Album: Cooleyhighharmony (1991)
Charted: 23 3


  • In the US, this was Boyz II Men's first single. It confused DJs for a few reasons: many didn't know how to pronounce the band name, and some thought the song was called Boyz II Men and the group was named Motownphilly, since the words "Boyz II Men" are in the lyrics and the chorus states, "Motownphilly back again."
  • The song tells of the group's dreams and how they were discovered - backstage at a New Edition concert where they met Michael Bivens, who was a former member of New Edition and was part of Bell Biv DeVoe, who were a very popular group at the time. Boyz II Men sang him an a cappella version of their song "Can You Stand the Rain," and Bivens, who was an aspiring record producer, got them signed to Motown Records. Bivens shows up on this song doing a rap interlude about the experience.
  • The lyrics talk about the "East Coast Family." "ABC" is the group Another Bad Creation and "BBD" is Bell Biv Devoe. ABC and BBD weren't around a few years later, but Boyz II Men were wildly successful. >>
    Suggestion credit:
    Andy - Arlington, VA
  • The title implies that Boyz II Men were bringing the Motown sound to Philadelphia. Motown is a legendary record label from Detroit featuring black artists.
  • Boyz II Men became known for slow, harmonizing ballads, but this is a fast song that is not typical of their sound.
  • This was produced by the Philadelphia-born, Atlanta-based producer Dallas Austin, who co-wrote the track with Michael Bivens and Boyz II Men's Nathan Morris and Shawn Stockman. Austin also worked with Bell Biv DeVoe and would go on to write and produce for TLC.
  • The music video has the guys dancing and performing around Philadelphia sites, like a Temple University dorm room and in front of Geno's Steaks. Questlove, of the Philadelphia hip-hop group The Roots, makes a cameo appearance.


Be the first to comment...

Editor's Picks

Phone Booth SongsSong Writing

Phone booths are nearly extinct, but they provided storylines for some of the most profound songs of the pre-cell phone era.

Steely DanFact or Fiction

Did they really trade their guitarist to The Doobie Brothers? Are they named after something naughty? And what's up with the band name?

Chris Squire of YesSongwriter Interviews

One of the most dynamic bass player/songwriters of his time, Chris is the only member of Yes who has been with the band since they formed in 1968.

Gavin Rossdale of BushSongwriter Interviews

On the "schizoid element" of his lyrics, and a famous line from "Everything Zen."

George HarrisonFact or Fiction

Did Eric Clapton really steal George's wife? What's the George Harrison-Monty Python connection? Set the record straight with our Fact or Fiction quiz.

Chris TomlinSongwriter Interviews

The king of Christian worship music explains talks about writing songs for troubled times.