The Manhattans Net Worth

About The Manhattans

The story of the Manhattans is actually three stories, one that stretches over forty years, two lead singers, and success in at least three different styles of music. On the pop charts they’re remembered mainly for their epic 1976 smash “Kiss and Say Goodbye,” but Northern Soul aficionados know their history begins a dozen years earlier, when five students from two New Jersey high schools– just across the river from Manhattan, hence the name — formed a doo-wop style vocal group after their military stints were up. The lead singer of that group was one George Smith, who like all the members took a catchy nickname, and “Smitty’s” raw delivery made them one of the realest R&B vocal groups of the mid-60s. They may have been too real and raw for their time, however, even as balladeers: the original Manhattans even had trouble breaking out of the R&B Top 20. 

American popular R&B vocal group The Manhattans had a net worth of $5 million dollars.

Success

The new decade of the 70s started with tragedy when Smitty fell down a flight of stairs and later died of his injuries, but the group carried on, recruiting Gerald Alston, an up-and-coming young soul singer they’d spotted on tour, to be their lead. Radio and the group began to meet each other halfway; the Manhattans smoothed out their arrangements, helped along eventually by producer Bobby Martin, late of the MFSB backing band that had made Philly Soul a household word. Yet pop success still eluded them — that is, until founding member “Blue” Lovett’s own composition “Kiss and Say Goodbye” began racing towards #1, one of history’s saddest breakup songs set off by Blue’s deep rumbling intro (“This has got to be the saddest day of my life”). When baritone “Ricky” Taylor left the group for Islam shortly thereafter, the Manhattans merely carried on as a quartet.

Later years

The group only hit the pop charts again once, this time with an outside song called “Shining Star” (another ballad, not to be confused with the lite-funk hit by Earth, Wind and Fire). Yet they remained popular in R&B for another decade, as more adult urban audience began to listen to the highly emotional, lyrically thorny and musically smooth brand of adult contemporary that would become known as Quiet Storm. Alston left for a successful solo career in 1988, but before long the rise of hip-hop had left all the band members with a style they couldn’t emulate. They responded by forming two Manhattans, one led by founding member “Sonny” Bivins and one led by Lovett and Alston. The legal rights to the Manhattans name was to be decided in a 2015 court case, but Bivins and Lovett died within one week of each other in December 2014, leaving tenor “Wally” Kelley the only surviving member.

The Manhattans facts and trivia

“Kiss and Say Goodbye” was originally slated to be given to Glen Campbell to record

Alston is the nephew of Shirelles lead singer Shirley Alston-Reeves

“Kiss and Say Goodbye” was the second single in history to be certified Platinum

Lovett woke up with “Goodbye” fully formed in the middle of the night but took a year and a half to get the recording just right

The band’s cover of Sam Cooke‘s “You Send Me” was a Top 10 hit in the UK

Information

Formed:

1962, Jersey City, NJ

Styles: 

R&B, Soul, Philly Soul, Adult Contemporary, Doo-wop, Quiet Storm

Principal Members: 

Gerald Alston (born November 8, 1951, Henderson, NC): lead vocals (falsetto)
Edward “Sonny” Bivins (born January 15, 1936, Macon, GA; died December 5, 2014, Jersey City, NJ): vocals (first tenor)
Winfred “Blue” Lovett (born November 16, 1940, New Jersey; died December

10, 2014, Henderson, NV): vocals (bass)
Kenny “Wally” Kelley (born January 9, 1941, Jersey City, NJ): vocals (second tenor)
Richard “Ricky” Taylor (born 1940, Jersey City, NJ; died December 7, 1987, Kansas City, KS): vocals (baritone)

Claims to fame:

  • One of the great vocal group balladeers of any era
  • Their 1976 smash “Kiss and Say Goodbye” remains one of soul’s saddest breakup songs
  • Are prized by Northern Soul collectors for their minor 60s hits on the Carnival label
  • One of the first and best of R&B’s “quiet storm” groups
  • Lead singer Gerald Alston became an R&B star in his own right in the late Eighties

The Manhattans awards and honors:

GRAMMY Award (1981), Rhythm and Blues Hall of Fame (1999)

The Manhattans hit singles and albums:

#1 hits:

Pop:

  • “Kiss and Say Goodbye” (1976)

R&B;

  • “Kiss and Say Goodbye” (1976)

Top 10 hits:

Pop;

  • “Shining Star” (1980)

R&B:

  • “One Life to Live” (1972) 
  • “There’s No Me Without You” (1973)
  • “Don’t Take Your Love” (1973)
  • “Hurt” (1975)
  • “I Kinda Miss You” (1976)
  • “Shining Star” (1980)
  • “Crazy” (1983)

Top 10 albums:

R&B:

  • The Manhattans (1976)
  • After Midnight (1980)

Other important Manhattans recordings: “Follow Your Heart,” “That New Girl,” “Can I,” “The Boston Monkey,” “I’ve Got Everything But You,” “Manhattan Stomp,” “Searchin’ for My Baby,” “Our Love Will Never Die,” “I’m the One Love Forgot,” “What’s It Gonna Be,” “Teach Me (The Philly Dog).” “Baby I Need You,” “I Call It Love,” “I Betcha (Couldn’t Love Me),” “Sweet Little Girl,” “There Goes a Fool,” “Alone on New Year’s Eve,” “All I Need Is Your Love,” “I Wanna Be,” “When We’re Made as One,” “Call Somebody Please,” “For the Very First Time,” “It’s That Time of the Year,” “Baby I’m Sorry,” “I’ll Never Find Another (Find Another Like You),” “La La La Wish Upon a Star,” “You Send Me,” “It’s Not the Same,” “A Million to One,” “Just One Moment Away,” “Am I Losing You,” “Goodbye Is the Saddest Word,” “Wish That You Were Mine,” “The Day the Robin Sang to Me.” “That’s How Much I Love You,” “It Feels So Good to Be Loved So Bad,” “Everybody Has a Dream,” “I Was Made for You,” “Just the Lonely Talking Again”

Movie and TV appearances (movies in italics): “Soul Train” (1973, 1983), “The Midnight Special” (1980), “The John Davidson Show” (1980), “Motown Returns to the Apollo” (1985), “Unsung” (2014)

Covered by:  Bette Midler, Bryan Adams, Jerry Garcia Band, Whitney Houston, Billy Joe Royal, Anita Mui

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