The Boyz II Men's concert in Shippensburg next week may be one of the last times area residents will hear the band before it redefines its music and releases a new album.
Boyz II Men is largely regarded as the most successful R&B group of all-time and certainly produced enough chart-topping singles and albums to prove it.
It climbed the charts in the 1990s with multiple record-setting singles, including “End of the Road,” “I’ll Make Love To You,” “On Bended Knee” and “One Sweet Day.”
“End of the Road” spent 13 weeks at No. 1 on the pop charts, beating Elvis Presley’s record at 11 weeks with “Don’t Be Cruel”/“Hound Dog,” according to Billboard. Though Whitney Houston beat that record with 14 weeks at the top with “I Will Always Love You,” Boyz II Men tied that record quickly with “I’ll Make Love To You” and became one of the few artists to replace that No. 1 with another No. 1 single, “On Bended Knee” — only Elvis and the Beatles have every accomplished that.
Pairing up with fellow superstar Mariah Carey, the group then released “One Sweet Day,” which broke another record by spending 16 weeks at No. 1, and still remains the single with the longest reign at the top.
Though the quartet is now a trio and retook the charts with its album “Twenty” two years ago — marking the band’s 20 years in the music business — Boyz II Men singer Shawn Stockman said the remaining men (including Nathan Morris and Wanya Morris) are looking at a new sound two decades after their start.
“We actually just started listening to some new material,” Stockman said. “It’s really going to be a surprising direction. We want people to get out of their heads what they know about us and what we’re known for. It’s not going to be anything like that.”
Stockman said there are going to be elements from their previous work, but the group’s next album will take a largely different approach.
“We’re not going to do anything too bananas,” he laughed. “It’s going to be new and fresh, but doesn’t compromise our sound. It’s more like an update.”
Boyz II Men has a long road ahead to get to that album. Stockman said the group plans on completing that album as soon as possible while preserving quality, but that will take some time considering the band’s current concert schedule.
Boyz II Men has a contract with The Mirage Hotel in Las Vegas to perform into the end of the year. Meanwhile, the group will be out performing at various concerts, including on at the H. Ric Luhrs Performing Arts Center at Shippensburg University on Thursday, April 4.
Once the group gets to the summer, however, it will combine forces with New Kids on the Block and 98 Degrees for The Package Tour, which will make stops at the Consol Energy Center in Pittsburgh, the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia and the Verizon Center in Washington D.C.
That tour starts May 28, and Stockman said he’s looking forward to going on tour with the two bands.
“We’ve known these guys for years — it’s going to be like going on a road trip,” he said. “The coolest thing about this is the dynamic. There’s no drama. We all love each other and we love our music and what we bring together. We each have our own personality and charm and level of excitement. That’s why it’s the ‘Package’ tour.”
Before taking up the road trip, Stockman said the band is looking forward to the stop in Shippensburg.
Much of the seating for show is sold out, though there are still about 50 seats left in the balcony for the show. Reserved tickets range from $39 to $25 and are on sale.
Tickets can be purchased by calling the Luhrs Center Box Office at 717.477.SHOW (7469) or online at www.luhrscenter.com.