WE REMEMBER: AFTER 7’S MELVIN EDMONDS PASSES AWAY

*Sadly, we must report the passing of Melvin Edmonds who was a member of the vocal group After 7 member and brother of Kenny “Babyface” Edmonds. He was 64

Reports say the After 7 co-founder and co-lead singer’s death comes after a long illness and several strokes. His specific cause of death, however, has not yet been revealed.

Here’s more about Melvin Edmonds and After 7 via SoulTracks:

At Indiana University, brothers Kevon and Melvin Edmonds teamed with college mate Keith Mitchell to form After 7 and played local gigs in the Bloomington area. Meanwhile, the Edmonds’ (other) brother, Kenneth “Babyface” Edmonds, became part of the funk group the Deele, and ultimately joined with bandmate L.A. Reid to become the top songwriting and production team in modern music.  Together LA and Babyface worked with Boyz II Men, Toni Braxton, Whitney Houston and dozens of other top acts, while Babyface also forged a successful solo singing career.

In 1988 Babyface and Reid entered into an artist development agreement with Virgin Records and approached After 7 about signing with the label. With some trepidation the trio, by then in their 30s, signed, and the resulting self-titled debut recording became a smash on both Soul and Pop radio, yielding three hits, including the chart topper “Ready or Not.” After 7 went on to become a consistent, if understated, charting act, scoring moderate hits with “Nights Like This” (from The Five Heartbeats soundtrack) and a nice cover of “Baby I’m For Real” before landing a major crossover hit in 1995 when Babyface returned to the production and songwriting helm with the wonderful midtempo number “Til You Do Me Right.” 

While the group continued to score gold albums, by 1996 they were in their 40s and were considered an “adult” act. Their relationship with Virgin soured and, shockingly, After 7 members found themselves unsigned. Babyface brought brothers Melvin and Kevon together with K-Ci and JoJo to form the one song group Milestone, which landed in the top 10 with the exquisite “I Care About You” for the Soul Food soundtrack. But After 7 soon split, with Melvin (who had had some friction with the other two group members) taking a job as a truck driver and Keith working construction.

You can get the rest of this article at SoulTracks.

Also, musicologist A. Scott Galloway, who wrote the liner notes for After 7’s latest album had this to say in his Facebook post about Melvin’s passing:

“Saddened this Sunday morning to share that MELVIN EDMONDS (64) of vocal group After 7 has passed on into Soul Heaven…his rightful destination. In all my years of reporting about music at Urban Network in the late `80s through the `90s, he was the cat that came closest to the NATURAL all true soul men that I grew up admiring such as Dennis Edwards, Wilson Pickett and Bobby Womack.

Just listen at him on my all-time favorite recording of his, “Can He Love U LIke This” from the trio’s sophomore CD, Takin’ My Time (1992). All you need to hear about the brutha is right there! He also takes the opening verses on their hit cover of The Originals’ “Baby I’m For Real” and the timeless hit ballad “Ready or Not” (one of my favorite music videos of the era). Whewwww… Melvin brought the manhood and the masculinity yet with a cool and smoothness that was the perfect black coffee no cream compliment to the plaintive, higher pitched tenor of his brother Kevon.

Melvin was my favorite member of one of my favorite groups of the era…and I’m happy to say HE knew it… They ALL knew it. I always wished he had done just one solo LP. Just to give you a TASTE of what it was like to chop it up with Melvin…from a 1995 interview I conducted with the group at Virgin Records in Beverly Hills (I rarely do this, y’all, so this is MAD love), HERE is his answer to my question, “Describe the perfect romantic evening?” Melvin: A romantic evening for me begins with getting rid of the kids `cause I’m truly “married with children!” So that’s an important thing to do.

Ya know, romance for me and my wife is quiet time together at home because I’m on the road 75% of the year when we do work. I don’t like the nightlife. I’m talkin’ `bout dinner by candlelight at our house – dressed comfortably with not too much on, you understand what I’m sayin’ – flowers and a little champagne. And just reflecting and being thankful for the things God has allowed us to do, like raise our kids and to be able to approach TRYIN’ to pay all our bills!

My deepest condolences to his four surviving brothers (there were six sons altogether, including Kenny “Babyface” Edmonds and Kevon Edmonds), his son Jason who is doing a magnificent job stepping into his shoes, the entire Edmonds family and to fans of After 7 around the world. The planet just lost what no less than The Temptations once defined as “A Lot O’ Soul” this Sunday… Respect.

Please check out our musical tribute to Melvin and After 7:

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