sweet-singing quartet of Philadelphia teenagers in 1990, he likely hoped they would become an extension of his own group's success, which was, at the time, considerable. Instead Boyz II Men quickly eclipsed the chart glories of Bell Biv Devoe, becoming perhaps the biggest teen group since Bivins' New Edition nearly a decade earlier.

Formed in 1988 at Philadelphia's High School Of Creative And Performing Arts, Boyz II Men--Wanya and Nathan Morris, Michael McCary and Shawn Stockman--caught Bivins' eye while he was making a local appearance, and he signed them to his management company. In 1991, the group's debut Cooleyhighharmony appeared, and was an instant smash--the Bell Biv Devoe soundalike "MotownPhilly," a hip-hop-inflected tribute to musical idols of another era, hit number three on the U.S. charts. But it was with the ballad "It's So Hard To Say Goodbye To Yesterday" that the Boyz hit on a chart-topping formula; the slower song allowed them to fully demonstrate their smooth harmonies, and won them a number of older listeners who responded to the song's overtones of '50s doo-wop. The following year, the group used the formula to even greater effect. "End Of The Road," from the movie Boomerang, topped the charts for 13 weeks--at the time, the longest such run ever--and its sentimental theme made it a staple at high school graduations. A collection of Christmas songs followed in 1993; the following year, the Boyz re-emerged with "I'll Make Love To You," a Babyface-penned ballad previewing II, their second album, which largely dropped dance rhythms for their proven-successful ballad style. The Grammy-winner "I'll Make Love To You" and its follow-up, "On Bended Knee," both hit number one.

Despite their already-considerable success, the group managed to top itself with "One Sweet Day," a 1996 duet with Mariah Carey. The song stayed at number one for 16 weeks--no small achievement, given the number of male harmony acts which had appeared in recent years, trying (unsuccessfully) to match the Boyz' chart feats.

This Biography was written by Dan Leroy