The Manhattans

The Manhattans were an American soul group from Jersey City that released 14 singles and two albums on Carnival between 1964 and 1969, followed by a pair of 1970–72 albums on DeLuxe. Between 1973 and 1986, they released 12 albums on Columbia, achieving crossover success with the hits “Kiss and Say Goodbye” (1976) and “Shining Star” (1980).

Members: Edward “Sonny” Bivins (tenor vocals, 1962-2014), Winfred Lovett (bass vocals, 1962-90, 1994-2014), Kenny “Wally” Kelley (tenor vocals, 1962-90), Richard “Ricky” Taylor (baritone vocals, 1962-76), George “Smitty” Smith (lead vocals, 1962-70), Gerald Alston (lead vocals, 1970-88)

The Manhattans formed in Jersey City, NJ, in 1962 when two graduates of Snyder High School, George “Smitty” Smith (1939–1970) and Richard “Ricky” Taylor (1940–1987), teamed with three alumni of nearby Lincoln High School: Edward “Sonny” Bivins (1936–2014), Winfred “Blue” Lovett (1936–2014), and Kenny “Wally” Kelley (1941–2015). They each enlisted in the military and regrouped after discharge.

In 1964, they released “I’ve Got Everything But You” (b/w “For the Very First Time”), their first of 14 singles on New Jersey soul-press Carnival Records. Most of these sides are included on their two albums for the label, Dedicated to You (1966) and Sing For You and Yours (1967).

In 1969, they switched to Linden soul-press DeLuxe, starting with the single “The Picture Became Quite Clear” (b/w “Oh’ Lord I Wish I Could Sleep”). Their first DeLuxe long-player, With These Hands, appeared in 1970. That December, Smith succumbed to a brain tumor a fortnight shy of his 31st birthday. The Manhattans hired singer Gerald Alston (nephew of Shirelles vocalist Shirley Alston-Reeves) as their new lead vocalist.


  • Dedicated to You (1966)
  • Sing For You and Yours (1967)
  • With These Hands (1970)
  • A Million to One (1972)
  • There’s No Me Without You (1973)
  • Summertime in the City (1974)
  • That’s How Much I Love You (1974)
  • The Manhattans (1976)
  • It Feels So Good (1977)
  • There’s No Good in Goodbye (1978)
  • Love Talk (1979)
  • After Midnight (1980)
  • Black Tie (1981)
  • Forever By Your Side (1983)
  • Too Hot to Stop It (1985)
  • Back to Basics (1986)
  • Sweet Talk (1989)


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