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Arista signs Boyz II Men

Reid, more creative freedom help label land quartet

R&B quartet Boyz II Men have leapt to BMG imprint Arista Records for a new multi-album contract, following the completion of its deal with Universal Music.

Philly-based group, which has sold more than 60 million albums, plans to head into the studio in mid-September, and expects to release its first disc under the new pact in the first half of next year.

Move reunites the foursome with Arista topper Antonio “L.A.” Reid, who has produced several records for the group and co-wrote one of its biggest hits, “The End of the Road,” which topped the singles charts for a record-breaking 13 weeks.

That relationship, along with the promise of more freedom to follow new artistic directions, helped to draw the group to its new home, the Boyz said.

“We’ve been in situations in the past where we’ve had record executives that didn’t understand where we wanted to go musically,” Boyz co-founder Nathan Morris told Daily Variety. “L.A. has always been a little more open in dealing with artists.”

“Cooleyhighharmony,” Boyz II Men’s 1992 Motown debut, sold more than 15 million copies worldwide; follow-up disc “II” moved 20 million units. Three subsequent records, while landing reliably in platinum territory and winning critical acclaim, have not duplicated those stratospheric figures.

Boyz II Men has also won four Grammys, including one for “Road.”

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