The Manhattans, the 60’s soulful group named after a drink consisting of whiskey, vermouth and bitters, whose lyrics memorialized the bitter/sweet emotions of love in songs like There’s No Me Without You, Kiss and Say Goodbye and It Feels So Good to be Loved So Bad, will tear hearts up this Friday for CIAA. The concert will be held at the Convention Center’s Crown Ballroom, 11 pm, where the $20 tickets can be purchased from 8 pm- 12 am event night.
The original Manhattans, Sonny Bivins, Ricky Taylor, George “Smitty” Smith, Kenneth Kelly and Blue Lovett performed on a black college tour, in 1970, and appeared at old HBU Kittrell College, 1886-1975, in North Carolina. There they heard student, Gerald Alston singing with the New Imperials and asked him to join their group. He declined but later that year lead vocal Smitty passed away and Alston has been a Manhattan ever since. They starred in hit plays, Girl, He Ain’t Worth It and Chicken Shack along with hitting the song charts with their classic romantic melodies.
During their 48 year history, The Manhattans made a few vocal personnel changes but stayed the course of their music sound. Charles Hardy, CEO The Manhattans Entertainment Inc. said there are now two sets of Manhattans but still family, the Sonny Bivins group and the Blue and Alston group, the latter will perform this Friday with members David Tyson and Troy May.
“The black colleges are our heritage. The quality of education at HBCUs is just as good as any other. It’s always great fun at CIAA. I get to see old friend and family. This is our third time performing there. I’m very excited,” said Alston, Hennessey, NC native.
Alston said his Newark Shriners have sponsored a black college bus tour for three years with this year’s date April 4th and 5th to HBCUs Delaware State and Hampton University.