THE MANHATTANS – Jamaica’s No.1 Soul Group

By Michael Barnett (host of Kool 97FM’s Kool Thursday Vibes) There is now absolutely no doubt about it. I have proven that when it comes to soul groups and Jamaicans—there is none like the Gerald Alston-led Manhattans.
I host several programmes on radio station Kool 97FM, the No.1 music station in Jamaica, and the most popular in Jamaica that provides worldwide Internet access via ustream and mixlr. We have listeners in the USA, Canada, the Caribbean, the United Kingdom, many other countries in Europe and far away and diverse places like the United Arab Emirates, Australia, New Zealand, Singapore and, Japan among others. Last year the internationally renowned Daily Telegraph (newspaper) in London reviewed some 146 stations around the world that broadcast over the internet and rated Kool 97FM #5.

Kool 97FM was the only radio station selected from South America, Latin America and the Caribbean — a tremendous achievement!!

Two years ago over a 13 week period – November 6. 2014 to February 12, 2015 – on Thursday evenings – along with my co-host Lovern McLean – we conducted a project I called “Battle of the Soul Groups”.
I began the project by identifying what I considered to be the top 27 all-time soul groups from a Jamaican point of view. Criteria included catalogue of hits, radio popularity in Jamaica, chart history in Jamaica, groups who were recording into the 70s/80s and beyond, with some of my (personal) collector’s knowledge of the groups included for good measure.

My final list of 27 top soul groups was (in no particular order) … Tavares, the Impressions, the Ojays, Main Ingredient, the Persuaders, the Delfonics (my favourite though I love them all), the Dramatics, Harold Melvin & the Bluenotes, LTD, the Spinners, Little Anthony & the Imperials, the Manhattans, Anacostia, the Dells, the Jackson 5, the Whispers, the Stylistics, the Commodores, the Continental Four, the Temptations, Blue Magic, Smokey Robinson & the Miracles, Ray Goodman & Brown, the Moments (these two were treated as separate entities), the Chilites, New York City and the Four Tops It turned out to be the most exciting, enjoyable and educational project I have ever done in my seventeen years in Jamaican radio; though heartbreaking at times when some groups were voted out.

…to be continued