RESPECT DUE: 4 BY FOUR
When New edition hit the scene back in 1983, they paved the way for many other young male groups and I'm about to reintroduce you to a group that I remember well. In 1987, "I Want You For My Girlfriend" was the first song and video that was released by a group called "4 By Four". I'm sure that not too many of you may know of that song due to the fact it wasn't what one would call a smash hit. The video featured four young men wearing close fitting jump suits, long sleeved shirts with wide collars, and ascots tied around their necks. Nothing that was trend setting, BUT.... their next single was one that turned out not only to be a smash hit but also a Quiet Storm, After Hours, Kissing After Dark regular. I'm speaking of course about a song that was written and produced by Melvin Riley ("Ready For The World" and no relation to Teddy Riley.... at least I don't think so) called, "Come Over". Maybe the name doesn't ring a bell but true R&B Junkies will know about this song. The music had the "Let Me Love You Down" feel to it and the lead singer had the pre-teen high pitched voice. When they released the video for "Come Over", you saw the same four young men but this time they had slick moves, dressed all in white (no jump suits... thank goodness for that), and some sex appeal. With that song, they had a lot of teenage girls leaving their homes to pay them a visit. Only problem was, "4 By Four" left no address to where they lived.
They could be found in Black Beat & Right On magazines and appeared on "Soul Train" at the height of their success, but as fast as they came out, they faded away. I was fortunate enough to come across Damen (a member of the group) and he filled me in about what happened. Sadly 4 By Four had the same fate dealt to them as many other artists and groups of the 80's. They were young in the business and was taken advantage of by some they put all trust in. The money they worked for was stolen from them by their manager and they ended up in a lot of legal battles which discouraged them to continue as a group. Luckily though, their story doesn't have a sad ending. Instead of turning to Brothah Al (alcohol) and or drugs, these young men have done well for themselves. Lance is currently residing in New York City, Steve moved to South Carolina and has given his life to God and is saved, Jay (hey boo) and Damen also lives in New York City. Damen also gave his life to God and is a saved man. He is a youth Sunday school teacher in his church. Jay is happily married with children. Interesting enough, Jay and Damen has teamed up once again but this time as producers and writers for an up and coming female group called Taj. They have toured with Bow Wow, Jahiem, and Ne-Yo just to name a few.
On a personal note, it's great for me to see that this group who went through something horrible managed to come out on top and not allowed their experience to beat them. They learned from it, better educated themselves, and held on to their faith. I will like to thank Damen for taking time out of his busy schedule to give me the information I needed for this post. I have to thank Jay as well for answering me when I contacted him. Of course, I have to thank "4 By Four" for the song "Come Over". To this day when I listen to it, I close my eyes, one hand in the air, shake my head from side to side, ask anyone whose around me for a dance, and enjoy the sounds. Still need the address though...
If you would like to get in contact with them, you can reach them via myspace. Also, be sure to check out their female group, Taj. These girls have some serious pipes.
4 By Four- Come Over video: