With New Las Vegas Show, Boyz II Men Are Back In a Big Way

End of the road? Hell no.

Who can forget the slick vocal harmonizing that came out of Philadelphia in the early 90s thanks to Boyz II Men? Whether you loved or hated their drippy, sweet sound, there’s no denying that the quartet of High School for the Performing Arts graduates broke even Elvis Presley’s Billboard records with their emotional hits like “End of the Road” and “I’ll Make Love to You.” They sold more than 60 million albums, making them one of the most successful R&B groups of all time. No, really.

Then, like so many bands from that era (anyone want to talk about Color Me Badd’s “I Wanna Sex You Up” and Divinyls’ I Touch Myself,” both 1991 Billboard hits?), the Boyz disappeared from the pop music radar, losing a member and falling into the abyss of greatest hits and cover albums.

But now, 20 years later, the three remaining Boyz–two of whom still live in the Philadelphia area–are poised to make a comeback. Is this a good thing? You bet it is. After all, they’re the best at what they do, and they’re Philly born and raised.

Earlier this month, the trio started a one-year residency at the Mirage in Las Vegas. They’ll take a break from that to support New Kids On the Block on a summer tour, making a stop at the Wells Fargo Center, where they won’t–but should–be given the headlining slot. And thanks to a just-signed contract with mega-record-label conglomerate BMG, they’re set to start work on a new album–of originals. No more covers. Expect a single later this year.

Vegas show. National tour. Album contract. It’s a trifecta of major career advances that no one expected, least of all them. “I wish we were smart to line it all up the way it did,” says Shawn Stockman (right), a.k.a. “The Skinny One,” who’s the face of the group these days and the only member to have left town. (Let’s give a big old “Boooooo!” to L.A.). “But it just kind of happened that way.”

And Stockman, 40, warns: This isn’t the group’s last hurrah. “We’re still young men,” he points out. “A lot of people think because we’ve been around for 20 years that we should be at home collecting residual checks. But not us. There’s too much left to sing about.”

[Photo: Denise Truscello]