Bobby Brown’s replacement in New Edition was Johnny Gill. Bobby Brown was kicked out/voted out/left out of the group and they decided to replace him.
Initially they tried continuing as a 4 member group but decided the stage presence looked better with 5 people. I agreed. The spacing and dance patterns had a better visual appeal when watching them perform as a 5-unit group.
If Johnny Gill wasn’t the chosen replacement for Bobby Brown, who would’ve been a good choice? I was watching a live performance of “Can You Stand the Rain”, and this question came to my mind. Johnny Gill “matured” the sound of New Edition by a mile and garnered a larger audience for New Edition. But, did their sound need to be changed? New Edition was known for their high youthful sounding voices. This was a big part of their appeal, in my opinion. It was reminiscent of many younger groups preceding them including The Jackson 5, The Teenagers, and The Imperials. They recorded 4 albums with their original sound before Johnny Gill came on board.
New Edition was originally comprised of 5 members. From left to right:
- Ronald DeVoe (Ronnie)
- Michael Bivens (Mike)
- Bobby Brown (Bobby)
- Ralph Tresvant (Ralph)
- Ricardo Bell (Ricky)
They could’ve kept their original sound with these male artists:
Bobby Brown’s New Edition replacement alternatives:
This short list was hard to compile because I had to find established artists of the late 80s in the age of range of the New Edition members at that time. I found a good amount of people, but they were just slightly older than the members at that time. O’Bryan, El Debarge, D Train, Eugene Wilde, Lillo Thomas. The other issue was finding someone who wasn’t already a member of another group at that time. The replacement also had to possess natural dancing abilities.