Gerald Alston inherited some big soul shoes and filled them admirably for 47 years. The nephew of gospel great Johnny Fields and the son of Rev. J.B. Alston, the North Carolina-born singer learned his trade in the church. As a teen he formed the New Imperials, a group that did both secular and religious music, calling themselves Gospel Jubilee when they appeared in churches. During a local appearance, The Manhattans borrowed some audio equipment from Alston’s band. When they came to pick it up they heard him rehearsing with his band. They immediately asked the 17-year-old to join them. Alston took over as their lead singer in 1971, and the group enjoyed enormous success in the ’70s, ’80s and 90s. Their 1976 single Kiss and Say Goodbye was both a number one R&B and pop hit, and they won a Grammy in 1980 for Shining Star. Other classic Manhattans’ hits led by Alston include There’s No Me Without You,  I Kinda Miss You, Don’t Take Your Love From Me, Hurt, Here Comes The Hurt Again and It Feels So Good To Be Loved So Bad.

Gerald Alston will lead The Manhattans into Jamaica for a once-in-a-lifetime command performance at The Original Startime at The National Arena in Kingston on Saturday July 8, 2017. He speaks about it here on Jamaica’s no.1 soul station Kool 97FM (with announcer Shelly Ann Hill).