Where Are They Now? Pop's Class of 1990 - Rolling Stone
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Where Are They Now? Pop’s Class of 1990

Find out what Vanilla Ice, Bell Biv Devoe, Nelson and more are up to these days

milli vanilli intro class of 1990

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Nobody realized it at the time, but 1990 marked the end of a long musical era. The rock world was still ruled by the likes of Motley Crue and Poison, while the biggest rappers were Vanilla Ice and MC Hammer. Nobody knew that grunge and gangsta rap were about to hit and completely change the game. It was the year of the New Kids On The Block, Paula Abdul and Warrant's "Cherry Pie." This would all seem hopelessly dated in just a few short months – but at the time, people were living like the 1980s would never end. Click through to catch up on ten acts who ruled the charts in 1990 and find out what they're up to these days.

By Andy Greene

alannah myles

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Alannah Myles

Then: In 1990, Canadian singer-songwriter Alannah Myles scored a humongous hit with "Black Velvet," a tribute to Elvis Presley. Songwriters David Tyson and Christopher Ward were inspired after seeing fans commemorating the 10-year anniversary of Presley's death at Graceland. The smoky-voiced singer seemed poised for a big career and won a Grammy Award for Best Rock Vocal Performance, Female. 

Now: Myles had a little success with her follow-up singles in Canada, but nothing connected across the border in the U.S. Myles kept recording anyway, and in 2005 she participated in the Eurovision Song Contest. Three years ago, she she cut a new version of "Black Velvet" and she continues to tour; while she has no dates scheduled at the moment, her website notes she is available for gigs. 

taylor dayne

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Taylor Dayne

Then: Taylor Dayne initially seemed like a poor man's Madonna, but a wave of of hit singles ("Tell It To My Heart," "Prove Your Love" and "Don't Rush Me") in the late 1980s briefly made her seem like a real player in the pop marketplace. In 1990, she went to number one on the Billboard Hot 100 with "Love Will Lead You Back," written by Dianne Warren. 

Now: The hits dried up around 1993, but Dayne never stopped working. She's acted on television shows, a string of Broadway musicals and even a few movies. In more recent years, she's appeared on reality shows, including Gone Country and Rachel vs Guy: Celebrity Cook-Off, where she managed to beat Cheech Marin, Aaron Carter and Summer Sanders. 

wilson phillips

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Wilson Phillips

Then: Not long after the Beach Boys made a huge comeback with 1988's "Kokomo," Brian Wilson's daughters Carnie and Wendy teamed up with Chynna Phillips (daughter of John and Michelle Phillips from the Mamas and the Papas) and formed Wilson Phillips. The new group was an instant hit, with three singles from their first album ("Hold On," "Release Me" and "You're In Love") going to the top of the Billboard charts. They were on the cover of Rolling Stone and sold millions of records, though the experience was bittersweet for Carnie because she had to endure cruel barbs about her weight the whole time. 

Now: Wilson Phillips imploded extremely quickly. Their second LP, 1992's Shadows and Light, failed to connect, and Chynna quit soon after to launch an ill-fated solo career. Carnie and Wendy carried on as The Wilsons, but their album was a complete bomb. In 2004, Chynna came to her senses and returned to the band. They've released two albums of covers, starred in a reality series, made a memorable appearance in Bridesmaids, and are now on a comeback tour. 


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Then: Four decades after Ricky Nelson became a teen sensation, his twin sons Matthew and Gunnar released their debut LP, After The Rain, under the moniker Nelson. (Coincidentally, this was the same exact time that rock & roll heirs Wilson Phillips blew up.) With Fabio-esque locks of flowing blonde hair and catchy tunes like "(Can't Live Without Your) Love and Affection" and "After The Rain," the twins briefly became MTV mainstays. 

