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This Friday, one of the ’90s most prominent r & b groups, En Vogue, returns to B.B. King Blues Club for a night of some of this generation’s most satisfying soul music. While it was originally scheduled to be a 20th anniversary reunion tour, disputes this year within the group have left En Vogue as a trio of original members Terry Ellis, Cindy Herron and frequent fill-in Rhona Bennett. While the line-up may change, the music and memories they’ve created in the group’s two-decade span are truly timeless. Here’s our reminder why En Vogue is among our all-time favorites.
“Hold On” 1990
En Vogue debuted in February of 1990 with “Hold On.” Beginning with an a capella rendition of Smokey Robinson and the Miracles’ “Who’s Loving You,” it showcased the girls’ classic chops before bursting into a modern break-beat, effectively bridging the gap between classic R&B and the modern era. Along with allowing the group to immediately stand out in the early 90s R&B scene, it solidified their sound as well as hinted at where the group and the genre were going.
“My Lovin’ (You’re Never Gonna Get It)” 1992
The lead single off the group’s sophomore album Funky Divas, “My Lovin’ (You’re Never Gonna Get It)” showed a proud progression of En Vogue’s sound. As strong as the group’s harmonies were on the first album, their vocal presence here is incredible, allowing for even more intricate melodies and performances.
“Free Your Mind” 1992
Also from Funky Divas, “Free Your Mind” stands out as one of the ’90s boldest choices for a radio single. Over a guitar-driven production, the group’s passionate expression of frustration with prejudice could have potentially alienated a lot of listeners. Fortunately, the flawless execution in every aspect of the composition, aided by a memorable Mark Romanek-directed video, made “Free Your Mind” not only a hit, but one of the group’s signature songs.
“Don’t Let Go” 1996
The lead single from the Set It Off soundtrack, which explains the video’s usage of the sweeping-skyline helicopter shot that appears several times in the film, “Don’t Let Go” is a shining example of how a song and a film can mutually benefit from association. The epic build of the song’s production and layered harmonies add tremendously to Set It Off‘s tension, as well as the film’s exploration of the characters’ relationships give the song further dimensions of interpretation. While not the group’s first foray into a feature film, it’s much more memorable than their cameo as hookers in Batman Forever.
“I Want A Monster to Be My Friend” 1998
The music of En Vogue has captured the hearts of every demographic, including men, women, children, and even muppets. As part of 1998’s Elmopalooza compilation, the group brought their signature harmonies to Sesame Street. A few years prior, the group also recorded the original theme to ABC’s “Hangin’ With Mr. Cooper,” ensuring an entire generation grew up being touched by En Vogue’s music.