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Time Warp: Watch a 25-year-old promo video for the 1991 Boston Music Awards

 

Looking back on it, 1991 is often referred to as the “Year Punk Broke”. But it was also a time when R&B owned the pop music scene, and that was certainly the case here in Boston.

A few months before Nirvana’s Nevermind would change music forever, the 1991 Boston Music Awards were held on April 16 at the Wang Center For Performing Arts, and New Kids On The Block and a pair of New Edition offshoots in Bell Biv DeVoe, and Ralph Tresvant won big. In fact, based on a 25-year-old Boston Music Awards promo video that’s been making the internet rounds lately, you’d think they were the only ones to win at all.

Of course, in ’91, the New Kids were a heavyweight act, and the boy band scored not only the BMAs highest honor in Act of the Year, but also Outstanding Pop Single for “Step By Step”. “We take a lot of pride in the fact that we are from Boston”, says Danny Wood in the clip below.

 

Also repping in the video are Bell Biv DeVoe, who maintained success away from New Edition with 1990 breakout record Poison, which went quadruple platinum and at the BMAs won Outstanding Pop Album on the strength of a string of hits and videos that entered homes across America via MTV. They also took home an Outstanding Song/Songwriter award for “Do Me!”, a choice that holds up strong two-and-a-half decades later (the judges got that one right).

Tresvant also kept his fame alive right after New Edition, winning Outstanding Male Vocalist, and in the video talks about wanting to impress the girls and guys from his home neighborhood of Roxbury. There are also interviews with the Goat Brothers and a group called McClain and 2 Wenz, who promise that more Boston talent would be on the way throughout the ’90s.

Of course, with the video being only three minutes long, there isn’t much recognition for the rock and roll side of the city, which also fared well in the ’91 BMAs: Some group called Aerosmith won Outstanding Rock Band; Pornograffiti by Extreme won Outstanding Rock Album, and Tribe scored Outstanding Local Rock Band.

 
 

Though as the BMAs have shown in the years since 1991, extra attention is given those who show up — so in this clip, at least, the legacies of NKTOB, BBD, and Tresvant live on in YouTube glory.