Now: The Nelson brothers didn't release a follow-up to After The Rain for five years, largely due to a huge fight with their label about their musical direction. The music world underwent seismic changes during this period, and in 1995 the last thing anybody wanted was a new Nelson album. The boys went indie after that, and soon turned to country music. They've never come close to matching their early success, but they manage to work pretty steadily, and have even put together a tribute show to their father called Ricky Nelson Remembered.

Milli Vanilli

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Milli Vanilli

Then: Fab Morvan and Rob Pilatus were two young European singer-models, hungry for success, who agreed to be the public face of a group assembled by German producer Frank Farian. Studio musicians sang the songs, but Rob and Fab took the credit and lip-synced the music in videos and on the road. They infamously won 1990's Best New Artist Grammy, and their album Girl You Know It's True was a massive hit. Contrary to how the story is often presented, the moment when the backing tape of "Girl You Know It's True" jammed at a 1989 show in Connecticut did little to damage their career. The truth actually didn't surface until late 1990, which caused tremendous negative publicity. Fans sued the band demanding their money back, and the guys even had to return their Grammy. 

Now: In 1992 Rob and Fab released an album featuring their actual singing voices, but nobody cared by that point, and it disappeared without a trace. Fab went on to record his own music and managed to pull his life together, but Rob had tremendous difficulty adjusting to life after fame. He was arrested for assault and robbery, and in 1998 he died of a drug and alcohol overdose. Rumors of a movie about Milli Vanilli have circulated for years, but it has yet to actually get made. 

Bel Biv DeVoe

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Bell Biv DeVoe

Then: New Edition took a hiatus in 1990, but group members Ricky Bell, Michael Bivins and Ronnie DeVoe wanted to keep working together. So they formed Bell Biv Devoe – sort of like how the Tom Tom Club was created from inside Talking Heads – and released the New Jack Swing classic Poison in 1990. The title track and "Do Me!" were huge hits, but in 1993 the followed it up with Hootie Mack and failed to score another hit. They returned to the mothership of New Edition soon after that, as did Bobby Brown, who was having trouble with his own solo career at that point.

Now: Bell Biv DeVoe tried one more time in 2001 with their third album BBD, but by that point virtually nobody on the planet cared. It sank like a stone, and they once again focused their attention on New Edition projects. They haven't abandoned the catalog though, and at every New Edition show to this day they bust out "Poison" and Do Me!" They even played those two songs with The Roots on a 2011 episode of Late Night With Jimmy Fallon

C+C Music Factory

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C+C Music Factory

Then: Milli Vanilli weren't the only musical act in 1990 caught up in a lip-syncing scandal. Dance group C+C Music Factory released "Gonna Make You Sweat (Everybody Dance Now)" that year. The song featured Martha Wash (best known as the voice behind "It's Raining Men") on lead vocals, but in the video the part was lip-synced by Zelma Davis. Wash went public with her anger, and even sued the band for proper credit. The group scored another hit in 1991 with "Things That Make You Go Hmmm…," but their 1994 follow-up LP failed to match the success of the first album and they split two years later.

Now: Martha Wash remains a dance  music icon, and has sung her anthem "It's Raining Men" at gay rights rallies all around the globe. A new line-up of C+C Music Factory formed in 2010, but they have yet to release anything beyond a few unsuccessful singles. 

Damn Yankees

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Damn Yankees

Then: By the late 1980s Tommy Shaw of Styx, Jack Blades of Night Ranger and Ted Nugent were all facing declining record sales, so they teamed up and formed supergroup Damn Yankees. Their 1990 power ballad "High Enough" became a huge hit, and they also scored with "Coming of Age" and "Come Again." The band's 1992 album Don't Tread didn't live up to expectations, and the three guys from Damn Yankees all returned to their day jobs.

Now: The band has reunited onstage to bust out "High Enough" on select occasions over the past few years, but despite their constant talk of a third Damn Yankees album, it has yet to materialize. Tommy Shaw and Jack Blades, however, have released two albums under the name Shaw Blades.  Ted Nugent continues to be Ted Nugent, no matter how many people that pisses off. 

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