#26: New Edition ‘Can You Stand The Rain’

ne-heartbreak.jpgOkay, okay, okay. So, what do you do when an '80s boy band with crossover appeal loses one of its members amidst rumors involving drug use, said member reemerges a few years later to become a bigger star than anyone ever anticipated, and your last record, Under The Blue Moon, an attempt to cash in on the '50s fever that took hold during the '80s, was absolutely wack? Well, you do what New Edition's founding members did minus Bobby Brown, of course, and break the glass in case of an emergency. In this case, the saving grace came in the form of a little-known singer named Johnny Gill, whose husky growl of a voice had joined Stacy Lattisaw on a modest hit entitled "Perfect Combination" a few years earlier. Not only did Johnny Gill breathe new life into post-pubescent New Edition, but it was the grown-ness of his voice that helped NE's core fans relate to them more since many of us were no longer innocent little "candy girls." While Heartbreak featured many R&B mainstays ("If It Isn't Love," "You're Not My Kind Of Girl"), the seminal hit from this album remains "Can You Stand The Rain." Penned by hitmakers Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis, it features both Ralph Tresvant (pre-"Sensitivity" and post-braces) and Johnny Gill (in the midst of a S-Curl/fade situation gone wrong) and Ricky Bell doing his required best with his solo during the bridge (remember how he killed it on "Is This The End"!!!). In any case, while many kudos can be given to Johnny, let's not forget the talent contained within this often under-accoladed group that later gave rise to BBD, and successful solo careers for both Ralph and Johnny. If the question is still poised whether we can stand the rain or not, the answer undoubtedly is yes, several times over. 

New Edition: "Can You Stand The Rain"
P.S. For all you '80s babies out there, and for those of you who know (or don't) that New Edition's throws down live, their performance of this song on The Arsenio Hall Show is after the bounce. You're welcome.

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8 Responses

  1. one of my favs by them. 🙂

  2. I remember the album, the tour, the whole 9 yds. I ran up my phone bill on the 900 # as well. LMAO. Beautiful, timeless song.

  3. This song made me fall in love with NE music. Great memories I had with this song, lol! This ballad is a great addition to the countodwn.

  4. NE is without a doubt the best group of my generation, this album has to be considered a classic, I still play it in heavy rotation at the house, at work, in my ride. I actually thought troop had better vocal ability and dance moves but they couldnt produce the quality or volume of good music that NE made. If Obama is smart they will sing at his inauguration:)

  5. Ricky is the best vocalist in the group. Johnny has the best raw talent, but Ricky's vocal dexterity is sorely underrated. Great joint tho!

  6. Ricky's vocal dexterity? LMAO No offense, but I remember a SERIES of live performances on the late-night-variety-show-du-jour where Ricky lapsed horribly on that high note at the end of Can You Stand The Rain.
    Nonetheless, NE was my favorite boy group of the 80s, period. One of my high school sweeties made the miscalculation of taking me to an NE/Jodeci/Al Be Sure show and got ignored until we got back to the car to head home. Met the guys after the Budweiser SuperFest in '88 and have the photos to prove it. Memories!! 🙂
    However, I gots to take issue with anyone who says that Johnny Gill was unknown. He had several hits in his pre-NE days, including "Half Crazy" which was in hot rotation on the BET Top 20 back when Donnie Simpson and Sherry Carter were co-hosting. We'll try to forget the S Curl debacle.

  7. Johnny saved that damn group.

  8. i know these guys sung the track 1st, but i always say that Boyz II Men sung the original... they killed it!