Born on June 18, 1971, Nathan Morris helped put Philadelphia back on the map for music beginning in the late 1980s, when this high school student founded the all-boy group Boyz II Men. Morris and three other singers became known for harmonizing perfectly, and for topping the charts with their ballads, R&B songs and dance tunes.
Nathan Bartholomew Morris was born on June 18, 1971, on the south side of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. His family struggled financially after his father left when Morris was about 10. The youngster found solace in the church choir and playing trumpet. When Morris was in the fourth grade, a vocal teacher noticed his singing potential and gave him private lessons. She and Morris's mom nudged him into auditioning for the Philadelphia High School for the Creative & Performing Arts. After belting out classical songs in Italian and German, he was accepted almost immediately.
Boyz II Men
One day in history class, a bored Nathan Morris began singing aloud. Fellow student Marc Nelson soon joined in. The twosome quickly bonded and decided to form the group Boyz II Men in 1988. Singers Wanya Morris, Shawn Stockman and Michael McCary signed on too. The fivesome got their big break in 1989, when they caught the attention of singer and music producer Michael Bivins at his Bell Biv DeVoe concert. Bivins, formerly of New Edition fame, offered them a deal. All were on board except Nelson, who bowed out.
Making Music History
The quartet released their debut album, Cooleyhighharmony, in 1991. The first single, the dance track "Motownphilly," reached the top five on the pop charts and No. 1 on the R&B charts. A Grammy followed, as did hits like "It's The End of the Road," which remained at the top of the pop charts for 13 weeks, breaking a record Elvis Presley had held since 1956. The group made history again in 1994, when "On Bended Knee" replaced another of their songs, "I'll Make Love to You," for the No. 1 spot on the Hot 100 chart—a feat accomplished previously only by Elvis Presley and the Beatles.
Boy Bands United
Throughout their career, Boyz II Men have collaborated with such megastars as Michael Jackson, Mariah Carey and Justin Bieber. Though McCary left the group due to scoliosis in 2003, the remaining members carried on. Their last two albums were produced by Randy Jackson. In the summer of 2013, Boyz II Men joined "The Package Tour," also featuring fellow boy bands New Kids On The Block and 98 Degrees.
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